Customer Service, Service design

Don’t follow the flying kangaroo with your own customer service

customer serviceI recently had a concern with Qantas following a flight from Melbourne to Sydney and thought I would share my thoughts through their website. I decided to visit their website instead of calling them, as the last time I called them to book a flight, I was on hold for an hour.

Here’s the automatic email I received back:

“Thank you for taking the time to submit your comments to Qantas.

We aim to respond to your feedback and make contact within the next 15 working days where possible.

If your matter is urgent or involves your current travel plans, please call 13 13 13* and one of our Telephone Sales Consultants will be happy to assist you. For contact details outside Australia please visit qantas.com

Kind regards

Qantas Customer Care

Note: Please do not respond to this email as this is an “outgoing only” service that does not accept incoming messages.

*Within Australia only.”

As a client centric services marketer I was really surprised by this reply.

  • Up to 15 working days for a reply, where possible
  • Call us if you need urgent help
  • Don’t reply to this email

How many of your clients would be satisfied with this level of customer service?

Not many I expect, and rightly so.

Being responsive, regardless of which communication method a client chooses to use is imperative if you care about providing good client service. 15 workings days (3 weeks) in todays fast past world doesn’t pass the responsive test. Would you be willing to wait 15 days for any business to get back to you? No, I wouldn’t either.

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2 Comments

  1. Peter: Couldn’t agree with you more. Unfortunately, Qantas is not alone in this. I encounter such responses almost every week. Perhaps, I can count with the fingers on one hand the number of businesses in Australia that are truly committed to customer service. Sad but true in my experience.

    The fundamental issue seems to be the relentless pursuit of (volume) growth without any consideration as to whether that growth can be sustained by an evolving business model. As a result, we destroy the very assets that deliver value to customers in the form of a superior experience.

    Airlines is no doubt a tough business to run with escalating costs and declining prices but the industry itself is to blame for one side of this spiralling effect.

  2. Gavin Lees

    I have to agree with the sentiments expressed in this article. As a semi-regular international traveller (ususally 3-4 times a year) I have stopped, whenever possible, from using Qantas due to their poor service. However, last year we had to fly to New Zealand and on to Rarotonga for a wedding (last September). The Qantas connection was the best one BUT. When we arrived at the airport we were advised the flight would be delayed about 30 minutes. Okay, delays happen but this delay went on for over three hours. Requests as to why the delay and when the flight would depart were met with sullen in difference and a number of different reasons. The one I like best was the ‘flight is delayed due to problems with an airbridge in Sydney that morning. This was given at 8pm in Melbourne! The ‘icing on the cake’ was when we found out that passengers who checked in after us were given meal vouchers. When we asked about meal vouchers we were told the plane was ready to leave so they couldn’t issue vouchers. An hour later we were still on the ground. I have written to Qantas commenting on our experiences but – some six months later am still waiting for a reply.

    May I also suggest reading an article by Dr Maxwell Winchester on Qantas and their lounges. It is available through ‘The Conversation’. Dr Winchester reinforces the idea that Qantas has decided to go for the business market at the expense of the average traveller. In reality it appears they have their business model wrong and are losing customers from all segments of the market.

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