The travel industry has changed significantly in the post-911 world. Many travellers notice that where there is an increase in restrictions and security, a decrease in customer service and amenities has gone hand-in-hand. While I do not work in the travel industry or even travel extensively, I have had a few nasty experiences in the last 2 years that have caused me to complain and seek redress. With patience and a few practical tips, I have found that anyone can effectively complain and receive compensation from the travel industry.
Recently while staying at a 4.5 star hotel, I noticed a thick layer of dust surrounding the stationary furniture (like the nightstands and mini-bar fridge). Clearly, the cleaning staff had hoovered daily but their vacuums did not reach the areas concerned. I took pictures with my cell phone and emailed them to customer service upon returning home. Not only did I receive enough points on my loyalty card for a free stay, my complaint initiated an in-house review of cleaning practises and the staff was subsequently supplied with better vacuums with accessories that could reach into all the nooks and crannies.
This year we needed to rent a small SUV for a one-way trip from Memphis to Nashville. A one-way charge is included in your daily rate, making our daily charge an astronomical $125.00 for two days. When we decided to keep the vehicle for an extra day in Nashville, we followed all the procedures on-line to extend our rental. The rental agency insisted that they had to charge us $125 for the extra day, even though the one-way charge had already been covered in our first two day’s rental. It took several hours on the phone, many emails and over 3 months to get satisfaction – instead of being charged $125 for the 3rd day, we were charged the standard in town rate of $46.50.
On a flight out of LAX, my son and travelling companion (both have disabilities) met with an obviously burned out and rude flight attendant who refused to assist in re-seating us (we were placed in the dreaded last row before the washrooms, in the non-reclining seats) and in stowing our medical equipment. When we complained (politely, might I ad), she stated that a gate attendant would be coming to assist us. Instead, she had called security, who threatened to escort us off the plane if we “caused any more trouble”. We were terrified. I complained on-line when we returned home, and within three weeks we had a six-page apology, three one-hundred dollar credits and a promise that a performance review was being held for that particular employee.
Here’s a few tips I found have been useful in achieving results when complaining to the travel industry:
*Research the carrier or company’s Passengers’ Bill of Rights or “conditions of carriage”. It lays out the minimum standards a traveller should expect and what recourse can be taken when these conditions are not met.
*When travelling, always keep copies of all tickets, discount coupons, reservation codes. Never discard your original ticket stubs for flights or cruises and only send in copies if requested.
*When speaking on the phone with customer service, always record the date and time of your call, as well as the correct spelling and title of the person you spoke with.
* provide specifics such as time, date, flight number, etc (that’s where keeping your ticket stubs comes in handy)
*Whenever possible, use email for your complaints process as this gives you a permanent record that can be used if a complaints escalation is required. It usually eliminates the possibility that your complaint might be met with a rude or dismissive customer service rep.
*Always state your case as politely as possible. Use emotionally-charged words in a calm, firm voice.
*Know what you want to achieve and be realistic about it. What do you hope to achieve? A full refund, a credit, extra loyalty points/rewards? You can’t expect a full-refund or free flight as compensation for a rude staff member.
* Conversely, make it clear that they have something to lose -you would like to remain a loyal customer and be able to refer them to family and friends. Mention that you are frequent contributor to internet travel forum reviews.
* Always ask to speak with the supervisor if dissatisfied with the first response. If still dissatisfied, ask to speak to the supervisor’s supervisor.
* Be patient. Allow a reasonable amount of time for your concerns to be met. My general rule of thumb is to wait 2 weeks for a response via email, or a month via regular mail.
* If need be, research the CEO of the company and how to contact them directly should you find your complaint is getting nowhere. I did this once with a cruise line complaint and ended up with a free cabin upgrade.
* Take the time to practise what you preach – contact customer service and compliment any extraordinary service you receive.
Though you may feel that complaining to the travel industry is like facing a Goliath, remember – they still ultimately want your repeat business, good reviews and referrals. Other than a bit of time, if you have a complaint that you feel is legitimate, go for it. What have you got to lose?
Article Source: EzineArticles.com/expert/Susan_Bee/683164