I’ve spent the last few weeks traveling hither and thither – very nice. Some of which included various airlines and included an old favourite of mine British Airways. Now for many years if I had a choice of carrier to my destination then BA was no 1. That changed last year when it all went wrong.
The first issue was arriving at the check in desk and when it opened being told the plane was full. Several discussions ensued (I won’t bore you with them), during in which time I met the most senior person they had there. He kindly explained that because they over book every flight if you want to know you can fly then check in on-line (lesson number one). Anyway as the gate was closing there was a stroke of luck and I got to fly. On arriving back in the UK I went to get my luggage – but it wasn’t there. No problems they said, this happens all the time, here’s a form and it should be with you in 48 hrs. During the 4-5 weeks my luggage was elsewhere I made many phone calls, and as it contained about 80% of my work wardrobe and I travel a bit, not having it was frustrating to say the least. Now here’s the bit where after it’s all gone wrong you can make an impression that tells your client whether they can rely on you in the future. In this case because my luggage was lost and I was home very few people seemed to be bothered. Only one person seemed to comprehend that I hadn’t lost a pair of shorts and a bikini, the rest did think it was fine to turn up at business meetings in my jeans and explain to the client why I wasn’t more appropriately attired. My determination to get my luggage back meant I spoke to several people, after about a week the common message was "it’s probably lost but we can only declare it so after 3 months". So I set about replacing my clothes (and still calling them to find out if my suitcase had turned up).
Was I chuffed to little mint balls when it turned up – you bet and thank you to whoever had the dogged determination to find my case. I did write and ask for a contribution to the clothes I’d had to purchase to fill the gap in between. They wrote back and said tough but we do hope you’ll fly with us again. I have but they’re no longer my No 1 choice and there are 2 conditions before I do so – 1) I have access to the internet and can check in on-line 24 hours beforehand. 2) It’s hand luggage only. So far it’s all going well 🙂
So when it all goes wrong, as it sometimes does, what are you, your brand and your staff saying to your client. Can they rely on you as much in a crisis as when everything is absolutely fine?