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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