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How Important is Customer Service?

img_5533On my way to a work conference in New Brunswick, I had to take a flight from London with a layover in Toronto. This was not going to be an issue since I had some work I needed to finish on the flights and layover locations. Unfortunately, my good intentions were interrupted by unforeseen events. During our takeoff from London, I noticed a strange pulsing noise coming from one of the propeller engines but did not think much of it, as each plane seems to have a different sound during takeoff. Soon after we got up to cruising altitude, I heard some sputtering from the left propeller engine. A few minutes later, I looked out the window and saw it had stopped spinning. The plane made a 180-degree turn and headed back to London for an emergency landing. Upon our decent, I could see the airport runways were empty except for a bunch of trucks with flashing lights lined up along the sides. The pilots did a great job on the landing, considering they had to come in fast with one working engine. I only wished that the airline’s customer service had done as good of a job as their pilots did.

The plane malfunction was not necessarily the airline’s fault, as the issue may not have been detectable during their maintenance checks and thus would have no control over preventing it, but everything afterward was within their power. After exiting the plane, I was very relieved that everything went well but concerned about how I would get to New Brunswick since I was going to miss my original connecting flight. Once I got back into the airport, we were greeted by an airline agent who told us that we could either wait in a big line to get rebooked or could call a special number they had. I opted to call the number, as I needed to get to my conference as quickly as possible.

After waiting a while on hold, I was finally able to speak with someone live. What I thought would be a quick, and easy process ended up being a horrible experience. The person on the line made it seem like it was my fault that I had to rebook my flight and that it was a huge inconvenience for them. Finally, after 45 minutes of being on the phone with them, they told me that they would rebook me for a flight later that evening, but from Toronto, and just before they confirmed the booking, I got disconnected. I called back right away and had to wait on hold again before speaking to someone new. They then told me that I had already been rebooked but for the next day with multiple layovers. So again after another 45 minutes of explaining my situation and how I needed to get to New Brunswick as soon as possible for a work conference (while driving from London to Toronto in rush hour traffic), I finally got my flight changed back to the original rebooked one in Toronto.

I have never received such poor customer service in my life. I have always prided myself on giving the best customer service possible and am very proud to work for a company who believes in the same principals. It has been almost a month since the flight, and I have not heard back from the airline, even though I have called and sent multiple emails. This experience has solidified my belief in how important great customer service needs to be and even just a small gesture could have gone such a long way.

I hope that the next time you have something go wrong on your end; you can think back to all the situations you have been involved in and how you would have wanted the outcome to unfold before taking action.

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