Sunday, January 24, 2010

Customer Service: Lessons Learned

There is nothing like a few poor customer service incidents to make you truly thankful for a positive customer service experience.

A Charlotte hub, USAIR is the most common airline that my family and I use for personal and business travel. While I prefer JetBlue, it was USAIR that could get us to Orlando and back for a family vacation planned back in December.

On the heels of a national weather back-up, our flight was cancelled leaving us with no other choice but to drive the 9 hours to Disney World. We lost an entire day of theme-park fun, but in the end, we got there. Tea Cup wackiness ensued.

A few days after arriving home, the refund-chasing began. Do you know that the USAIR Refund department only has access to fax machines and not telephones? Each time we phoned, every customer service rep gave us a different story and no one could tell us anything different than the information we could see on the website. (which was not helpful).

Finally, weeks after our travel had concluded, we received refund checks for our flights. But what about the $40 baggage fee that we prepaid online (as suggested by the airline to expedite check-in and save money?)

Our travel was 12/20/09, and one month later, I’m still refreshing the USAIR website daily looking for information on my $40 refund. I feel like the paperboy in Better Off Dead. I want my $40!!!!

Lesson Learned: If you feel like you are getting a canned response from the Customer Service rep, ask to speak to a manager, or hang up and try again. (I realize this is hard to do when you’ve been on hold for 20+ minutes the first go around.) We found after three different reps we finally found one willing to give us a hint of information that we had not previously uncovered. Ultimately, don’t ever give up. It's your money.

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