MY FAMILY’S FRUSTRATING MULTICHANNEL EXPERIENCE
I understand that contact centers attempt to provide multiple channels, like chat but also email, social, and video, so that their customers or potential customers can contact them with questions.
But are all contact channels equal?
A few years ago, my dad wanted to buy airline tickets for a trip he had a few months away, but he didn’t want to make his bookings through the airline’s website. Instead, he wanted to know if he could pay for his round trip ticket at the airline’s airport counter.
Being the technology-savvy one in the family, I was drafted by my mum to assist dad with his ticket purchase.
I went to the airline’s website and tried to perform a search using their search bar, but the pages that came up were not relevant to what we wanted.
This message box followed me through the website on every page, asking if I needed any help. It looked friendly and seemed like it had the desire to help.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a one-way ticket through a house of horrors.
I asked my question, as the chatbot requested, and it provided me with three links with snippets of content. I started to feel that I had reached my destination and I could help dad with his ticket purchase. But the content was irrelevant as I read through the pages.
So, I tried again, another three links, and still nothing. I spent over 30 minutes searching through information with no end in sight.
Ahhh, the frustration!
Like any other person in the same predicament, I was faced with deciding what to do next. I had two options - call customer service or send them an email.
I chose to call customer support and was stuck listening to elevator music for 10 minutes, at which point I decided to send an email, to which I received a response after two days about what I needed.
The message stated that we could purchase tickets at the airport, so we decided to hop in the car and drive to the airport to buy dad’s tickets.
But when we get to the airline’s counter the staff said they don’t let customers make ticket purchases. I thought to myself, the nightmare continues.
So, after showing them the message on my phone and after the counter staff made a few calls, my dad bought his tickets. I was happy that they didn’t turn us away and could make an exception.
In terms of the customer experience, I felt that the experience using the various channels of contact was quite irritating. After exhausting the multiple channels available, we ended up with the wrong information.
If we had been turned away at the airline’s counter, we would have boycotted the airline and placed it on the family no-fly list. However, the counter staff did come through, and we are thankful for that fact.
I like to give the company the benefit of the doubt and say that they placed these different contact channels for us to receive an answer to our inquiry to reduce the strain on their customer service team.
However, the channels were in place but not helpful, which could lead customers and potential customers packing off to their competitors.
If not that, at least marinating customers in their frustration and ready to unleash their irritations when they speak to a real person, such as the customer service staff.