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I recently had a wonderful customer service experience with an outsourced Expedia CSR. Clem in the Philipines was warm, polite, helpful and eager to please me, unlike my experience with U.S.-based, US Airways CSR's the day before. I was not a happy camper.


Now, how did I realize that Clem wasn't located in the U.S. or Canada? The way he said Buffalo gave him away. It sounded almost like, "Boofalo." He chuckled when I told him how I knew. Now he knows how to pronounce it.
Dealing with US Airways personnel wouldn't have been that bad had the following not occured:
- After 15 minutes with the first rep (Ann), she accidentally cut me off. Back to square one.
- I spent about 30 minutes with John, explaining the story again. He was a pleasant fellow who apologized for my being cut off with Ann. Yet, when it was time to transfer me to his supervisor, Laura, he said he wouldn't cut me off. But he did.
- Back to dialing again. Tell the story one more time. Now I'm getting annoyed. I immediately ask the rep for her supervisor. I can't tell this story one more time only to be bumped up to someone else. After getting a supervisor (Jane) on the phone, I explain my dilemma. She can only waive the change fee so I ask for her supervisor. She said she'd transfer me to Yvonne, but warned me that Yvonne would be saying the same thing. Lovely. In other words - don't waste your time.
- Yvonne says the same thing, interrupts my sentences, shows no empathy for my situation, and tells me I'll have to pay the change fee regardless of what Jane told me. I am now pissed.
Because US Airways changed my return departure time by over three hours without notifying me, I have the right to a full refund. The next day I ask for my money back for myself and my husband. Then I go online to Expedia.com. While entering my frequent flyer numbers, I get confused why there's a drop-down menu of other airlines. Does this mean that I can credit any airline of my choosing, not just the one I'm traveling on?
I call the toll-free number and get Clem in the Philipines. He clarifies the frequent flyer issue and offers to help me make my entire reservation on the phone without any additional fee. I let him check on my rental car, too. Clem actually apologizes when he has to put me on hold. He thanks me for calling Expedia. He tells me about Expedia's new "Thank You" program and tells me where I can register. Clem is HAPPY to serve me.
Until North American customer service improves, I'll take Clem any day. How can we complain about outsourcing when many overseas reps are doing a better job?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel