Sunday, June 7, 2009

just smiling

It comes too close to home sometimes when poor customer service affects quality time spent with family, and even more so when it disrupts the last moments we may spend with someone who is dear to our heart.

Over the last few months, I've experienced my share of some of the poorest customer service of my life, and I got to wondering, in a world of high unemployment, and with companies vying for increasing or just retaining market share how this could be so. I've changed my health insurance and my mobile phone after years of loyal patronage, in these last months, and for just these reasons.

In sharing these thoughts I've been given lots of reasons: staff implementing company policies to the letter, without allowance for initiative. I'm sorry, but it doesnt hold with me. A smile costs nothing. Surely the companies I'm talking about have not got a policy against staff smiling.

The latest incident is one which this normally half glass full person will not forget. My farewell, perhaps for life, and certainly the intention that this will be so, was unforgivingly disrupted at the international airport by totally rude and unhelpful Jetstar check-in staff. What did we do so wrong? I took my darling Natalie (sweet patient and kind, and experienced traveller of the last 5 out of 6 years) to the airport, went off to have a coffee while she checked in, and thought we'd then have time for farewells, brunch, hugs and kisses. We arrived there well before the prescribed time to allow us time to do just that; in fact we arrived at the airport three and a half hours before departure. Her paid airline ticket wasnt enough; she was not given a seat allocation. The only thing the Jetstar customer service desk would do was quote that if we purchase on online ticket we become our own travel agent and we are responsible knowing the conditions of travel. (OK so when I had calmed down slightly, and got home I checked all of those conditions online, over and over, and not one thing mentioned about the issue we had at the airport). So, we spent all the time jumping through hoops at check-in, without any concern from Jetstar, without help or advice, or one ounce of initiative to make the process easier. It could have been so much easier; it was like pulling teeth guessing the next part of the maze that we couldnt see around the corner. The final straw for me was the disdain which with we were treated, and the laugh that was given us. A great memory on a final parting, after 27 years years, to the person who has been closest in my life. I don't think so Jetstar! You are dealing with people, and at the international terminal, with people who are leaving a country, and perhaps leaving loved ones!

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