Using what you have

All too often companies miss opportunities because they can’t make connections between the things they already know. There’s a well traveled story about a clothing company who bounces a customer’s request to return an item, as they don’t think it’s worth the bother even though the customer has a real complaint, only to find out later that the customer was the wife of the CEO of one of their major partners. She probably spent most of dinner that night complaining about the company’s customer service, must to the detriment of the CEO’s opinion of the partnership. If they’d just been able to make a couple of connections a little earlier, the outcome might have been a little different.

It’s nice to see some companies weeding through the pile of data available to them, and make some of the obvious connections. One bloke, after the flight from hell which was delayed due to weather, found out that Northwest Airlines had made the obvious connections and solved the problem before he arrived for his connecting flight.

So let me see if I got this right. I don’t need to find a free ground agent to get re-booked. I don’t need to schlep myself and my luggage in line along with 50+ other people who are all mad, tired and missing their families… to get re-ticketed? AND NWA was giving me $50 off another flight and frequent flier miles to boot? Remember this wasn’t their fault, its mother natures gig here. This was some customer service!!! I love it!

Operations knew that the flight was running late, and booking knew of the connection. I spent the Sunday before last standing around Sydney Airport and Virgin couldn’t make the obvious connection. Luckily, he didn’t have the same experience.

How often have you been frustrated because some company you’re dealing with can’t get the left hand to talk to the right?

Posted via email from PEG

Posted under: Business-Technology

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3 comments

  • Nigel Walsh on 2009-10-11 at 5:10 am said:

    a refreshing story from Northwest.. What would be interesting and a few thoughts?

    – was this the act of a few select individuals or company policy? From reading his story, it looks like it applied to all.
    – where Northwest see their revenue coming from – is this the return of looking at customer lifetime value?
    – what's the cost of doing this vs. the cost of not doing this, especially in such a cost conscious industry. What factors did Thomas use when booking his flight in the first place
    – Is it consistent across all parts of their customer facing business?
    – Have airlines learned their lesson from that Guitar! –

    – over 5.5m viewers later…

    Bottom line – when companies raise the bar like this, there is no looking back! A great great move..

  • Peter Evans-Greenwood on 2009-10-11 at 7:22 pm said:

    Agreed. If I had the same treatment from Virgin the other week then I would have been a customer for life, without regard for future price. I hope it represents a general approach by NorthWest to dealing with all the little annoyances we experience with air travel.

    I'm not so sure about the guitar angle though, as most (if not all) of the musos I know always carry their instruments on rather than checking them through, even to the extent of buying a seat for the instrument if need be. They don't trust a >$10k instrument to random baggage handling, especially as they require the instrument to make a living, just as I don't trust my laptop to the hold as I need it to work. It's like slapping a stamp on the instrument case and dropping it into the nearest postbox.

    There might be a fine line between poor customer service and irresponsible behaviour by a customer, but in this case the blame seems to fall squarely on the shoulders of the customer. He should have known better. That said, United could have easily had a more sympathetic reaction when they heard the news.

  • Peter Evans-Greenwood on 2009-10-11 at 11:22 pm said:

    Agreed. If I had the same treatment from Virgin the other week then I would have been a customer for life, without regard for future price. I hope it represents a general approach by NorthWest to dealing with all the little annoyances we experience with air travel.

    I'm not so sure about the guitar angle though, as most (if not all) of the musos I know always carry their instruments on rather than checking them through, even to the extent of buying a seat for the instrument if need be. They don't trust a >$10k instrument to random baggage handling, especially as they require the instrument to make a living, just as I don't trust my laptop to the hold as I need it to work. It's like slapping a stamp on the instrument case and dropping it into the nearest postbox.

    There might be a fine line between poor customer service and irresponsible behaviour by a customer, but in this case the blame seems to fall squarely on the shoulders of the customer. He should have known better. That said, United could have easily had a more sympathetic reaction when they heard the news.

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