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Posts Tagged ‘easyjet’

Customer Service Do’s & Don’ts

February 1, 2010 3 comments

This past weekend I blogged about my poor customer service experience with Vueling, a Spanish low-cost airline who up until recently, based on personal experience, had been a shining example of innovation & customer service. Having completed the weekend experience on last night’s 21h45 flight back to Barcelona, allow me to recap where they went wrong & what they could have done better..

  • Initial Booking & On-line Check-in
    • What didn’t work
      • Joint booking assigned seats in different rows when plane seats are 80% unassigned
    • How it could be improved
      • Reservation engine that assigns seats considering joint bookings when seats are free
      • * side-note; the flight ended up being only at 70% capacity when it took off, which made matters worse.. obviously we then moved to adjoining seats
  • Response to Customer Complaint
    • What didn’t work
      • Getting a response (to my blog) in the name of the Vueling CEO telling me to look at their Cost Savings Policy as a justification.. totally irrelevant (I hope!!) to the topic at hand..
    • How it could be improved
      • I wrote the complaint in English & therefore being responded to in English would have helped.. fortunately I’m fluent in Spanish as well
      • A Customer Service representative that actually read my complaint and responded with an appropriate/relevant solution or explanation, instead of just treating me “like another complaint” that they’re obviously not going to action or follow-up
      • A response directly to me via my twitter post, as EasyJet did, instead of a broadcast message
      • Sign as “Customer Service Representative” instead of “Vueling CEO”
  • Return flight experience
    • What didn’t work
      • Again sitting in seats which weren’t adjoined.. seated across the isle this time, and again, as flight was 90% full, we switched to adjoined seats after take-off
      • ** Interestingly enough, by my wife giving up her seat, we were able to reunite another family who had been broken up by the same irrational policy
      • During one of the worst turbulent flights I’ve ever experienced, there was (1) no warning, (2) no acknowledgment or (3) any information about how much longer the turbulence might last.. I guess our safety & well being are also part of their Cost Saving measures (?!?!)
      • ** Compare this to an Iberia flight from São Paulo earlier this month when before embarking on a +9h flight.. still on the tarmac, the pilot advised that there would be turbulence at about the 6h30 mark into the flight.. ironically enough, Iberia now has a majority shareholding in Vueling through their initial low-fare interest Clickair
    • How it could be improved
      • Same as above in what concerns seating reservation engine.. it’s a simple few lines of code in their booking engine software that automatically allocate the next two available adjoining seats within a policy of rear to front seating assignment policy to try & persuade passengers to buy their seating arrangement
      • The plane had just crossed the same flight path within the last 45 to 60 minutes as the same crew that landed in Ibiza at 21h00 took us back at 21h45.. therefore.. (1) a small warning before taken-off about the violent turbulence ahead that might have saved a few very frightened passengers the shock of their lives.. (2) a warning just before we hit the violent turbulence as unfortunately these days people don’t take much notice of “only” lighting up the seat-belt signs.. (3) an acknowledgment that this turbulence is going to last another 20 minutes, which at least reassures me that it’s “under control” instead of allowing my creative imagination to start thinking about my will which I haven’t updated!

I can’t accept the argument that just because it’s a low-fare airline nothing can be done about it! Back in October of last year I had an issue with EasyJet and they went about it in a completely different fashion.

What did they do right?

  • Acknowledged my complaint
  • Followed-up when I wasn’t satisfied with their first attempt
  • Did something (corrective action) about it
  • Subsequently followed up to keep me informed as to their continuing efforts to improve customer service

It’s not really all that hard folks! It’s just a matter of listening 1st, engaging 2nd & taking corrective action 3rd.. the follow-up (4th) is a nice “icing on the cake”, or “the cherry on top” depending on how you prefer your cake 😉

This was an obvious Customer Service Experience gone wrong, and a lost opportunity to set the record straight. I’m actually a very forgiving customer, unless I feel that I’ve been totally disrespected. For those of you out there with company’s of your own, how effective is your customer service? Don’t just assume & be happy when you’re not receiving complaints, silence is not necessarily a good sign! (see below)

Can you afford the non returning customers? Is it really more cost effective to pay 4 times more (common industry bench-mark) for new customer acquisition than customer retention?

Customer Service 2.0.. Where’s the service? Update!! Part 2

October 4, 2009 3 comments

OK, I’m a fair enough guy and whether in response to my added pressure, or a coincidence because they were about to get back to me, the fact is that, as you can see by the screen grab of my Tweetdeck just a few moments ago, the folks over at EasyJetCare do seem to be working on their Customer Service.

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 04 12.52

So now I’ll follow their instructions, I’ll look forward to seeing my money refunded, I’ll be interested to understand what measures they’re taking based on their improved customer service strategies, and I hope that what was a convenient & economical airline, can transform itself past the growing pains and into a Customer Service reference!

YES, I’m always full of hope!

Customer Service 2.0.. Where’s the service?

