Monday, July 5, 2010

Customer Service, Please!

Before my college graduation, Daniel and I drove to Washington, DC to pick up my mom. Everything was going well until my mom informed me that something happened to her luggage and that we need to ask customer service what to do. We were informed that my mom’s bags were put on the next flight, which would arrive to DC in 4-5 hours. Since we had 7-8 hour drive ahead of us, customer service rep told us that we can spend the night at a near by hotel and our bags would be delivered to us. The best part was that the airlines would reimburse us for the hotel.

As you know the cheapest hotel in Washington, DC near the airport is over $150 dollars but I didn’t stress about it since I was going to get my money back. Well….I should have known better. After submitting my receipt to the airline customer service office, I received a letter letting me know that my reimbursement was denied. I received this letter right before leaving for Kenya so I didn’t have time to argue my case.

Learning a valuable lesson I now document EVERTHING!!! When I talk to customer service rep I always write down their full name, their promises; time of our conversation and sometimes I even write down the length of our conversation. And let me tell you my organized habit have saved me many times.

During my mom’s horrible travel experience this past Christmas I have submitted 4 page complaint letter to airlines explaining our situation and listing the names of people who were involved along with dates and times. I saved all the documents in a three-ring binder that was filled with clear plastic sleeves. As a result of very long and drawn out process with airlines my mom’s cell phone bill was paid and we received $400 dollars voucher to use on her next travel. Was it worth it to take my time to document every little detail and follow up on my complaint? I think so. It is not for the sake of getting something in return that I write every little detail of my communication with customer service reps down. But when my rights as a customer are violated I want to let a company know that in case they want to keep my business. And the best way to support your case, I learned, is by providing detailed information.

You may think that I am completely nuts, but you never know when you may be in my situation. I suggest that you invest several dollars in a binder and fill it up with plastic sleeves. You can use the book not only for documenting details of your conversation with customer service, but also for storing warranties and instruction booklets that may come handy down the road.

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