It’s the procedures, stupid!

Here’s something different. If you’ve had bad service from an airline, make a video about it:

I learned of this from Jane Bozarth’s blog, where she adds the ‘training’ issue:

As "Sons of Maxwell" singer Dave Carroll notes in his follow-up statement, United Airlines has stepped up and has offered him some compensation. News reports also state that United wants to use the video in "training".
"Training"? Really?
Sorry, but I don’t see a training problem here. I see employees constrained by bad practices and protocols, and others whose knowingly substandard performance would have no consequence. Basically, they were doing exactly what they were expected to do. Even Dave Carroll defended the employee who gave him the final "no" from the airline as, "Acting in the interests of the policies she represented."
No, baggage handlers do not need to attend training so they can "learn" not to throw musical instruments onto the tarmac, for cryin’ out loud. People with the title "customer service representative" do not need to be "taught" not to be indifferent. Too often management throws problems into a bucket labeled "training issue" as if that will fix larger matters of culture and leadership. (And maybe hiring.)

I’ve had my own, much less serious, case going on with Easyjet for nearly two months now, where their in-cabin crew sold me a train ticket from Luton to London, confirming that I could use it on any train. Of course I took the first train and found when I got to London it wasn’t valid on E Midlands trains, only on First Trains. On the phone Easyjet told me that the cabin crew ‘must have told you’ (they didn’t) and ‘it says on the ticket’ (it doesn’t), but invited me to scan the ticket and send it to them. I did, and a week later they asked me to send the original. Since then I’ve discovered their unique approach to the resolution of customer complaints –:

> At easyJet, we like to ensure that our customers are totally satisfied with
> our response but we have not heard from you concerning your request for
> assistance in the last 72 hours since we sent you a response. Consequently,
> we have changed the status of your question to solved

This is issued not, as you might expect, after 72 hours, but 24 hours! So you have to keep writing, daily, getting a new ‘incident number’ each time (because the previous one has been ‘solved’!). Each time I get a very formal, polite response like :

> I can really understand the frustration you are going through.
> I can confirm that I have re-escalated your case to the concerned
> authorities. I can assure you they will get back to you shortly.

It’s no big deal – I just want £11 or so for the ticket I had to buy to be allowed off the platform! But I hope nobody’s receiving ‘customer service training’ as a result of my complaints. It’s the procedures that are set up to sweep minor complaints under the carpet. For two months!

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