This is an age of technology that I’m not in love with. I don’t ever remember being asked by the companies I normally do business with if I could give up my time to solve their problems. I don’t remember being asked to be the “glitch finder” and I certainly don’t remember ever getting a paycheck for it.
These days though, I’m finding myself spending a lot of my valuable time pointing out technical issues with other people’s websites and systems. Today has been one of the worst days. I started this morning trying to change a flight I have for an upcoming trip to the USA. It’s a domestic flight in the USA so I went to the company’s website to change my ticket. ACCESS DENIED. This is the message that I’ve been getting for weeks. I called the airline to question the issue and the representative explained how I obviously have an issue with my 5 computers and 4 different browsers I used trying to access their site from outside the USA. It isn’t their problem. She can access their site just fine. She referred me to customer relations officers who, aren’t in the office yet, of course. Meanwhile, I Google my error message and the airline name and find HUNDREDS of entries of people with similar problems in countries outside the USA. I have a ticket on this airline and even the links from my actual e-ticket don’t allow me access. Tonight I will be spending at least an hour on the phone with this airline telling them about how blocking people from your website isn’t really part of “customer relations.” Nor is it nice to keep your call center staff in the dark about the issue (when it’s all over the internet) and instead blame the issue on the customer who has already paid money.
Next, I switched my flight into the USA to a different day. A lot more glitches came up. There were glitches in the fares, the description of the fares and the order that they appeared. I’ve been flying this one airline for over a decade so I know which order their fares are displayed (lowest price to highest). Today, the lowest fare category was showing the 2nd highest price. The mid level fare was showing the highest and what should have been the most expensive fare was the lowest. It was all screwed up. And now I’ve spent the last few hours dealing with the airline and getting so angry at their insistence that their website isn’t flawed that I posted the fare issues all over social media. And once it’s on social media, everyone else who is having a problem comes out and speaks up. One lady was on the same airline’s website and had an economy ticket quote from Singapore to Dehli at S$20,000. Not a first class ticket. Not a business class ticket. Not even a premium economy ticket. Her economy ticket was going to cost her $20k. And there’s nothing wrong with their website. Yeah, right.
When did it become acceptable to make your customers work to do business with you?
I had a local restaurant send me an email promotion about “kids eat free.” I don’t have children so wasn’t very interested myself but I do have friends who would love the extra deal. I looked for the “share” button to share on social media. No share button. So, I went to their website so I could just copy and paste the URL of the promotion on to my social media accounts. No promotional information on the website. So, I went to their Facebook page to share the promotion and yet, no information about the promotion at all. Why am I working so hard to give this company business? Why isn’t the company making it easier for me to be a fan?
When you start driving your customers to drink, there’s something wrong with your standard operating procedures. When you stop listening to your customers and continue to blame them for their lack of technical savvy, something has gone awry. I told the airline representative that their issues were being spread all over social media and she calmly states, “I’ll report that to the relative department” in a tone that suggests, “I don’t care who talks about us on social media or what they say.”
I’m waiting for the customer coup. I’m waiting for the point where we all say, “Stop giving us your BETA version of everything and start hiring staff to fix your problems.” When will we say, enough is enough?
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