Problematic online bookings

A very useful article in the Chicago Tribune gives pointers to customers who have problems with their online bookings. As everyone knows, using a telephone to call customer service in the US today (regardless of the industry) is a daunting challenge, demanding saintly patience and yogic control. It seems only banks & financial products provide the kind of prompt-resolve-done in 2 mins tel customer service that makes calling more efficient than emailing or chatting. The Internet has made phone service a “luxury” that customers should avoid having to use. How often have you heard “the wait time for the next customer representative is 15 mins!! ” Occasionally, a sleepy, confused voice greets you – We are currently closed. Can you call back during business hours?!

The article highlights the customer service policies of major travel companies and is actually a handy reckoner for frequent travelers (print out and keep!)

Problem resolution is an essential part of a great website experience. A traveler who’s had a good booking experience but a lousy hotel stay or flight experience is unlikely to return. Travel sites using email and chat (and shying away from phone service) should set standards for response time – all queries answered in less than 24 hours 7 days a week. Do you offer telephone customer service? Keep wait times to 5 mins or less; hire customer reps who are speedy and enthusiastic over the phone and ensure efficient follow-up. Too much to ask? If you offer telephone customer service, it had better be outstanding! Take a tip from the banks!

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.