Virgin Blue will have to fight Dymocks for the goat-blowing deal…
Dedicated readers may remember that I was stuck in Adelaide recently when my friendly Virgin Blue pilot noticed there was a crack in the windscreen on my Melbourne-Perth flight…
The Adelaide grounding was supposed to be about an hour, ended up taking 4-6 from memory, which felt like much longer as delays always do, especially when doled out in hollow, friendly increments.
By way of apology, Virgin provided free in-flight entertainment on the Adelaide-Perth leg of the journey, although satellite reception is intermittent over chunks of the Bight, the desert and the ocean…
Additionally, we were provided with $510 credit. Sweet.
Yesterday, I tried to book a flight with this credit.
Ironically, I’m going to Adelaide.
Nowhere in the online booking process could I find an option for using the credit code to pay for the flights, so today I called the call centre to make my booking.
Sure I can use the credit, but I have to do it over the phone — “for security purposes”. WTF?
In other words, the security of the online booking process is good enough for their customers, unless of course they’re trying to spend Virgin’s money.
Then I’m told that telephone bookings incur a $15 surcharge… despite the fact that I can’t make this booking online. I grumble, but continue…
You may be surprised to learn that I don’t want to stay in Adelaide, so I’m booking a return flight.
Or at least, they call it a return flight: They slug me the $15 surcharge on each flight…
Am I annoyed? Well, hell yes.
It’s not about the money — these days, $30 is two pack of cigarettes if you forget to buy them at the cheap places…
It’s about poor customer service — by not allowing me to access the ‘credit’ online, I’m forced to use the phone, incurring a surcharge for my booking. Yes, call centres cost money — but hitting me with the surcharge twice for making one phonecall is just a bullshit policy that creates a negative perception about the ‘service provider’.
And let’s not forget that the only reason I’m in this situation is because Virgin Blue, the service provider, has already fucked up.
SERVICE PROVIDERS TAKE NOTE:
It is always better to provide ‘credit’ over a ‘refund’ — It assists in the management of cashflow and it gives the disgruntled customer the perception that you care about them and will ‘make good’. What it really does is force the customer to use your service again…
If you are serious about ‘making good’ on your errors, make sure that the experience of claiming the credit is a positive one. This does not mean instructing your receptionist to wish me ‘a really excellent day’ at the end of a conversation in which it is blatantly apparent that I am pissed off.
Make the experience simple and convenient for the customer, capitalise on the goodwill you created when you offered to make restitution in the first place.
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