A couple of weeks ago this story caught my attention.
In short, a Japanese Airline would not accept complaints during flights, instead advising customers to direct their complaints to public organisations such as the National Consumer Affairs Center.
This is appalling!!
Sure, in the airline industry you would compete on price, on-time schedules and safety – however customer service I would have thought should be up there too, especially considering the strong service ethos of the Japanese people.
Considering that this particular airline specifies as part of their business objectives to “create a competitive environment, and contribute to enhancing customer satisfaction”, then this no complaint policy during flights would seem to be somewhat contradictive.
Customer service is no longer defined or clustered per industry, customer service is now driven by the consumer – who will have an expectation of service based on their interactions in their life, what they expect from a Bank, a Telco, a Supermarket will be the same level of service, and as different industry verticals continue to improve their customer service levels, the consumer will have higher and higher expectations.
This is also evident in the consulting work we do, organisations are requesting to be benchmarked against 'best practice' not by industry, or by seat size – there is consumer-driven need to keep up with what is happening in the wider customer service industry, not simply within their competitive set.
Just to finish off the Japanese Airline story, under pressure, this airline recently agreed to revise at least the part of its guidelines regarding complaints.