EasyJet is my least favourite airline.
I make no apologies for beginning my blog this way. In fact that sentence is a polite understatement. EasyJet is rude, unhelpful, egocentric and seem to do what they want when they want, in my not so humble opinion.
Customer service the gap between intent and delivery is often massive.
This is very different from how we expect customer service to be. I always thought companies were doing their best to give us what we want when we want it in these very precious ‘micro moments’. These moments are intent rich and oh so valuable. When I purchase a plane ticket I am actually expecting to fly on that date at that time Click To Tweet. That’s why I booked it, obviously. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I understand when poor weather conditions or even staff strikes delay me. However, let me tell you a story of how EasyJet operates and how buying a ticket doesn’t necessarily mean there’s room on the plane for you or your luggage.
Treat your customers with contempt, why don’t you?
I travelled to Portugal with EasyJet a few weeks ago. I was treated with what could only be described as contempt by staff in the airport. I had committed the heinous crime of bringing a handbag alongside my regulation hand luggage. OMG! You would have thought, judging by their reaction but I brought Semtex with me. As a consequence I was one of the last to board and they told me my hand luggage would have to go in the hold. My hand luggage held my laptop, IPad, Phone, Credit cards other important belongings because I cannot have a small bag with me for valuables. I was not happy to do this as a colleague had done the same only to find his bag containing everything precious, did not arrive with him.
Just fill in a customer survey will you?
After my complaint, #EasyJet sent me a survey; I dutifully filled it in and heard nothing, so what's the point? Click To Tweet. This is just the precursor to the next more profound Easyjet story.
Once upon a time friends of my son had spent seven months preparing his ‘Stag Do’ in Portugal. Much excitement erupted over Facebook as the four-day trip approached. It was quite a large party that had booked well in advance and everything appeared to be arranged after some mammoth preparations.
You can just imagine the high spirits as they waited to board the plane. Alas, it was not to be. In their wisdom and with a profound sense of customer service #Easyjet bumped my son and some of his companions off the flight Click To Tweet. The reason? They had changed the size of the plane and there was not enough room. At the 11th hour one person did not make the flight and so my son had the opportunity to begin his own stag do. Friends were left behind and soon realised the next flight would be in 48 hours time.
Warning: Long Facebook post about rubbish airlines but great humans.
So for anyone that didn’t know, myself, x and x and x took a trip to Portugal last Wednesday for DN’s stag do that we spent the last 7 months organising.
Oh no, you must be kidding!
We booked flights with easyJet and were incredibly surprised when we reached the departure gate only to be asked to wait at one side until the rest of the passengers had boarded. “Why do we need to wait?” we asked. “Because the plane has been downsized to a smaller aircraft and we need to check that there is room for you”.
……as it transpired, there wasn’t room for us, nor was there room for another 7 passengers because easyJet had opted to let more people book and check in then there was seats on the plane. Fortunately we were able to get DN onboard because let’s face it…..it would have been pretty crap if he hadn’t attended his own stag.
It’s ok we’ll just organise the stag do, we don’t need to actually go on it!
They suggested that they would get us on the next available flight….two days later on Friday. This would mean that we’d miss approximately 50% of the stag do that we’d organised. We then spent two hours being marched from pillar to post with no one taking responsibility (or apologising) #Easyjet Click To Tweet and queuing at customer services only to be given a leaflet and told to ring the number on it. FYI they still haven’t responded to my email and had the guts to send me a survey asking how my flight was!
Anyway……this is where our story begins.
While going through this palava, we got chatting to a Portuguese chap called Denis who was stuck in the same boat as us…..however he had a plan. The plan was to fly from Gatwick to Santiago (Spain) from here he had contacted his friend Jose who lived near Porto who was willing to drive 250km from Portugal to Spain AND back again at an hour’s notice through the middle of the night. We were welcomed to join and share the petrol costs…we hoped that Denis was not a kidnapper.
The comfort of strangers
From here Denis offered to feed us, put us up for the night and then sort us out with a train or coach the next day despite not really knowing us. After a little wait at Santiago airport (which totally closes down at midnight should you ever decide to stop over there) José managed to find us and arrived with food and water. He and Denis then drove through the night stopping when we needed to and even picking me up some menthol sweets for an ungodly cough which I was packing.
We had just met Superman!
We finally arrived in Porto at 7:00am where we opted to go straight to the train station to catch a train to Lisbon. Denis and José took us to the station, checked we had the right tickets, wrote down a list of recommendations and gave us their numbers should we need any help with anything at all. At this point José also revealed that he had class of school children to take on a trip at 8:30 and that he had to cook over 200 pizzas.
if you’re still reading this post, the moral of the story is that you should ALWAYS check in as early as possible on budget airlines (the reason we were bumped is we were some of the last people to check in) but more importantly that human beings can be absolutely amazing. Denis and José didn’t know us and didn’t have to help us but went above and beyond to make sure that three total strangers who had been screwed over by easyJet got to where they needed to go.
From myself and my companions thanks guys, you were amazing and totally restored our faith in mankind. The beers are on us next time we’re in Porto!
At this point we can only think a most charming Portuguese man for rescuing the party so admirably. The lads received the ultimate ‘customer service’ if you like, from a complete stranger who wanted nothing in return.
The lads have yet to receive their money back at the time and explanations, apologies, help, consideration, recompense and solutions were missing from easyJet.
The thing is a company like #EasyJet needs to understand the relationship with the customer begins when the ticket is purchased. Click To Tweet EasyJet became an integral parts of a life event. Whether they like it or not they are part of what we do and can have a profound effect on how we do it.
There is no point in bombarding customers with surveys if you do not value the opinions given to you. EasyJet may well have had a good few years that they are now my last choice of carrier for so many reasons. For Easyjet to stand any chance of improving they need to connect these moments and underpin them with comprehensive data and analytics. It’s only by doing this can they ensure every single member of their team on the ground or in the air ensures that customer experiences are the best they can be. Using data for a product-centric approach and as an opportunity to simply generate value for the company alone is outrageous.
This story is ironic really because once upon a time data and the air industry was really cutting edge. They were able to use the information gleaned and offer loyalty programmes etc. to frequent fliers and great pricing. But what has happened since then? Very little by the looks of it.
If Easyjet or any one of the low cost carriers want to keep their business and grow it they need to offer real value for their clients. If we all just carry hand luggage then make sure there’s room in the cabin. Establish a competitive edge rather than making us pay more for things we shouldn’t have to pay for ‘like speedy boarding’ That means if you have the money to pay more you get treated well. Does that sit right? What do you think?
If Easyjet and other can do it well then they can generate more loyalty and first class customer service. Is that too much to ask? Guess how many people won’t be flying Easyjet in future?
Tags: customer experience, customer service