I recently experienced a frustrating interaction with a Customer Service department that was rendered ineffective because it depended on feedback from staff it could not control. My luggage was lost somewhere during a 2 connection flight on 2 different airlines. The worldwide tracking tool was supposed to provide me and the customer service department regular updates on the status of my delayed bag. While the bag did finally show up (damaged) the tracking tool was not updated as it should have been leading to severe anxiety on my part (the customer) and multiple calls to a customer service organization (unproductive use of the call center). There are important lessons to be learned from this failed process.

Social media continues to strengthen the consumer’s ability to get satisfaction from large organizations where front line employees have been unable to resolve issues. This story is about Delta Airlines and baggage allowances for US Army soldiers returning from overseas duty in Afghanistan. An issue arose and a dissatisfied soldier posted a video on Youtube that went viral and embarrassed Delta Airlines. It took less than a day for Delta Airlines to issue an apology and change their policy but 200,000 people have seen the video. It was removed from the Youtube site, but the web never forgets and a mirror site picked it up and 20,000 more people have seen it on the mirror site. Outrage followed with news wires picking up the story and there are 1284 articles on this topic on Google.

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