So this week’s blog post comes with a recent experience. I booked a trip on Booking.com and made sure to make every reservation refundable as I knew my trip was subject to change. Sure enough, I ended up having to change one of my five reservations. Upon visiting the site, I was unable to cancel the reservation. When I contacted them, the reply was that it was non-refundable, but they would see what they could do.To make a long story short, after having to follow up several times over a month, and getting no real answer, I finally got the response that is summed up by “It is not our problem.”
To make a long story short, after having to follow up several times over a month, and getting no real answer, I finally got the response that is summed up by “It is not our problem.”
I have had to run my own customer service, manage customer service teams, and know the damage that can be done by a customer that is not taken care of. I had thousands of dollars in bookings on the site which were treated with a “Sorry for your frustration—good luck.” Here is where companies always seem to make a huge mistake.
Now if they were to get my trip refunded, let’s say it costs them the entire $800 for the reservation. Now, I don’t know their fees, but what will it cost them when I never book on their site again, and I make sure everyone I know stays away from their site?
You NEED to take care of your customer. There are times when you want to strangle the person on the other end of your emails. Complaints can seem unreasonable, refunds hurt, but nothing can hurt your company more than bad public relations. The moment you have people walking around talking about what a scam you are and not to trust your brand, you are losing WAY more money than a few customer issues here and there. Regardless of being motivated by profit, you need to look at the long-term effects on your company. Are you in this to see a big number this week, or this year?
This may be redundant to a lot of you. I once heard the number used in the restaurant industry is that for every one bad experience 205 people hear about it. Imagine that! And this was before social media and the power a voice has now. All it takes is one person with enough frustration to want to spread the word and it can crush even a large brand.
Above is a tweet promoted by an individual that was not compensated for lost luggage. He spent $1,000 to promote this tweet and it got the attention of the world. News stations, websites, bloggers, and influencers all spoke about him around the world.
Do you think British Airways should have just handled his situation and been done with it?
The power of your customer is larger than it has ever been. Everyone has a huge voice now and it is your job to make sure they do not use it against your brand, even if you may not feel they are always in the right.