It’s late and I’m tired, but even worse I am frustrated beyond belief because I have just gone through one incredibly bad customer service experience and I am still going through it as I write tonight’s blog. I spent several hours tonight online booking airline tickets with Delta. I have been a faithful Delta Airlines customer now over 20+ years. I used them for my entire company to book all of our employees flights and I use them for all of my family flights. I have more flown miles on Delta Airlines than I care to even think about. I am what you would call an incredibly loyal customer for them. Even when another airlines has cheaper rates I still fly Delta because I have always used them.
Tonight I began trying to book flights for a family trip several hours ago. I first researched the prices of the flights and figured out the best time options and the best rate. Then I went to book them. As I booked them I assumed the rate on the website was the same as when I looked them up like two minutes before, but as soon as I got my receipts it showed a substantially higher charge then the one I had selected?! So I went back onto the website and sure enough the same lower fare I thought I had selected when I booked the tickets moments before! What the !?!? So I immediately called Delta to tell the customer service agent that I need them to either fix it with a credit back to me or I wanted then to cancel my five tickets and rebook them at the correct lower fare. I spent close to an hour with a Delta agent whose accent was nearly impossible to understand, but because I wanted to be kind I kept explaining the situation to the agent and I even offered to send a screenshot of my computer that was currently up that proved that in fact the rate I could book for right this minute was lower than what they charged me before I placed the support call. The agent kept putting me on hold for massive spans of time and then would come back and say she couldn’t help me because the rate was now higher. I explained that the website was literally showing the lower fare as we spoke but she just kept fighting me on it. I then said that I wanted her to cancel the flights and I would simply rebook myself them right now at the lower rate WHICH WAS ON MY COMPUTER SCREEN AS I WAS TALKING! (can you sense the frustration yet??) The agent said that she could cancel them but then I wouldn’t be able to rebook for 48 hours until the miles on my account could be credited back into my account, which meant I would likely lose my seats all together. I literally couldn’t take it anymore and I asked very politely for the representative to get me a supervisor to talk to. She said I would have to hold again and then immediately she hung up on me. Are you kidding me?!?!? I dialed the support line back again and after holding forever and listening to elevator music a new agent with yet another accent I could barely understand answered the phone and I asked to be given to a supervisor to talk to. The agent got angry with me and he demanded to know why I need a supervisor and wouldn’t just talk to him. I explained that I had already spent an hour on the phone and I didn’t want to walk through it all twice so to please just transfer me. Again the agent pushed back on me. At that point I literally demanded to be given a supervisor….finally I was transferred. When I got heard the supervisor answer and I could understand what they were saying I literally wanted to hug the person on the other end of the phone. I once again walked through my entire situation I had been dealing with and this supervisor seemed to be far more professional. She could see that the system had overcharged me and she said she would help fix it and credit back my account. We walked through each overcharge on all five tickets together and got the totals that needed to be credited figured out – I thought we were finally almost done with it until she said, “sorry I need to put you on hold so I can get someone from ticketing to help us credit back your account.” And now I have sat on hold for another 20 minutes just waiting for her to come back on the line….It is 12:20am and I just want to go to bed but guess what? I can’t because I am still holding on the phone praying I don’t get hung up on or transferred to yet another agent where I will have to start this process all over again….And all I can do is ask myself – why have I been so loyal to an airline who isn’t at all loyal to me??? 20+ years of flying Delta and this is the best customer service available?? Wait she is coming back on the line. She just told me that she was able to credit two of the five tickets but she had to cancel the other three and I will have to go to their website and rebook those three tickets all over again…but then i was put back on hold…she came back on to let me know that my seats may be gone now because someone else may have grabbed them while she was cancelling them for me to go rebook them. I was blown away…this was the solution – for me to start all over again…it is now 12:57am and I just finished rebooking the three flights she had to cancel because apparently her website doesn’t show what the delta.com website shows to me so she couldn’t do it for me. Keep in mind this is the supervisor I am getting helped by? I don’t have any words….
Having been a CEO for so many years it makes everything in me want to pick up the phone and call Delta’s CEO and say, “Do you have any idea how badly your company is doing on customer service? And do you care!?” The impact of one truly bad customer service experience such as the nightmare one I had over the last several hours is tremendous. Because not only did I have a horrendous experience, but I am now sharing that experience with all of you and some of you will likely re-share the experience with people you know and so on and so on….The negative impact to Delta is bigger by far than the effort it would have taken them to simply fix their mistake.
The only thing I can say is the words of Donald Porter, “Customers don’t expect companies to be perfect. But they do expect them to fix things when they go wrong.”
~Amy Rees Anderson