Dealing With Customer Misery – Part 1
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I have in my massive private archive a number of stories of airline passengers detained on the tarmac for hours with no food, water or toilet facilities; passengers unfairly bumped from flights; near-riots at ticket counters and in waiting rooms.
Several years ago, our flight from Nice to Paris was canceled and long lines of ticketed passengers were in shouting matches with Air France ground personnel, creating a knot in my stomach and a sense of dread.
This is old-fashioned CRM (Customer Relationship Misery).
I have to believe the cold, clinical term CRM (Customer Retention Management) was dreamed up by some nerdy MBA.
Sensitive marketers, who knew better, softened it to “Customer Relationship Management.”
Online, in person, on the phone, in the mail, a measure of success is how well a company creates what I call “Customer Relationship Magic.”
On April 1, we left Newark, N.J. on a KLM/Delta night flight to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, where we would have a four-hour layover until our connection to Basel, Switzerland.
Over Newfoundland, the pilot came on the horn to announce the plane had lost a generator. The Boeing 767-300 has two engines and three generators, of which two were working O.K. But we were not allowed to fly across the ocean without a working spare third generator, so we returned to Newark.
Seven hours later we took off for an uneventful flight to Schiphol, but had obviously missed our connection to Basel.
No problem, the Delta/KLM ground folks told us. KLM had rebooked us on a later flight to Basel and we could pick up all the information—and new boarding passes—at a Self-Service Transfer Kiosk, which we would see at the end of the hallway to our right when we left the airplane.