Want to know what happened next? Read my update.
This is the story of poor customer service, misuse of social media and one very crabby baby.
I’m small potatoes: I don’t travel more than a handful of times each year and I have a moderate following on this blog, Twitter, and Facebook. So why should a large company like Travelocity care what I think?
Because I am their customer.
I’m headed to LA to see my sister. I planned to book my flights through Travelocity. What should have been 10 minutes of my time has now spanned more than a week.
I looked around, found a great price on a flight that had perfect timing. And then:
I might have. The problem is that my traveling companion is 22 months old.
Yup…SuperBaby and I have been planning an adventure. I just didn’t think it would be THIS adventure.
You can imagine how pleased I was when the next morning I woke to find a tweet from Travelocity in my stream.
Fantastic! This is what I love about social media; reaching out, connecting with people and resolving problems.
I sent an email, thanked Travelocity and waited.
This had all happened over the weekend, so I waited some more.
Oh thank goodness! A quick reply with a direct email address. I had been getting nervous. It was Tuesday and I needed to book this flight by Wednesday to fall within the “2 Weeks Prior to Travel” window.
I shot off another email and waited.
Nothing. After four days.
I did another quick search on Travelocity for flights, intending to use the flight numbers to locate what I wanted directly on the airline sites. In clicking through from my query results to detailed itinerary options the price jumped $150.
This was beyond ridiculous.
I finally booked a flight through Delta for $411 on Wednesday afternoon.
These were the only flights I could find that were less than $550 and did not include an overnight layover or a 6AM departure.
The problem that Travelocity now faces is that I am no longer just a customer frustrated by what appears to be a growing trend of bait and switch on the pricing of flights.
I am now a disgruntled customer who is angered by the very off handed treatment she received under the guise of social media customer service.
Late Wednesday I received an email from Travelocity offering to waive the $30 fee for speaking with a real live person if I wanted to call in and get some assistance. I was also offered a promotional code for a future hotel booking through Travelocity.
Last week I attended a workshop with Peter Shankman: Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World. This was when I decided that I was not wrong for being upset.
I am not complaining and whining about a price I didn’t want to pay. I want to be acknowledged, I want follow through and some respect from a business that is all over the media, asking me to spend my money with them.
That’s not all I learned.
The Travelocity stream on Twitter is FULL of canned replies to people expressing concern, discontent and frustration. Each Tweet sounds almost identical to the ones I received.
No one is listening.
No one is analyzing the problem.
The replies are late, if they exist.
My usually very even tempered son is likely to be unhappy and he’s going to cry. I might cry. The other passengers on that plane might want to cry. They certainly are NOT going to be pleased.
So SuperBaby will be wearing this shirt during our travels:
What am I looking for? What do I want from this?
I want them to provide good customer service to all of their customers, including the ones they bump into on Twitter.