Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Customer service in unusual conditions

It is said that we should learn from mistakes. And apparently the easiest way is to learn from mistakes we make ourselves, because they are more painful and lesson is more memorable.... However this rule does not work every time.

The idea to this post came when I saw the people blocked in European airports. Same as every year,
suddenly it snowed in winter!.... The airports are paralysed.

Such situation itself causes a high level of frustration, as people's plans are destroyed. But the frustration grows due to lack of information: "You ask one person and get an answer. When you ask another person the same question you get a different answer" one of the traveler says.

Weather conditions created  a "crisis" which the airline companies are not guilty of. However they are responsible and obliged to support their clients.
When everybody is in equal negative conditions it is high time for companies to show their attitude and care for customers. It is a chance for companies to surprise their clients in a nice way, by offering some additional service which is not included in the normal price, because....we are not in a normal situation.

The way companies deals in critical situations shows how they may adjust to changing reality.
Clients will strongly appreciate if they see that the company bring all it efforts to find the best possible solution. And it will result in greater trust in the company as well as greater attachment to it. Customers tend to associate with companies they may rely on.

I wish firms consider unusual scenarios as a great opportunity to demonstrate their top customer service skills, and strengthen the links with existing clients.


  1. this is a particularly bad example, dear Tatiana.
    Airports are usually owned by governments, which give them in lease or rent to private companies which exercise then very monopolistic policies.
    keeping an airport clear of snow is not that hard. is only a 3 or 4 km piece of tarmac. motorway authorities are routinely able to keep THOUSANDS of km or roads clear of snow and usable. so why airports collapse when it snows a little? simple, because they are mismanaged by companies which are not in competition, which operate in total monopoly, which charge massive fees to airlines and which basically dont give a rat's ass if an airplane can take off or not. the guys at the top of airport companies are usually appointed because of political connections and not because of their managerial skills.
    what you see at work in commercial airpors is government interference at its worst, with heavy interferences of every sort. inefficiency and mismanagement is paramount. then governments approve laws that force airlines to pay for government and airport companies failures. did you know that many times more than half of the cost of an airline ticket goes to the airport management companies? they are the ones making huge money at the expenses of airlines and passengers.
    so yes, for sure airlines could try to compete in the level of services supplied in cases of emergency or flight cancelled. but are you sure they are allowed to? remember, a passenger in an airport is not in the hands of the airline, but they are in the hands of the airport company, and they have total control over more or less everything, even on the fact that an airline can give support to stranded passengers.

    so, if a flight is cancelled because the airport company cannot keep the runway clean, why should be the airline to pay for passengers comfort and for tickets refunds? is not the airline fault if a flight is cancelled, is the airport company fault and they should pay for it. but alas, they operate under a regime of monopoly, therefore they are not afraid of competition, and their contracts usually last 40 or 50 years. they are not even afraid of losing the contract for the management of the airport.
    so perhaps you should direct your article to the airport management companies, whose customer service is so bad that it is a scandal.
    remember, you should measure the performance of an airline only from the moment you are on the aircraft. until then, is the airport boys and girls who run the show. and i have to say they often do it very, very poorly.
    i can guarantee you that if it were the airlines managing airports, delays, queues, cancellations, and mismanagement would be a thing of the past. an airliner sitting idle on the tarmac is a massive cost and no airline wants that.
    airport companies have alwayys been great at staying below the radar, most people dont even know they exist. but they do, they are huge, and make massive money at the expenses of airlines and passengers.

  2. Very emotional comment, BashTheMsm, thank you! The example of airlines was used as a representative for all types of businesses.

    If going into details, probably the performance of an airline company starts from the moment we either enter the website or the sales office, in order to buy the ticket/get the information, till the moment passengers landed at destination.

    I absolutely agree that the managemnet of airports is the side that should/must offer a proper infrastructure. Moreover, I am sure that an effective cooperation of airlines and airports is to the best interest of everybody: companies that have to deal in unusual conditions, and passengers who are dependend on their actions.