The Illusion of Customer Service

I had to share a recent customer service experience that left me questioning where the customer focus had gone.

Last fall, I was scheduled to travel on business.  At the last minute, I had to cancel the trip.  My flight was booked on American Airlines.  I was given a $500 credit for my next flight, but must be used within the next year.  I don’t travel much for my job so I was hoping it wouldn’t go to waste.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I am traveling for work to the United Kingdom.  American Airlines is the airline of choice for the company, so we booked a flight with them.  After a couple of days, I noticed the $500 credit that I had was not applied.  I called the travel agency and asked about applying my credit.  The answer I go was they won’t accept the credit now.

What?!!

If the credit is not applied at the time of booking the flight then it cannot be applied.  I asked why the credit wasn’t applied in the first place since American can see it is on my account.  The answer I got was, they are sure if you would want to apply it to that flight or some later flight.  So, why didn’t they ask?  It isn’t their responsibility was the response.

I was left speechless.  I just have this illusion of credit hanging out there with a bunch of ifs attached to it.  There is no focus on the customer from American and trying to make their experience a pleasurable one.  They are solely focused on what makes it easy for them, not the customer.  I can’t believe a system/process was designed that can’t handle a credit added to it after booking a flight.

People wonder why the airline industry is struggling.  It isn’t hard to see when you have a focus on customer first, not profits first.  The airline companies don’t seem to understand that by focusing on making the experience great for a customer the profit will come.

Enough venting for today.  Have a great day!

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Posted on June 11, 2012, in Customer Focus and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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