Pilot Light

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The sad truth

I’m trying to book some flights at the moment and went into the local high street travel agent in Putney to see what was on offer. I had a good chat with a sales advisor and she was broadly very helpful. There was a little bit of trouble with one leg of the journey though and she needed to wait for the airline to get back to her. No drama, she’ll call me when she hears back. Only she didn’t and I had to chase her. I looked up the number of the travel agent on the web, rang them up, and found I’d come through to a central number.

Now surely that wouldn’t matter? This is, after all, the 21st century. We hear all the time about the importance of customer service and there is a whole industry devoted to CRM systems to make the customer experience better. But apparently it does matter. I was told: “I can’t help you because obviously we have different systems, you’ll have to ring the local office in Putney.”

This got me thinking: “obviously we have different systems” – does that really wash anymore? It was the same company after all – surely my relationship is with the company, not with one person in one of their offices? They clearly had some sort of booking and customer tracking system because I was entered on it in the shop. I just find it frustrating that I had to speak to the same person as before to be able to progress my query.

For a company in the business of servicing customers, they seem to have missed a massive trick here. If the information about my query was made available to all the people I speak to, my experience would have been so much better and I wouldn’t be writing this. Maybe I’m over simplifying the issue here, but I see so many case studies of companies putting the customer at the centre and implementing simple processes and systems to do this, that I find it hard to take when I’m told the “computer says no.”

Alec

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Written by pilotlight

21/04/2008 at 10:45 am

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