United Customer Service Conclusion
Last week I talked about United’s response to the issues on my first class flight from Las Vegas to Chicago. As a quick recap, a ceiling panel came loose shortly after takeoff which led the purser to delay service in first class for two hours. United’s twitter team saw a tweet I wrote about the panel and reached out to me, asking me email customer service about the experience.
So I wrote to customer service and received a totally canned response more than a week later. After a few exchanges with the customer service agent, he assured me that management reviewed emails between customer service agents and customers and that he had shared the details with his supervisor. I ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth the frustration to pursue this matter further and let the whole thing die with last week’s post and his final email to me. (Text below.)
Of course, United monitors Twitter for mentions of their name and I’m sure they saw my post last week just as they saw the post about the initial issue with the ceiling panel falling. So this morning I received a call from United. The very nice agent explained that my situation was escalated to her. The call was a surprise based on their last response to me which is documented below:
We work closely with our supervisors, and per your request, I did share our email correspondence.
In addition to your specific request, please know that email correspondence is reviewed for quality assurance. At United Airlines, we each have an important role to play, but we are united by our overall common goal — to provide optimal service, and we thank you for letting us know how and where we can improve.
After reading that I realized it was either fight or giveup. I decided to give up, because mentally the fight just wasn’t worth it. After all, this isn’t the worst thing that happened to me on an airplane. I did go for hours without anything to drink, but so many worse things could happen. I wasn’t happy, but it was time to move on.
The Make Up Call
So back to the call. The agent was very friendly and I could immediately tell that she is well trained to deal with upset customers. Thankfully my anger has long since passed, so we had a brief but polite conversation. She acknowledged what happened on the plane was not up to standards and said she wanted to offer me a travel voucher or miles.
I thanked her and we talked about the situation a little more. At that point she said my son and I could each have a $200 voucher or 10,000 miles. I decided that offer was more than fair considering what happened and didn’t even push for anything else. I accepted the vouchers since I have an upcoming use for them, although they expire in a year, so the miles might have been a better decision for some.
My One Remaining Concern
At the end of the call just before hanging up, the agent said one thing to me that was a concern. She said to make sure I go to Twitter to let everyone know how United made things right. At that moment it became obvious that the escalation happened because of my posts and because of Twitter and not because of their service or response being sub-par.
I want to be clear that I am happy that United reached out and offered something. Their initial response was still a huge failure and I fear that had I not been someone with a semi-loud voice on Twitter and social media that nothing would have happened. Still, United did proactively reach out to me after I had let the issue die. They do deserve some credit for that.
I guess the key lesson here is that it pays to be loud and it definitely pays to use social media. (Twitter is so powerful!) The agent didn’t make mention of my blog, so perhaps it was just Twitter that drove this response. Either way I am happy to have received more than fair compensation, however I am still a little disturbed about the process I had to endure to get it.