October 3, 2009 2 comments

Do you remember the mid 80’s classic TV commercial from Wendy’s, the US fast-food chain, “Where’s the beef”? For more detailed information here is the Wikipedia link to this marketing mastery.

Before I go any further, let me set the boundaries for this blog post. I want to raise my concerns on (A) the basic execution and principles of Customer Service, as well as (B) unmask some of the Social Media strategies & hype that seem to be driving everyone onto the 2.0 bandwagon.

Having spent the first ¾ of my career improving customer service & retention at organizations such as Reuters (now Thomson Reuters), Sun Microsystems & Hewlett Packard, I consider myself credibly qualified to speak on this topic. Being married to the Social Media “wiz”, Maria Sipka, founder & CEO behind the first Social Network Marketplace, Linqia.com, to give power & voice to community groups through their leaders/influencers, and having facilitated various Social Media strategy kick-off sessions around the world in the past 3 years, I’d also consider myself pretty up-to-speed to talk about this topic. Lastly, as a Master Strategic Alignment, Planning & Executing Your Strategy facilitator on assignments around the world, I’ve seen enough to distinguish between authentic strategies (of any kind) & hype.

Let me take you back to Thursday morning as my son & I are about to board an Easyjet flight from Barcelona to London. (1) My time is precious, and so I justified the extra 10 to 16 euro, per head, expenses for Speedy Boarding to ensure I’d have a comfortable enough seat that I could work from during the +2h flight. (2) That the gate changed at the last minute, and that the flight was delayed by approximately 20 minutes, neither surprised nor really inconvenienced me, however, (3) getting put on a bus, being told to stand at the wrong door of that bus to try & beat the mad scramble for “proper seats”, did bother me. (4) Finally walking onto the plane after at least another 30 passengers without Speedy Boarding, asking the steward for his customer complaints registry, and being told to go on-line on their website after I land REALLY bothered me. (5) And having twittered my negative experience before even taking off, linking my broadcast to my LinkedIn & Facebook profile, Easyjet’s social media customer service @easyjetcare outreach over twitter by the time I landed in London temporarily had my hopes raised of seeing my precious euros recovered. (6) Unfortunately, little more than 48h after having landed, and following up on the outreach by @easyjetcare, my hopes are once again dashed by the lack of response. (7) This experience makes it worthwhile for me to invest 30 more minutes and write this post.

In referencing point (4) above, I invite anyone here to go onto www.easyjet.com and tell me how long it takes you to figure out where the customer service area is. I gave up, but here is a tip.. Don’t Make Me Think! Guys (!!!) my time is precious, it’s expensive and that’s why I justified the Speedy Boarding fee in the first place!

So is Easyjet just one more company that has jumped on the Customer Service 2.0 bandwagon to publicize how much they care through their investment in web 2.0 technologies & strategies, but fail to act on their “stated intentions”?

This has me reflect how in recent Social Media strategy kick-off sessions I’ve struggled as clients don’t seem to understand that social media is just a tool, a means to facilitate an experience, and therefore you still have to do the old world basics of “listen first”, and than “act in accordance”. The rest is just hype!

That’s my “moral of the story” for Customer Service, Retention, or whatever you want to call it this week, just three easy steps; (1) STOP, (2) LOOK & LISTEN, and then (3) ACT IN ACCORDANCE. The rest, “strategy”, is just the means by which you go about reaching your desired outcome. Come on, let’s get off our high horse and un-mystify what every consultant from east to west will have you believe in order to justify their fees. A “strategy” is no more, and no less, than “a series of steps, actions or activities, strung together, with the purpose of achieving a previously contemplated outcome”. That’s it! Just like going to the supermarket to get that bottle of milk, string a bunch of activities together, this by now is 2nd nature ONLY because you’ve done it so many times.

What’s my “moral of the story” for Social Media strategies? It’s just a tool! Stop freaking out & forget the hype! Do what you always did successfully, if you can remember that far back, and just do it within a new dynamic. Sure there are different ways of approaching your audience, and any error can be magnified infinitely (and yadda, yadda, yadda), but it’s still the old basic principle of supply & demand. Your audience has a need, you have a solution, and social media empowers, enhances & facilitates the dialogue. Notice I didn’t say “monologue”, which means you have to be courageous enough to have a bi-directional conversation, forcing you to (1) STOP, (2) LOOK & LISTEN, and then (3) ACT IN ACCORDANCE.

So back to the beginning, and to my “friends” @easyjetcare, “where’s the service?” All I want is a refund of my Speedy Boarding fee (x2 for my son & I) which YOU royally stuffed up. I paid for a service that I didn’t get, and so I think that my request is only fair. Stay tuned to see how my return trip to Barcelona goes on Monday evening.

To anyone else out there in cyberspace contemplating customer service, customer retention, or about to spend thousands, if not millions (and I’ve seen them spent on multiple occasions), on social media consultants & technologies, please pay attention to the basics first! (1) STOP, (2) LOOK & LISTEN, and then (3) ACT IN ACCORDANCE.

Thoughts anyone?