Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A ‘difficult’ situation indeed

Everybody knows how important the customer service industry is to any economy. We’re all customers as much as we’re suppliers and we can’t stand shody service (which is a bit weird, I know, considering we live in Singapore, the land of bad service).

I just wanted to share with you a true life story on how NOT to treat your customer.

The following is a collection of emails from a lady, we’ll call her D for short, and the airline in question will be called VDA (short for Very Difficult Airline).

27 October 2006
My husband is a VDA Silver Frequent Flyer, and he has booked a flight to go to Syd at Christmas. Yesterday I went into the office to pay for the flight because the internet and/or your office would not take our Visa electron card (even though they say it is accepted everywhere that Visa is accepted).After paying for my husband’s flight, I came home and went to look for it on the internet. When I pulled up the booking under the evening contact info was the following SIN : ***VERY DIFFICULT PAX ****.Surely if your staff are to make comments on customers then they should be doing it in fields that cannot be viewed by clients!!!!!Regardless of how difficult a client might be - your staff need to remember that they only have jobs because people fly with your airline. If people stop flying with you, then they will not have a job. May I suggest that they think twice about putting comments on clients next time.If your staff thought he was difficult before - imagine what he would say if he saw that comment!I would appreciate if someone could get back to me on this matter.
Cheers, D

29 November 2006
Hi, Over a MONTH ago I sent an email to the Singapore VDA office regarding a situation that I find a little disturbing. I still to date do not have any answers regarding the below email, and the comment is still on my husband’s itinerary. Since Singapore could not be bothered to answer my questions, I was hoping that UK (head office) might have more respect for their customers!!!!!!!!!!! Can someone please get back to me regarding this, it is a little frustrating. Cheers D

29 November 2006
Dear D,

I am really sorry that you had such a poor experience of our customer service. I have forwarded your email to the relevant department who will reply as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience as different departments have varying response times. Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback.
Regards, H

01 December 2006
Dear Ms M,

Thank you very much for contacting us.To be sure you have an answer from us as swiftly as possible, I would be grateful if you will speak to our customer support team. They deal with all pre-travel enquiries and they'll be happy to give you individual assistance. Please phone them on 0870 xxx x xxx and give your booking reference number when you call.I'm sorry not to be more immediately helpful, but do please phone our customer support team. They'll do all they can to help you at once.
Best regards, A. B.
Customer Relations

01 December 2006
Hi H,

I just received this email - obviously from the UK (pasted above). Is this the response from the 'relevant department', who by the way cant even get my name right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheers, D

01 December 2006
Dear D,

I am sorry you were addressed incorrectly, in future you will be addressed correctly.Thank you for contacting us about this and I hope you will travel with VDA soon.
Regards, J

01 December 2006
Hi J,
Are you SERIOUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have you even read my email - someone at VDA has put on my husband’s itinerary that he is a difficult person - and this is what I am getting back? No phone call, no emails except one asking me to call you in the UK - that could not even get my name correct - because Singapore have not responded to my email in 4 weeks.....and to date - the comment is still on my husbands itinerary................no explanations - no APOLOGIES....NOTHING.
Is this what you call customer service?
I would really appreciate someone to look into this matter and not just get fobbed off with all these preprepared emails.
Cheers, D

The husband’s itinerary still says ***VERY DIFFICULT PAX **** and D has not heard back from VDA.

Turns out, the reason why the husband became difficult in the first place was because he tried to use a Visa Electron card to pay for the air ticket but the airline refused to accept Electrons, despite the husband’s protest that Electrons are accepted anywhere Visa is accepted.

Oh boy, no points for guessing what category D has now been placed under too.


germyong said...

This is EXACTLY what will happen when dealing with the different ministries in Singapore as well. I love this country, but I believe in this.. How can the shadow be straight when the body is crooked? Service is not just about a nice smile or a nice tone or another award. It is also about speed and reliability and more.

But I think, our country could be moving too fast, economically, that our citizens find it hard to follow. We are more and more like Japan.

Jasmine said...

I cannot agree more. I have a similar experience with JetstarAsia too. Millions of emails and letters correspondence, even roped in CASE, but noone ever hears you, your case and does something about it.

Y H Koh said...

I have also experiences such indifferent response from our National Airline.

I spent nearly a day to prepare a very detail recount of what I have experienced during a flight delay in my return trip after an exhausted tour with my family. Guess what, I have tried all means to find a way to post feedback on my complaint. However, even in the website of SIA, I could not find an option for posting complaint. In the end, I could only opt for a Complement.

A few days after I posted my "complement" on the website, I received a registered mail from SIA. However, I am disappointed on the typical reply from a large organization. Especially the writer has appeared not to have proof read her reply. In one of the paragraph, the writer of this letter stated that “We are truly sorry that the handling of the flight delay was UP to STANDARD.”

I eventually have to send an email to their Ethics Hotline for better response.

I was also desperated and have created a blog for this incident. You could read my blog on this incident at http://yhkoh.blogspot.com/