Wishing all our Clients, Customer Experience Advocates, Partners and Friends in India a Happy Republic Day.
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CATEGORY: Service Star
We planned to celebrate the holidays with our family in India last December and we nearly missed our flight.
We booked our Manila-Mumbai flight via Singapore with Singapore Airlines for December 20th. We chose the 7:00pm flight, as we still had to work earlier that day.
I’ve always thought of myself as a smart traveller, and my husband, Kaiz, an even smarter one. After doing a final check on our baggage weight, we left our home at 4:00PM to go to Terminal 3 which is 15 kilometers away. With the usual traffic, it would take about an hour to reach the airport. We had already checked-in online the day before, so we knew that there was enough time to reach the airport and relax before the flight.
What we did not anticipate was the terrible traffic that evening brought by vehicles rushing to fetch passengers from the Arrival terminal (we were not so smart after all!). They clogged the road intended for the Departure Terminal at the airport.
Our car was stuck at the Villamor Airbase area for more than one hour. We were already in a panic and called the Singapore Airlines office stationed at the airport at 5:50pm. We explained our unfortunate situation and asked if they could possibly wait for us to check-in. The kind staff gave us until 6:20pm to check-in. By 6:20pm, we were still at the Resorts World area, it’s opposite the airport but we still need to reach the roundabout and make a turn. We, again, called Singapore Airlines to ask what our options are. The next flight would be the following morning and we will surely miss our connecting flight to Mumbai. Kaiz asked the staff if it would still be possible for the check-in counter to wait for us. The friendly Singapore Airlines staff said that she advised the check-in counter to wait for us and to just reach the airport as soon as we can.
We finally reached the airport at 6:40PM, I left Kaiz at the X-ray machine to run to the check-in counter. I then saw him running with 2 airport staff helping him with our baggage! We were finally at the Singapore Airlines check-in counter by 6:45pm – just 15 minutes before our supposed flight departure!
They did keep the counter open just for us. The kind Singapore Airlines security staff even requested the Travel Tax counter officer to accommodate us (the lines there were very long).
Even as we lined up at the Immigration counters, we were assisted by Singapore Airlines ground staff, so that we could reach our gate immediately.
By the time we reached the gate, the security officer stationed there reassured us that we can now relax, BREATHE, as we did not miss our flight. The flight was delayed by 15 minutes!
I’am familiar with airline policies about check-in times, especially if you have baggage to check-in (we had 4 baggage for check-in!). We believe that our experience with Singapore Airlines that evening was truly a Christmas (Customer Service) Miracle! We flew Economy class and were not at all expecting any special treatment, yet the airline staff we spoke to and met that evening had shown us kindness and care.
I’ve always admired Singapore Airlines for its customer service because they have a system that “just works!”. Prior to this experience, I never had anything extraordinary to say because all my flights with them have been smooth and problem-free. In customer service, it’s all about consistency, and this is one company that delivers consistent customer service.
Now, I have my own little story to share why Singapore Airlines is indeed, a Great Way to Fly!
Thank you, Singapore Airlines! I will never forget the extraordinary accommodation you have given us.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
We thank all our Customer Experience Advocates, Clients and Partners for a great year.
Looking forward to an even better 2015!
Image courtesy: www.freechristmaswallpapers.net
I recently attended the Kiddopreneur event at the Glorietta Mall. This is an event where kids can be entrepreneurs! It is a venue where children are exposed to the nuances of business and entrepreneurship first hand.
I thought it might be the regular school exhibition type of products on sale but I was so blown away by the kiddopreneurs who had booths with some very innovate products for sale. The items ranged from caterpillars in glass bottles, wallets made from duct tape to food stuff.
A booth which caught my attention was The Juantrepreneurs (their surname is “Juan”) which sold the Kiddie Entrep Bank. It’s a savings bank which was available in the shape of a piggy, a London double decker bus and the Jeepney. The Kiddie Entrep Bank has four slots to save money, which are labeled EARN, SAVE, INVEST and DONATE.
The Juantrepreneurs were just awesome with their customer service and salesmanship! I was really struck by Little Mr. Max Juan. He spoke with confidence, had detailed product knowledge. He handed me his calling card and later gave one to my wife, Michelle who told him we have one. He said take this one just in case you lose it! His older brother dressed up in a matching waist coat as Max with their brand logo, was able to explain to me how the savings bank worked. Their cousins (sisters) make up the team at The Juantrepreneurs and they explained to me the other products on offer. I was so impressed by their skill and style. Later on, I found out they won the best customer service and best concept at the end of the day-long event and even in the past years, they have been consistently winning the best customer service award.
I am happy to see the enterprising zeal displayed by all the kids. But most importantly, it’s the support of their parents and older siblings for their creative ideas that encouraged these kids to think like entrepreneurs and understand the importance of being focused on customer service.
I’m a recent victim of a contaminated processed food product in the Philippines, and I find it frustrating that there is no clear system nor information for consumers on how to go about filing a formal complaint with the local Food and Drug Administration. There is an FDA hotline number provided on their website but no one was answering the phone all day yesterday. Today, I sent my written complaint via email to the FDA, I remain hopeful that they will do their duty in protecting my consumer rights. As a passionate advocate for the customer, I cannot just accept that finding a dead insect inside a can of tuna is OK. It is not OK!
If it weren’t for social media, my story would probably be ignored and downplayed as not to be taken seriously. Thanks to social media, I feel reassured that people do care about things like this after all and it strengthened my resolve to do my duty as a consumer — report to authorities and raise awareness for other consumers. It’s only when we all start caring that companies and brands will take consumer protection and consumer rights more seriously.
What made the experience worse for me as a consumer was the lack of effective customer recovery efforts from this company. Instead of reassuring me and the public immediately of their commitment to quality, their delayed response can only result from having no system for customer recovery. They have lost my trust as a consumer, but as a marketing professional, they lost my respect as well. Their company executives are using people personally known to me to communicate their request for me to remove the Facebook post. I find these requests very selfish and inconsiderate of the trauma they have already caused me. I am truly sad that this had to happen because it was a brand I was loyal to for years. A brand I trusted could not be trusted after all.
Coming across this story that’s trending in India at the moment is like a breath of fresh air given what I’m going through now.
Hindustan Unilever was able to brilliantly use one man’s unfortunate customer experience to promote the goodness of their company. Laxminarayan Krishnamurthy based in Mumbai purchased a Samsung mobile phone on Snapdeal (online store), when the package was delivered to his home, there was no phone inside the box, instead it had a Vim (A Unilever brand) dishwashing bar and a brick.
Snapdeal initially was not cooperative until Mr. Krishnamurthy‘s Facebook post on his experience became viral. Snapdeal eventually refunded the customer. But it was Hindustan Unilever’s act of kindness and sheer marketing brilliance, which became the bigger story. Hindustan Unilever sent the customer a brand new Samsung mobile phone and 2 bottles of Vim Dishwashing liquid. Now, this is what I call commitment to the brand. I love the statement from Hindustan Unilever:
“Inadvertently our brand Vim became a part of a negative consumer experience. We not only realised the need for a positive engagement with the consumer but also saw this as an opportunity for creating a delightful brand experience for the consumer. It is heartening to know that our gesture has been appreciated by the consumer.”
Hurray for the customer!