Tag Archives: customer service

In Praise of Lynne – An Open Letter To US Airways

Dear US Airways,

We need to talk about your customer service.

I lost something on one of your flights two weeks ago. Trying to report it, never mind find out if it was found has been a torturous process that has left me in tears no less than three times.

Your phone system repeatedly routed me the wrong way, you don’t have a ‘lost and found’ number, and you ignore emails to your customer relations box even though you promise a response in 3-4 business days.

The ‘something’ I lost is not even important, but dealing with you has made me cry tears of frustration and rage three times. And I’m a grown woman.

Today I called a central number, looking for someone to rant to.

I got Lynne in Reno, Nevada.

I don’t know who Lynne is, or what her job is in your organization. I’m guessing she’s not Head of Customer Relations or earning an executive salary. But she should be. Because Lynne made all the difference in whether or not I fly with you again, and how I talk about your organization to my friends, colleagues and clients.

I called up at the end of my tether, unable to get an answer to my question. I was mostly just frustrated and I knew I had the wrong person. She couldn’t transfer me to anyone because the corporate structure of US Airways makes sure that there is no-one whose job it is to listen to unhappy customers.

But Lynne, after telling me she couldn’t transfer me to anyone, said two words that made all the difference.

She said,

“I’ll listen.”

She didn’t even promise to help, but that simple phrase made me cry.

And then, after she had listened, she did what I had wanted someone to do all along: she looked into my problem.

She didn’t read from a script; she explained how your lost and found system works; she looked through a detailed list of things found on my flight and she gave me another number to try.

Why did it take two weeks, tears, and a call to a random number before I stumbled on someone willing and able to do these simple, human things?

Learning The Lessons Of Lynne

USAirways Executives, I beg you, If you can clone Lynn, please do. If you can reward Lynn, please do.

If you can get Lynn to talk to your management about how she does what she does, every last VP should sit cross-legged on the floor at her feet and listen to her.

Lynn makes the difference between me wanting to fly with you again, and not. Lynn knows how to deal with people.

But I’ve worked in customer service and I know how call-centers work. I know about efficiency and call times and response times and drop rates and consistency of message. But you know what you do, when you hire people for pennies and force them to go through scripts? You force them to be consistent in pissing off your customers.

Please work on empowering all your staff to be like Lynn.

I’ll wait longer on hold to talk to someone like Lynn: Employ fewer people; pay, treat and train them better; and give them the power to take the time to delight your customers.

Being listened to. Being treated with natural, human reactions. That’s all I wanted. Is that too much for your business to bear? Because if it is, you will continue to lose money and customers and you will fail.

Instead, be like Lynne.

PS And by the way, Lynne, in Reno? Give her a nice bonus, eh?