Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Is the Customer Finally in Charge?


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@Valeria Sorry for the delay in response...back from the honeymoon now.

If a large company that was not my client implemented one of my ideas and then told me about it, I would feel like I was king of marketing and/or customer service. Well, for a while at least. ;)

@Mike - we already have too much data. What we need is better processes and actions. Best publicity you can buy is fix the problem so it doesn't show up again.

@Mike - I feel your pain coming through in the comment. As I was reading Fishman's article I kept thinking that surely it was not written nine years ago, we have better tools now. Customers knowing more about the problem is what has made online forums useful to many. Although, to be honest with you, I still prefer to connect with a doer by phone or Twitter.

@Eric - I would have gone from zero to Italian in no time under those circumstances. At least you got an answer from the airline. AirFranceUSA will only tweet promotions, I found, even as nobody picks up the phone over there. I wrote a post titled "5 Hours" where I outlined some ideas on connecting airline employees internally for better coordination and intelligence, etc. A PR agency guy representing American Airlines reached out to me to tell me AA implemented text messaging, one of my suggestions, and ask me if I wanted to speak with them. Since I had never flown AA, I said sure (I know better now, after my recent experience). When I didn't hear back from the PR guy, I followed up by email. He responded he was traveling and would get back to me at some point... so I started digging and found all kinds of nightmare before Halloween kind of stories. Maybe it was an agency answering the tweets, and they had to coordinate with the company?

I'm probably not qualified to say whether the customer is in charge. However, I can relate a recent experience of mine.

I had a day trip to a client planned, so I got to the airport at about 6am for a 7am flight and then of course did not board until 9:30am. Why? Because one of the flight staff had been delayed the night before due to weather and there was no one else available to take his place. Now, I'm willing to accept that we should all have to plan for occasional delays, but that should not just be my responsibility. The airline needs to be accountable as well...especially when it's had an entire night to find a new person. It did not help that my flight home was delayed an hour too.

Of course, I tweeted my displeasure to the airline, not in an angry manner...but just that I was frustrated, and I got a number of uncoordinated, unhelpful responses from different members of their Twitter team. It was not until I pointed out that they weren't helping me, but rather wasting my time again, that they directed me to a complaints department.

In the end, they gave me a measly 5,000 miles, which I would have complained about, but I didn't even know that I had a miles account with that airline beforehand, and it turned out that I have enough for 2 roundtrip tickets, so I saw that as a win overall.

Will I not fly that airline again because the delay cost me a few hundred in billable time and their compensation equates to, what, maybe $50? No, I will. Really, I just wanted them to acknowledge my frustration, but next time, I hope they plan a little better and raise the level of coordination on their Twitter team so that it only takes 1-2 @ replies to address the issue and not 20.

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