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Losing Your Wallet as The Ultimate Test of Customer Service

by Olive Huang  |  January 26, 2014  |  6 Comments

Just shortly before Christmas I was on my way back from a Microsoft Dynamics Asia Event, I lost my wallet.

It was absolutely the worst nightmare a traveler could have… that you were not home yet but you had nothing to pay for anything… could’t check in the hotel, no money to pay for the taxi, and worried about your lost credit cards and a million receipts you have collected but too busy to put them in an expense report.

So sitting at the hotel lobby I had to call 2 hotels, 2 airports, 1 airline and 5 credit card companies in Singapore and Australia to clean up this mess. For someone who is researching customer service this became unfortunately a field project. Some experiences are very frustrating and others are fantastic.

These are the bad examples:

1. Customer self service is a good thing. But don’t hide the hotline number on your website.

2. It is a lost-and-stolen credit card hotline, get rid of all the IVR menus and voice recognition technologies and send someone to talk to me please, right now.

3. I lost my card, please, don’t ask me to key in the 16 digit card number.

4. If there are planes arriving in the evening, why does the lost-and-found office at the airport have  the working hour of 9-5?

5. How many passengers can go back to the lost-and-found office at the airport the next day to log the case? Why can’t you take my case on the phone and give me a reference number?

6. Don’t claim you have an emergency card replace service if you can only take the request from 9-5 and deliver the card in 2-3 days.

These are the good examples:

1. Lost-and-stolen credit card hotline number is on the front page of the web site, and in bold text.

2. when you call the lost-and-stolen credit card hotline, phone rings 2 times, a REAL person picks it up.

3. An airport lost-and-found office opens 24×7,  logs your case on the phone and keeps you posted everyday via sms on the progress.

4. The hotel staff brought you a cup of hot tea, upgraded you to a corner suite, and left a hand written note with a fruit plate saying “Sorry to hear about your stress mam. Please enjoy the view and have a good stay.”

Lessons learnt: When in Crisis, no technology can replace timely and human interaction.

More lessons learnt: Use a cheaper wallet. Clean up the receipts in time. Stop using that dopey handbag with no zipper. Next time stay in the same hotel which saved your evening. And don’t lose your wallet again.


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Category: crm-software-industry  customer-experience  customer-service  

Tags: crm  customer-experience  customer-service  

Olive Huang
Research Director
1 years at Gartner
16 years IT Industry

Olive Huang is a Research Director in Gartner Research and is part of the company's CRM software research team. Her research area focuses on customer services and support, contact centers, CRM vendors and service providers, and CRM strategy and best practices in the Asia/Pacific region. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Losing Your Wallet as The Ultimate Test of Customer Service

  1. I’m really sorry that you lost your wallet, Olive: I can imagine the anguish it must have caused.
    Can I add one more lesson to be learned?

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

    Some years ago, when I started getting involved in business continuity planning, I realised the peril of having just a wallet with everything in it and decided to act.

    I keep money, credit cards and ID separated. The only exception is my NFC debit card, which I keep with the money and my Oyster card for travel in London. I use an envelope for all the receipts and stuff.

    Oh, and I keep emergency money in with the cards as well: not so much for if I lost my money, but more because I’m always forgetting to top up my cash from the hole in the wall.

  2. Gao Wei says:

    Lost wallet is a bad thing.

    It’s a result of a malfunctioning wallet management process, which has plenty room for improvement. Or in a short and crispy term, RPWT.

    It’s about the process.

  3. Miin Leong says:

    You should have rung me Olive. What an experience!

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