This is the first of a series of blog posts, in which thought leaders in the hospitality industry will share their thoughts, ideas or a personal story that is strongly linked to the industry. Sometimes personal experiences can give you the best (new) insights into industry-related topics, and prove to be excellent examples of how you would like things to happen within your work environment as well. Together with these blog posts we will also start developing interviews with industry experts, in the shape of blog posts, vlogs and podcasts.
We start off with a personal experience of HSMAI Region Europe’s President & CEO Ingunn Hofseth
British Airways’ ground crew’s excellent Customer Service
You can probably all imagine how annoying it can be when you reach the airport gate and find out that your flight is overbooked. This is exactly what happened to me, en route to Budapest from London Heathrow Airport. But, it had a very happy ending thanks to British Airways’ excellent customer service.
I always try to travel economy class but as a holder of a Star Alliance’s Diamond card they always take very good care of me. I hadn’t travelled with BA for a while, but this time I had booked an economy class ticket to Budapest from Heathrow London, with no BA loyalty or mileage card. I got up at five o’clock in the morning, to reach my nine o’clock flight. Upon arrival at the gate I learned that my flight was overbooked and I was now rebooked on a flight set to leave London Heathrow at 2:30 PM. It was unfortunate, but I did not make a big deal of it and remained calm.
What happened next however impressed me deeply. I was taken to a back office where I received, in an exemplary way, a detailed explanation for the delay. “We are truly sorry but will try to compensate you the best way we know how to ” said the BA representative. They offered me:
– An upgrade including full access to the BA lounge with all facilities at my disposal.
– A substantial refund in the shape of a card for use in the airport’s shops, which could be converted into a prepaid VISA card that lasts for a few months.
What impressed me the most, though, was the genuine personal service. With service like that you’re almost happy you lost the flight and it only goes to show that British Airways really values the importance of good customer service. Whereas some of us become a little defensive in the face of criticism, at BA they see it as a competitive edge and a means of improvement and it says a lot about the company culture.
We could all learn a lesson from that, I think, in realising how important customer service is. With all of this in mind you may be happy to learn that HSMAI Region Europe have developed a new programme; the ECC Programme.
Our programme, Excelling at Customer Centricity, is an Executive Coach Certification with the aim for participants to become enablers of a culture of customer centric excellence.
The first certification workshop took place in London in September this year (2019). The programme got great feedback and St James Court was a perfect kick-off venue for the programme. See here
The next certification workshop will take place on December 4th – 6th, at the wonderful hotel The Thief Hotel in Oslo
To British Airway’s Jacqueline Jolly and Sharon Fernandez – and all of your colleagues at Heathrow: Thank you so much for an inspiring experience!
I wish you all a lovely day!
President & CEO
HSMAI Region Europe