I want to share a story of how I went from the most loyal customer, to the least in just 7 tweets. This is as much of a rant as it is a lesson for brands still trying to navigate their way through social customer service.
The brand experience ill share is with Qantas. From being a gold frequent flyer, Qantas club member, Qantas Visa and AMEX holder, Qantas/Woolworth membership and regular user of their affiliate car hire, restaurant and entertainment affiliates (including where I got my tyres replaced). Not to mention every flight be it personal or work was always booked with Qantas and their affiliate airlines.
Back in October last year I booked our weekly flights to Sydney with the b2cloud team to spend the afternoon with one of our clients. The day was great, we arrived at the airport for our flight back home to find out I had booked a second flight to sydney instead of Melbourne 😥
A silly mistake, easily replicated if you jump on the Qantas site and book 2 one way tickets, it remembers your default departure city. Meaning if you accidentally click back too far on the site, it defaults back to your home city as the departure place. Nonetheless I should have double checked.
Off to the service counter, to find our replacement tickets were going to cost $700 for the 4 of us, not the $350 we paid originally. Seemed a little rough, but not many options at that time of night.
Waiting for our plane in the departure lounge I spotted a couple of the staff who were at the check-in desk looking our way having a bit of a chuckle. I decided to head beside the counter to hear “-laugh- and he made the morons pay $700. They booked flights from Melbourne, idiots”.
I was pissed, especially as we were nothing more than polite through the entire ordeal.
At the time I couldnt really blame Qantas for the chatter. Who knows maybe they had a bad night, were soon to lose their job, someone in their family was ill. It wasnt really the fault of Qantas, but its their responsibility now was to make me feel better about the situation.
The following day I called Qantas customer Care. I explained the incident and expressed my dissapoinment especially after paying so much money. I was quickly directed to write an email.
Having spent an hour composing an email which I sent off to Qantas. 2 weeks later having almost forgotten I sent an email I had heard nothing back.
By far the best way to get a company to respond to you is to make your incident public using Twitter/Facebook. They are very quick at responding, hours in this case!
Fair enough, coming up to Christmas things were busy so best to be patient. I decided to wait a couple more weeks before I Tweeted again. It was the first time I had flown Virgin Australia, and it was great!
Well it turned out that there was no email sent, we use Google and scoured not only my email inbox but the catchall too. Nothing. I was starting to feel like they were trying to make me look crazy. Nonetheless I waited and Tweeted some time later. Turned out it was a letter posted, again one I never received and strange as usually emails are replied to with emails, not letters 🙂
Coming on 2 months after the original incident things were quiet, so I sent a quick Tweet to find out where it was all at.
So it seemed we had given up speaking on email. I did as they asked and sent a PM with the b2cloud office address.
This time around I waited over a month before sending my next Tweet as it was the only way I had to contact the team. At this point im annoyed!
In fact in January I did receive a call from their team. They were apologetic (well kind of), and offered me……… wait for it………. a free one off entry to the Qantas Lounge! Considering the magnitude of the indicent and everything noted above, clearly im not a very valuable customer. So I explained that we had moved all our travel to Virgin, the lounge entry cant be used (as we dont fly Qantas now), but they were welcome to try and win our business back.
The lady on the call was really understanding and insisted that she speak with her manager and get this escalated and I be contacted back urgently.
Did they call you back?
No they didn’t, and I no longer want to talk over Twitter as its annoying my followers. I have cancelled all my cards, moved all of my accounts, used up most of my FF points and starting my relationship again. This time with Virgin Australia.