Canada’s national air carrier, Air Canada has been in money troubles and teetering on the brink of
financial ruin for a few years now. Some of the troubles have stemmed from waste of resources,
but as of late, they seem to be getting their house in order in that category. The other thing that
has driven customers from Air Canada has been poor customer experiences. Like bumping paying
passengers from flights so staff could travel and overall malaise with ticket and attendant staff.
But maybe there’s hope...
In a story relayed to me this week by a travel agent friend of mine, comes this tale of someone at
Air Canada showing some compassion and smarts and earning some redemption with a formerly
Hurricane Ivan, which is still ravaging the Carribean did some major damage in Granada. The
daughter of this former Air Canada passenger lives in Granada and saw her house wiped out. She
needed to get back to Canada, so her father started calling airlines and travel agents to help get
her out. This is what he found. There was an Air Canada flight leaving Granada that had room for
his daughter and her three children in the first class section, but the price quoted was $5000 per
person to get on that flight. Where was the compassion? Where was the reality? These were
people who had just seen everything wiped out and someone at Air Canada was trying to hose
them for $20,000.
This is where the story turns and your faith in humanity is restored. There is a lady who works in
the Calgary call centre who has shown she understands what customer service is and why building
customer experience equity is important for the future of her airline. She has handled a couple of
delicate situations for my travel agent friend before, so he put the Granada people in touch with
her. She booked the four of them on the flight, regular fare $600 each. She did what had to be
done and now the family is reunited in Canada and the formerly disgruntled Air Canada passenger
has stated that he will fly Air Canada again.
How can you build a little customer experience equity with your customers? Do what it takes to
make the right decision and things will take care of themselves.
p.s. The Air Canada agent’s name is Julie. She just might save the entire airline.