SERVICE UNDER PRESSURE
Rod Boothby of the blog Innovation Creators had an interesting post up regarding his changed travel plans on the day the London terror plot was revealed a couple of days ago. I'd like to highlight the following:
"Today's news out of England (Plot to Bomb Jets Is Thwarted in Britain) has changed my plans. Or, to put it more accurately, after she heard the news, my wife asked me to change my plans. ;)
I'm writing this post because I figure that just as bloggers sometimes use their blogs to highlight bad customer service, we also have an obligation to highlight great customer service.
After making my decision not to go, I called Continental, and asked them to change my flight to a later date. I was helped by a customer service agent who said her name was Phillis. She was great. Kind, understanding and really helpful. She worked quickly to both get me another flight (in November) and to make sure that I would not be charged a change fee.
I'm not sure what the innovation is in all this.
Regardless, Continental Airlines took great care of me today."
Couple of thoughts as I was reading this...Rod's right, we bloggers don't shout out when we get good or great service as often as we complain when we don't.
In that vein, I thought I'd share a couple of "better than expected" service experiences I had on the "day of travel days".
They both had to do with my wife, who was on a multi-city business trip on the east coast this past week. She had one of her worst travel days in recent memory that day, compared to my relative walk in the park travel day on the west coast.
Specifically, she was flying from Atlanta to Charlotte that day, to be followed by a flight to Pittsburgh.
Long story short, she was delayed a number of hours in Atlanta both due to the terror situation and local weather. Finally, after waiting over four hours through the evening, she got word that her flight to Charlotte was canceled. It was the last flight out that way that night.
Luckily, after a bit of scrambling, she managed to get on a midnight flight to Pittsburgh. She managed to call me just as the plane was pushing off the gate to let me know of the change, and asked me to cancel her hotel in Charlotte and book one in Pittsburgh.
Her checked roller bag of course was still booked to go to Charlotte, and she just didn't have time to get it out. Ironically, the only reason it was checked was that the rules had changed and toiletries and cosmetics weren't allowed as carry-on bags.
Upon calling the Hilton hotel in Charlotte, I got a desk clerk who was very sympathetic and helpful as he heard the story. Being past midnight there, he informed me that he was the night security clerk, and that he would relay the info to the front desk ASAP, and make sure that the reservation guarantee charge would be reversed and canceled due to the circumstances.
He then called me back an hour later to confirm that the charge had been canceled. That was a better than expected service moment.
Similarly, when I called the Hyatt hotel at Pittsburgh airport, the gentleman at the front desk patiently heard out my wife's plight. He had no rooms at all for the night, but then after a pause offered me the "Premier suite" at half price. It was the only thing left at that time.
Needless to say, given my limited choices that night, I took him up on his offer. Given that he had other guests in front of him at the front desk just then, he just took down my wife's name and assured me that she'd have a room, and that no other info (credit card etc.), was necessary to hold the room.
That too was a better than expected service moment.
Almost two days later, my wife is still trying to track down the status of her luggage via Delta. The airline is still not sure whether it's in Atlanta or in Charlotte. We're hoping it will some day make it's way back to California.
That, I regret to report, is very much an "As Expected" service moment.