Customer Experience, Australia Day and Chinese New Year

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Today i received a call from Southall Travel who i used to book the flights for my family holiday to Australia, my first thought was why are they phoning me, but to my surprise i received some excellent customer service.

The lady on the phone asked me to confirm my details by stating what she knew about me and the details of the flights i had booked and then said there is a slight change to the return flight. She informed me that our connecting flight in Hong Kong was now delayed by 35 minutes. I chuckled to myself as i thought wow, they have phoned me to tell me that one of my flights has been changed and is now 35 minutes later, to be honest 35 minutes is nothing and i mentioned that we will be in the airport anyway so are unlikely to notice such a changed but thanked her for taking the time to call me. She then said that she would send me a new itinerary and that i should print these out. Within 2 minutes of putting the phone down the new details arrived in my inbox.

I came away from that experience thinking what excellent customer service and even though the flight information had changed by 35 minutes and it doesn’t really impact us, it could impact a wide range of other people and i valued the fact that they are aware of our details and that they have a policy to contact and communicate with their customers of teh slightest delay or changes in the original booking.

This got me thinking to some of the key lessons the public service could learn regarding simple customer service.  I have often been on the receiving end of projects, bookings and other transactions that have not bothered to contact me once the original transaction has been completed.  The fact that this simple experience which was only a phone call to ensure that i was kept informed and was then sent new updated information is not rocket science but just common sense.

On a separate note and perhaps a coincidence, it is also Australia Day today so even the though our weather isn’t that good at the moment take the time to overcook meats on semi hygienic BBQ’s, laugh at English Cricket and down a few cold ones.

On an international note it is also worth noting that today is also Chinese New Year and we are now in the year of the Ox. You can find what your year is here.

To celebrate both, i will have a chinese stir fry with an australian cold beer. I refuse to laugh about English sports…why? well everyone else does…

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