Written by: Kushal Dev | Co-founder, Customer Guru
A friend of mine recently booked her 2 lap flight from Hyderabad – Delhi – Kolkata from a leading online portal. Due to some last minute changes, she had to cancel the second lap of her journey through the call-center, which confirmed and acknowledged the cancellation. She did an online check-in and arrived at the airport in time only to be informed at the check-in counter that there is no booking in her name! The online portal’s retail counter at the airport was of no use either as the helpless staff could only rudely inform (read “unhappy employee == unhappy customers”) her that it was only a sales counter and addressing customer issues was not its “role and responsibility”. The only option left with my friend was to book an expensive ticket at the last moment and account it in her shoestring student budget.
The nightmare started when she asked for a reimbursement. It triggered a series of hour-long calls, calls on hold, false promises of a callback, repeated follow up with managers, their managers, and their manager’s manager for more than 2 weeks. Frustrated, she made a complaint with the consumer forum when she promptly received a call from the company and her ticket was reimbursed in full!!
I fail to understand the company’s intentions. It was at fault, took long to acknowledge it, and spent valuable time with its personnel fire-fighting. In the end, it incurred a huge cost as the last resort to delight the customer maybe or avoid further trouble. By that time the damage was done. My friend had resolved to never do business with it and had informed her friends on social media, in the gym, and college on the harrowing experience she had to go through in the hands of this travel portal.
Are companies concerned only with customer acquisition? They must remember however that bad customer experience will create detractors and drive their customer acquisition costs. Only if the travel portal guys were prompt in resolving my friends problem the story she would have narrated would be a totally different one, recommending their services, in turn, lowering their customer acquisition cost!
So what steps should the company take to provide a better experience and make better customer experience a culture in their organization
What else do you think we can learn from this example? What changes would you suggest?
Please leave in your comments, thoughts, and ideas. Reach Kushal at firstname.lastname@example.org
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