What's happening to businesses?
Two weeks ago, I sent an email to a up-class luxury brand boutique by filling up their online form. Till now, there's still no reply from them.
This morning I emailed a company based on the email address listed on their website and it was returned to me undelivered. Another has three email addresses and all were not working. I've lost counts of websites with incorrect telephone number listed or links and forms that no longer work.
Just the other day, I was on the bus and noticed a bus fare chart dated 8 October 2011 but bus fare has changed for more than two months (6 April 2014). How long does it take the bus company to change it? Is two months too short? If they cannot change it in time, at least they could have removed it.
If you do not wish to reply by email or you have no staff to manage it, the easiest thing to do is not to put it. If you answer calls during office hours, indicate it. If you do not entertain calls, say so.
If you have an online form, make sure to check it's working.
Save you and your customers a lot of frustration.
Talking about airline services, one cannot help but marvel about the huge changes that we see in the airline industry in the last few years.
Low cost carriers have made cheap traveling possible. It has increased demand for air travel, airport facilities and its support services, tourism industry, hotel industry and so on.
Full-fledged airlines are now feeling the competition and have to innovate and change in response to competition.
We all know that low cost carriers only provide the bare minimum service, that is a seat on a plane from point A to point B. You've the option to add on services like extra legroom, check-in luggage, SMS notification, food, entertainment at additional charges.
A friend of mine flew with a budget airline for a trip to Bangkok. On his return trip, he only realized that the flight was cancelled when he reached the airport.
It seemed that the airline has sent an email informing affected passengers of the cancelled flight. He flew in rage as he claimed he did not receive any notification of the cancellation. There were another 7 to 9 persons on the same flight arriving at the airport without knowledge as well. The best thing they could do is to wait for the first flight the next morning. And there's no guarantee that there will be seats available if the flight is fully booked.
Now, when a budget airline cancel a flight, it does not put you on another flight at no extra charge. On top of the uncertainty of getting a seat, he has to pay for the one-way air ticket back. He also has the option to be put on priority queue by paying an additional charge.
"Day-light robbery," he exclaimed.
After adding the price of his promotional ticket price and the price of the one-way ticket back, he ended up paying about $500.
He spent one night sleeping at the airport and the next night in a hotel near the airport before finally being put on a flight back.
He was ranting how bad the service was and insisted he did not receive any email notification at all.
Two weeks after he was back, he posted on Facebook that he just received the email.
Another two days later, he finally realized that he indeed received the notification 3 days before his return flight but somehow it went into his junk mail.
So why did he receive the notification two weeks after he's back? Was there something wrong with the system?
What's more strange is why did the airline communicate with its passengers only through email?
I'm not sure about you but I do not check my email when I'm on a tour.
How about sending an email with a link for passengers to click to acknowledge they've received the notification? And sending an SMS to those who do not reply. After all, most of us will bring our phones along and are unlikely to miss it.