Managing customers during a crisis

Crisis

Sep 29th, 2005( i.e. today) in India is a pretty difficult day for a business traveller. There is a strike by the employees’ union at all airports across India. Millions of passengers will be left stranded at the airports due to this strike. I have been travelling for the last 2 days and am really surprised how companies handle their customers during such a crisis.  It is obviously a huge inconvenience for customers and this is the time a customer differentiates the men from the boys.

I requested my travel agent Carlson Wagonlit 2 days back to check if is advisable to travel at all when I was booking my tickets. I had no answer from them. They were unsure of the status and gave me no information whatsoever to help me take a decision. They did the booking just like any other day and left me dissatisfied. I had to reschedule my travel plan based on the information I had in hand. The airline, Jet Airways, too did not do anything. They knew I was travelling on the 28 & 29th and I am yet to receive any kind of information. I was boarding their flight  yesterday night( 28th), just a hour or two away from the strike and they had nothing to share or help from their end.  The questions obviously in every passenger’s mind was – Should I travel or not travel? I felt let down by Jet Airways too.

I reached the Intercontinental Hotel in Delhi and checked-in late last night.  At the time of check-in, they have me a letter from the general manager on the proposed strike and how they expect disruptions in air traffic etc. They suggested that I might want to re-evalute my departure and informed me that they can assist me on this. Thoughtfully done, I felt, when they gave me this letter. All  that was needed was just a letter!

I might not take the hotel’s help but this customer experience told me a lot about the hotel and how they really care for their customers vis-a-vis my airline and travel agent.

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