How not to deal with customers

In any organisation the customer is king and it is therefore vital to give them the best experience possible. They can always take their business elsewhere. So I have made a habit of testing the customer systems of companies I have been a manager at. By pretending to be a customer you get the customer experience and can then fix any problems. With this in mind I am now going to have a rant.

Last night I booked a holiday with giving them all the payment details and received a confirmation email. This morning I received a phone call from someone who said he worked for the holiday operator and could he please have my email address and the 3 numbers off the security strip on my debit card, details I had already given last night in my confirmed booking. Obviously I said no.

I then rang and got their robotised phone system. It asked me repeatedly for my order number which I typed in straight off the screen, it kept telling me it didn’t recognise it (obviously their booking computer and phone computer systems don’t talk to each other very often). In the end it said OK we will proceed without the number, it then asked me for the departure date. Whilst I was looking for this it said it was terminating the call and cut me off!

So I tried again. This time I told the robot that I didn’t have the order number and I had my departure date to hand to get it in quickly before I was cut off. I then answered the questions as well as I could “Have you already booked a holiday” etc and it put me in a queue for 5 to 10 minutes of the normal waffle. A gentleman then answered the phone and asked me a lot of security questions he then told me he couldn’t help me before I even told him what the problem was. He then put me in another queue for another 5 to 10 minutes of waffle before I got another gentleman who asked me all the same security questions. Then when I told him the problem he put me through to the person who phoned me this morning!

As you can see their procedures are full of holes. The confirmation email doesn’t say what it should. Their system for dealing with payments and their suppliers doesn’t work properly. Their computers don’t work properly. Their robot phone system is a shambles etc etc. It must be costing them millions in lost business. I have a choice and whilst I am not saying never again to, they will certainly be the last service I check with in future. There is always Expedia, for instance.

I am amazed that the management at allow this mess, they must surely know about it from customer feedback. Self evidently they don’t value customers as highly as I do and as you should.