Bad customer service is their mantra
I recently needed to book a flight to Washington, DC from Buffalo, NY. Considering there are a plethora of options of where to go online to book flights, I weighed my options and took a chance with cheaptickets.com. I booked my flight and was content with the simple and easy process for picking flights and booking via credit card.
In checking through my records, I realized that I failed to receive a confirmation email with my account and flight information on it. Given that Cheaptickets.com had put a $2 hold on my credit card for the flight, I had assumed as anyone would in my position that everything was a-OK and that I had nothing to worry about. After all, cheaptickets prides itself on being the cheap, easy way to book a flight. I called customer service on 9.04 to verify my flight, thinking that my confirmation must have been sent to my spam folder in my gmail account.
My cheap and easy ticket buying experience was quickly compounded into one of the most unprofessional and horrible experiences I have ever had from this point forward. Upon calling customer service, the customer service representative who was merely doing her job in assisting me went on to tell me that not only did I not have a ticket booked, but I must have done something wrong to cause the error. Now, being an Internet savvy person as you have to be in this day and age I need you to realize the level of frustration on my behalf as a customer. I followed all prompts on your website, entered all appropriate information, and was led to believe I had purchased the ticket that I needed. Further emphasising this point, a hold was put on my credit card for $2 from CheapTickets. Com for the purchase. At no time did I receive an error or an email from customer service on your behalf saying something was wrong. Instead, a week goes by with me believing that I have a ticket booked for my trip, and I come to realize that I do not have one... and am told by your customer service agent that I did something wrong to cause this. Follow this path of "logic" and you will see that indeed, I did nothing wrong but there must have been a glitch in your web interface causing the issue, considering one would never be so bold as to accuse their customer of not being intelligent enough to hit a submit button. This being insinuated from your company is utterly ludicrous, unprofessional, and down right inappropriate.
Furthermore, I am told by your well trained customer service agent that "she is sorry that I feel the way that I do" about the service I received, but there was nothing she could do to help me, besides book another ticket for the same trip that was $70 more expensive. Not only was this not an appropriate response in the way of customer service, but training your customer service agents to be condescending in any way to a customer is not only unacceptable but it is going to cost your company in the long run. I ended the call frustrated and belittled. Your training program at cheaptickets.com must be a short one, after all your customer service department does not actually provide any customer service... rather they blame the customer for any mistakes and then take advantage of them by charging even more for the ticket they are trying to book. That is a very dishonest and counter intuitive approach to customer service.
Today competition is everything in the marketplace. The one thing that makes a business stand out from another is the level of customer service one receives from that company. Great customer service makes customers happy, makes them repeat customers, and makes them recommend that business to others. Word of mouth makes companies in times of a rough economy. In the reverse, poor customer service is a detriment to a company. A company who puts customer service as second seat to everything else is a company that receives poor reviews of their services all over the internet, like the ones I read about your company ( just do a search for cheaptickets.com reviews and read about all of your unsatisfied customers give their two cents). A company who belittles and makes their customers uncomfortable will lose existing customers and future customers based on word of mouth. Customer service is everything, and customer service is something that your company is lacking as a whole. I'm sure that my definitions of customer service aren't a surprise to your company, being a corporate entity. My question remains, however why is it that you do exactly opposite of what will build a customer base by treating your customers in such a manner?
I come from a family who works in the service industry, and I understand what it means to build a clientele and how you need to give to customer wants and needs at times, as well as how much the old saying " the customer is always right" really builds a reputation with a company. In general I am appalled that in the way that I was treated by your company and how little was done to rectify my situation.
I had the opportunity to be a great and loyal customer to your company, one who travels often, with many acquaintances who do the same. Now I stand as a customer who was ill treated and unsatisfied. I was unable to re-book my ticket to DC throughout this whole process, and now I have a business trip that is ruined and no one to blame for it but your awful customer service standards and poor web interface. What is one to do in this case? I can go about my business and let it lie that I had a bad experience with your company and leave it at that. I could also go forth and warn those who I know against using your company's services based on the experience that I have had. I can also put my two cents in to all of those searching the Internet for a place to book their next vacation through. Regardless of what I do, my situation was not made right, I stand unsatisfied, and your company is to blame. The weight of that, times a thousand bad experiences is enough to sink a ship, in this case the ship being your business.
I would appreciate a formal apology for the way this situation was handled, and some insight on how it could be rectified on Cheaptickets.com's behalf. After all, the customer is always right, and I was severely wronged.