What Orbitz Taught Me About Customer Appreciation

Orbitz Customer ServiceSunday night I find myself on the phone and my mind begins to wander.  I have that luxury, because I’m on hold, listening repeatedly to a message that tells me how much my business is appreciated.  At this point, I’m in an apathetic state, so I’m resignedly thinking that if Orbitz really wanted to keep me as a customer, they would treat me much better.  See, I’d already spent an hour and a half of repeating a process most have been through.  It’s the loop that starts with dialing the number and listening to a message and selecting an option.  Then, you listen to another message, and wait to find the option that sounds the best fit.  Kindly, they allow you to say which option you prefer with a recorded message, but somehow the automated systems never seem to understand my version of English.  Not surprising considering when I actually am able to get ahold of a live person, I usually have difficulty understanding their version of English.

So after being routed through many different options and giving my name to a recording, I’m put on hold to talk to a live person.  Ten minutes later my ‘english speaking’ customer service person picks up, asks me to verify a dozen questions to ensure that I’m not an imposter.  (Apparently there must be an abundance of people that love frustration and have a lot of free time to pretend to be other people and book flights for them).  So, after verifying the middle name of my great grandfather’s milk maid, I’m cleared to actually talk to the department that can help me with my issue.  So, I’m put on hold and (pretend) transferred.  After 20 minutes of waiting and listening to how great they are and how much they like my business, I’m abruptly disconnected.  At this point, I find it ironic that they also had the recording repeatedly inform me that “To ensure superior service, this call may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.”  I’m almost certain that some sick employees go out of their way to get the customers fired up so they have entertaining recorded calls to listen to in the break room!  This entire process was repeated.  Twice!  The third time, I get wise and before being ‘transferred’ and subsequently disconnected, I request the number I’m being transferred to.

I call that department directly and after only 15 minutes I get ahold of an indifferent agent.  The good news is that I’ve resigned myself that Orbitz is going to be absolutely no help, so I’m no longer even angry.  I’m like a comatose zombie through their questioning process that ultimately leads the agent to tell me that I will not be receiving any credit at all for two round trip tickets that I was forced to cancel.  Using Orbitz was a $500 mistake that also cost me several hours of my time.

However, it was a good lesson for me and made me realize again why I go to the lengths I do for my customers.  A perfect contrast was the service opportunity I had earlier that morning.  I woke up at 7am and while having coffee before getting ready for church, I scanned my email, including my work email.  I had a frantic email that was sent by a customer late on Saturday night.  She had an urgent request to help out beyond what she felt my 24/7 customer service could do, so that she could ensure her terminal was operational for her busiest time of the week, Sunday brunch.  Immediately I was on the phone with her and had the issue resolved to the best of my ability before 8am on Sunday.  Although, I can’t do much about weather and phone lines, the fact that she knew she could count on me to call her on a Sunday morning and do everything I could for her tells her how much I appreciate her business.  Actions speak so much louder than words.

So I thank you, Orbitz, for reminding me why I go above and beyond expectations in servicing my customers.  They know they can count on me and that’s how I let them know they mean so much to me!  One of the most gratifying parts of my job is when my customers thank me.  I cherish the reviews my customers have written about me and you can see them right here.

Please post below if you have a story of your own about a company that has shown (or not shown) how much they appreciate your business.

Robert McBeath is a Certified Payment Professional and President of Cornerstone Business Solutions.  He has extensive experience offering merchant services and cash advances to business owners. Visit www.CornerstoneBusinessSolutions.net or call him at 888.979.4731.

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  1. Robert,
    Super post! Actions definitely do speak louder than words. Consumers are way too smart today to be suckered into recorded thank you’s while being placed on hold for several minutes followed up by a customer service rep who hates their job.
    This is a great reminder to me and all business owners. I will be doing a presentation this year about the difference between satisfied customers and loyal customers. Huge difference.

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