I promised this blog that I would update on my customer experience with British Airways and I’ve been hassled by a few people for taking my sweet time. Apologies – rightly, or wrongly, I decided to give them a while longer to respond. And in the meantime I have reflected on the experiences I have seen in the media. I hope you enjoy.
Corporate blogs with poor experiences
It’s not just me that had problems. Friend and blogger Dennis Howlett has suffered at the hands of BA too, and wrote it up in a sequence of 3 blogs on ZDNet entitled “British Airways Customer Failures“.
Is it not time for a fundamental rethink about what these systems deliver? Is it not time for some of the mega brands to recognise that what served them well in the past will no longer cut it?
Friend and colleague – and manager of a very large business unit – Anthony Leaper, SVP and General Manager of LoB Customer Solutions at SAP, wrote a Forbes article entitled “You can’t keep saying “It’s not our fault” forever.“. Anthony is an expert on customer loyalty management and he nails some points home:
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matterwhose fault it is. Every company owns the responsibility for its customers’ experience, whether it likes it or not.
Then you can just take the hilarious “BA is Shite” blog which acts as a content aggregator for this stuff.
But there is a serious point here – Howlett, Leaper, and others – have serious influence. Leaper has influence over the travel decisions of a $18bn business, and perhaps wider. And yet, BA does not take them seriously. Why is this?
Lack of understanding of modern media
After I wrote my last blog “How British Airways Broke This Camel’s Back“, I was contacted by a media employee of BA called Michael Johnson. After a few exchanges, he very interestingly responded:
As much as I would like to keep chatting with you, I’m afraid I need to restrict my contacts to the media and that’s my job…
I had a similar experience with BA’s Twitter handles. They either ignore, or let you know that customer relations will be in touch. But customer relations are never in touch – and even if they are, they say things like:
Checked-in luggage has to pass through various hands on its way to and from the aircraft. So on the rare occasions when belongings go missing, it is virtually impossible to pinpoint what happened.
And this to me shows a complete lack of understanding of modern media. Most organisations do not now differentiate between different types of influence – be it corporate bloggers, media types or influential social media people. If you influence, you are worth engaging with. But not to BA. Unless of course your name is…
Now she does have 14m Twitter followers to my 2.5k and Howlett’s 9k and Leaper’s 34. But when she lost her luggage and Tweeted:
“Very disappointed in British Airways for opening my luggage & taking some special items of mine! Some things are sentimental – irreplaceable”
Then BA managed to respond:
A British Airways spokesperson said they were looking into the claims.