The Worst Customer Service I Have Ever Received- And I’m Mad As Hell
Is this the most bizarre story you’ve heard about screwing up a customer ‘Moment of Truth?’ It’s the worst customer service experience I have ever had. How can such a famous brand get it so wrong? Your views?
CMO Andy is passionate about a lot of things: Zero Moments Of Dissatisfaction is one one them, a nice twist on the ‘Moments Of Truth’ concept. If he had hair, he’d pull it out hearing this story.
I was booked to leave on a Tuesday on a flight to Singapore. Four days later, I’d meet ‘important others’ (flying from Sydney that day) at Singapore airport to fly together to Europe, returning to Sydney together a couple of weeks later. Then, a problem. The day before I was due to fly, one of my ‘important others’ fell sick. Full-on flu. Bed-ridden. I needed to be there for the next four key days to help ready all for the trip. I called the airline. “I won’t make the Sydney to Singapore flight. I don’t want any refund, no worries. In fact, I will book a new and separate flight with your airline Sydney to Singapore four days later so I can make the Singapore-Europe connection/leg of my original ticket. Okay?” Their answer rocked me:
No! No! No! And one more time…NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If I missed the Sydney to Singapore flight…. even though I had a sick family member, and I’d alerted them I would miss the flight, and confirmed I’d be there for the rest of the legs to Europe and back, and had asked for no recompense, and was going to buy a brand new one way ticket on their fricken airline Sydney to Singapore four days later… well, then I’d be classified a ‘no show’ and my ENTIRE return trip to Europe would be cancelled.
My travel agent did an awesome job. Spoke to the airline’s head office. Spent hours trying to rationalise with them. The response: NO! NO! NO! They would not let me miss that leg and buy a separate, fresh ticket for that sector four days later. It broke their rules based on the type of ticket I’d bought. This was MADNESS!!!! Surely it made zero difference to them except they got an extra $1,000 from me, and a vacant paid-for-seat a few days earlier.
LISTEN, YOU IDIOT CUSTOMER! NO! NO! NO! The only way I could do it was a) take the flight to Singapore, then buy an immediate return flight to Sydney, then buy another flight back to Singapore four days later, and then the rest of my ‘to Europe and back’ already-paid-for-flight would be safe. Or, b) forgo the $4,000 ticket I’d already paid for, and buy a brand new ticket to Europe and back four days later but oh, the flights are fully booked except FIRST CLASS.
Bottomline- I had to take that original flight to Singapore. No option or the entire trip for my ‘important others’, and me, would have likely fallen through. My unwell ‘important other’ had to do all the hard yards in the preparations during the final four days alone. I am beside myself with bewilderment and frustration. How can a leading organisation in a highly competitive field treat a customer like this?
Customers talk. Customers share. Social media is real. Word-of-mouth is important. Customers have power. CMO Andy says it all. ZERO MOMENTS OF DISSATISFACTION. And the biggest moment of truth of all is when the customer is in trouble and needs help. How you react then shapes your entire future relationship. (And I wasn’t asking for anything- just to give them more money!)
So now I am going to ‘out’ that airline, and encourage you NEVER to fly with it. Also, spread this story far and wide. Here’s the name……..Wait for it…dum de de dum….. Actually, the service on board is great, the staff work so hard, and they’ve upgraded me three times in five flights, so I just can’t bring myself to do it. Their systems suck. But their staff and on board service is pretty damned good. I’ll give them another go. Can’t help myself.
Nevertheless- here’s the point. Deliver outstanding customer service- always. Sweat moments of truth. Remember wise CMO Andy- ZERO MOMENTS OF DISSATISFACTION. I shake my head in wonder at how this airline gets it so wrong. Crazy. Just madness. Now – pass the retsina, please. I need to calm down a bit…..