I follow “On the Spot” closely, but I don't concur with two things in Catharine Hamm’s article on customer service [“Calling Customer Service,” Aug.5].
I think Royal Caribbean was given too much of a free pass on this. These companies need to be publicly shamed and rebuked. When it hits their bottom line, this is one of the few things they understand.
As long as they continue to accrue revenue, they have no concern and no incentive to prevent poor customer service.
Second, know when to call it even. No way. This is capitulation and exactly what these providers are looking for. Loretta Gromo did not get her just due from the cruise line, and it is shameful after all her efforts that she did not.
If anything, Royal Caribbean should have provided her additional compensation for its error and the mess it made of things. If consumers are told to call it quits absent fair and adequate address, companies will continue to exploit them.
It seems that very few people have positive things to say regarding a customer service department these days. So I’d like to. I recently had to change a Jet Blue reservation by a day because my daughter went into labor early. Not only did the Jet Blue agent congratulate me on becoming a grandmother but the agent also waived the change fee and upgraded me at no charge into one of the plane’s more-legroom seats. The airline has won all my future business.
In re: On the Spot: I ask a customer service representative a question that sometimes works: “With your knowledge and experience, what would you do if you had this problem?”
The goal is to get them out of their work behavior and into the mind-set of a person with a problem. It works sometimes.
Why do companies persist in fixing things after the fact? After reading about Gromo’s experience at Royal Caribbean, I would be very reluctant to work directly with the cruise line. I do have a AAA travel agent for any cruises I don't book with my personal consultant on my preferred line. She knows my preferences and what I am comfortable with and what I am not.
When big companies take away the ability or don't train their employees on how to avoid these kinds of things, they do put off possible customers. Customer service is often just a phrase; as long as the company makes money, it just doesn't care.