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!