Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Dandy Stevenson.
Yesterday, Repman addressed Ryanair's CEO calling his passengers stupid. Well, if Ryanair is anything like Delta, then there are just as many stupid people working for the airlines as there are flying on them.
Last week I wanted to book a new flight using monetary credit with Delta for a flight I had canceled last month.
I started on their website armed with the old confirm code and two hundred digit ticket number, which I had been told were all I needed to re-book. Well of course that didn’t work, so I called Delta’s reservation line and listened to that devilish machine that kept asking for “just a little more information” so he could direct me to the “right representative.”
Three days later, I am connected to someone with a pulse and things move along swimmingly until I say I want to use credit. I am placed on hold, and after he eats his lunch, he’s back on the line and says the credit can only be used on a ticket of equal or greater value, and my new flight is less expensive. Really? That wasn’t mentioned when I canceled the flight. Mr. Personality told me it was in the terms and conditions to which I agreed when I purchased the flight.
I jokingly asked, “What, it was buried in paragraph 14 on the third page?” His deadpan answer: “Probably.”
Here’s where the adventure really begins. I asked him to direct me to that information on their website. I felt this was critical enough information that it should have been mentioned when I was told I could re-book, and I wanted to re-read my terms and conditions. He said that was not possible. How can that be? It’s there when you book your flight, but nowhere else. They appear and then disappear? I suggested we go thru the booking process and get all the way to the “click here” point and then we’ll read the rules and regs together and that way I can see what I agreed to. No, that won’t work, says he.
Every fare code has its own terms and conditions, and the chances of getting that same fare code back is not likely. But possible, I say. Yes, but it would take time. What’s my fare code? Back on hold for a week or so, till he gets back on the line and spits out ‘SP64US’. OK, I say, how did you find out it was applicable to my fare code? You must have read it somewhere, so can you send that document to me? No. It’s not written on something like that. Written on something like what- a piece of paper, or a computer? I suggested he send me a screen grab, a link, create a PDF and email to me or scan it in and email to me. I noted that in today’s space age, surely we could figure something out. He said he just information he knew. If that was the case, why did he have to put me on hold? Told whiz-bang I was amazed that with so many different fare codes he knew this rule applicable to mine.
He was in a hole and kept shoveling, hoping I would give up. Not a chance. I was more committed than ever to getting the proof I deserved.
I’ll spare you any further blow-by-blow reporting of this time-consuming and constitution testing experience. I recounted my sad story two more times, to two different supervisors. The first said she was not able to help, and I needed to call their internet help desk. I told her no way; I knew the help desk would just turn around and pass me back to reservations and I wasn't about to enter the second circle of hell. I asked to speak to another supervisor. She said, “OK but they will tell you the same thing.”
She was wrong.
The second supervisor, (after two more lengthy periods on hold, during which she came back on to let me know was still working on the problem and had not abandoned me,) said the first agent gave me incorrect information and I could use the credit. Wow. For the record, I would have been as satisfied (though maybe not as happy) if I’d just found someone who delivered said rules and regs in some form to me.
Lesson learned: Don’t give up. If you believe you have a point, a request or an issue that merits attention, solution or explanation, stay on it and don’t back down. Be friendly but firm. Let whomever you are speaking know that as soon as they said “how can I help you” they signed onto a journey and nobody is going to sleep until things are resolved. It takes time, patience and maybe a handful of aspirin but it beats the hell out of rolling over and playing dead when you encounter a corporate bully.
You are so right Julie. Consumers have always needed all the help they can get when dealing with corporate bullies and the likes of Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools.
Wow… it sounds like you revisited the lowest rung of Dante’s Inferno. Did they really think this sort of “customer service” was going to gain them more passengers? I totally understand now why the airlines are in such a sorry state.
Another way to get their attention is to complain using social media (remember United Breaks Guitars?) and to write to the president of the company. It’s worked for me several times before when less-than-helpful reps gave me the runaround.
“Let whomever you are speaking to know that as soon as they said “how can I help you” they signed onto a journey and nobody is going to sleep until things are resolved.”
I think before anyone deals with customer service, they should read that line, put on Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” in the background, throw a couple of practice jabs in the air and then start dialing.