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Archive for April, 2005

Southwest Airlines Does it Right

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

I am not one of those people that enjoys flying on Southwest because of the “silly” flight attendant skits or because you get to stand in line with a bunch of people that have to line up an hour before your flight boards. I like Southwest because not only do they make it easy and convenient for you to fly, they make it easy to change your flight. It has been a number of years now since the airline world realized that Southwest was the most profitable airline and the recipe to do it was in plain sight. I guess the big boys just don’t want to get it or the airline unions are too strong.

But, the reason I am writing this is because we are headed to San Diego this weekend (four of us) to look at places to have our wedding (2 of us :) ). We originally decided we would come back on Monday because there was no availability on any flights after 12 noon on Sunday. Yesterday, three seats opened up on the 9pm flight. With a 4 minute phone call, I split two reservations into three, grabbed the three seats on the later flight and emails were automatically dispatched with the new confirmation numbers. Today, I noticed a seat on the 5:30pm flight, and while it is not 9pm, it works better than Monday. I called Southwest and in about 2 minutes (literally) I was on that flight. As I hung up the phone, the email that confirmed the change with the new flight information arrived in my inbox. Easy, simple and efficient. That is how I describe how Southwest’s customer service and reservations people and systems operate. Now, when is everyone else going to step up to the plate?

What Flight Attendants Should Not Say

Monday, April 25th, 2005

I just got back from a weekend wedding trip to Figure 8 Island in North Carolina (a pretty amazing place that I would like to visit again) and noticed a conversation on the flight out of Charlotte yesterday that I thought I would share with you. Somehow a woman got onto the plane with a boarding pass for a seat that had already been issued to someone else. I am really not sure how this happened in the first place as there was a man scanning the boarding passes and entering the seat number manually as we boarded the plane (not sure why the sanning did not do this automatically). The woman, who had apparently booked the seat months ago, based on what she was saying) went to a flight attendant and told her about the fact that there was someone in her seat with a valid boarding pass for that seat as well. The flight attendant told the woman to just wait until everyone had taken their seats on the plane and they would then deal with her issue. In amazement, the woman looked at the flight attendant and told her that she better not get bumped off of the flight as she had booked and paid for this flight months ago. Here is where I was surprised to hear what the flight attendant said. The attendant told the woman that there is no reason for her to get upset. Hmmm. I was thinking that there is every reason for her to get upset and it seemed the more the flight attendant said to her, the more she had a right to get upset.

If I were the woman I would have liked/expected the flight attendant to check my boarding pass for validity and if it were valid, to check the validity of the other boarding pass in question…immediately. Telling the woman she has nothing to get upset about when she is clearly in jeopardy (did I mention just about every US Airways flight out of Charlotte seemed to be overbooked) of getting bumped from a flight that is 2,500 miles away from her home, is just plain dumb.

Speakeasy Customer Support

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

I just had something happen to me on the phone that has never happened when dealing with the “tech” support of any company. I just received my Speakeasy DSL self install kit (for my 6Mb/768Kb DSL line) and I had to call to setup a password for my account. I called the customer service 800 number and got a guy named Eric. I told him I needed to setup a password for my new account and he had it done in less than a minute. But, here is where they surprised me. After Eric at Speakeasy told me that he had setup the password, there was a short silence. I asked him if he wanted me to try it out or just call them back if it didn’t work. Usually, the tech or customer support people are fighting to get off the phone and are not willing to hang around while you try to log in. Granted it does not take me more than about 10 seconds to sit at one of my computers and type in the login and password. Eric told me he wanted to make sure it works so that I would not have to call back. I was shocked. It is really silly, but such a simple thing. Thanks Eric and thanks Speakeasy…the password works and the speed on my DSL line is amazing.

Customer Service Consulting

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

There is a growing need for customer service consultants in our society. As more and more companies launch online or direct sales channels increased support requirements increase. Most companies can save time and money enlisting the help of a customer service consultant to build, grow and/or manage their customer service operations.

eBay Customer Service

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

Was thinking back through my experiences with big online companies and I am sad to say that eBay is one of the only companies that really wowed me. I was dumb enough to click on a link in one of those phony emails you get 10 of every day asking you to update your account. I must have been very tired, because I filled out the info and that was when my troubles began. But, to my surprise, eBay came through and had everything fixed right up within an hour of the beginning of the problem.