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How to drive your customers away

This one is for you, Qantas.

1. Make yourself inaccessible ( Good luck trying to speak to an actual, living,breathing person). And if our call is that important to you, pick it up. Quickly! Don’t make us wait endlessly listening to pre- recorded messages telling us how important we are.

2. Take a long time to respond to feedback. Here’s an excerpt from an email sent to us

“We are always happy to hear from our customers and to assist where possible.
Your reference number is ……”
We aim to respond to you within the next 15 business days.”

Please note ” We aim to respond in 15 business days” as opposed to “We will respond in 15 business days” . What message does this send us, your customer? And it takes you 15 business days to respond? Why bother?

3. Respond to a genuine complaint from a customer who cares enough to navigate your complicated feedback proceedure with a standard ,computer generated response. Don’t put a a staff member’s name on your responses.

4.Have email correspondents who write notes from addresses that you cannot reply to.

5.Invite feedback, then do nothing about it.

6.Throw undervalued, undertrained, disempowered human beings at perplexed and frustrated customers, frustrating and disrespecting them enough that they shrug and give up.

7.Raise the expectations of your customer with marketing campaigns with slogans that say “it’s all about you” when in actual fact, it’s really all about your proceedures and processes. When company policies overide commonsense , it’s a sad day.

8. Have call centres filled with demotivated employees who are only empowered to repeat what is on your website. Rob your staff of every single creative and human impulse with policies that disempower them.

Particularly in the airline business, where the lifetime worth of a customer far exceeds $15,000, it is insane to blow off a customer to save a fraction of that amount on customer care. Any customer who walks away disrespected , unheard and defeated represents thousands of dollars and you have failed in the promises that your brand made.

Your “Please go away” strategy works wonderfully, Qantas. You have driven me right into the waiting arms of your competition. And, what’s more, I thank you for it.

  1. What a brilliant article – have always advocated that Companies/People who are in the hospitality service (airline, travel/tourism or hotel industry) who do not provide customer service should Name and Shame the same only then will others become aware of their “appalling” service. Being from the Industry I completely understand the frustration as helping my customers often means our teams having to hold on to endless recorder messages only to be hung up on or leave never answered messages.

    I do hope this is the beginning of the No Nonsense Campaign.

    • Maheen, Thank you. I feel your pain, I know what it is like to wait for the phone to be answered. Hearing over and over again the prerecorded message ” your call is important to us” . If it’s that important- PICK UP THE PHONE!

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