Telephone service: A nice touch from Asia Miles Service Centre

Since I wrote about the excellent telephone service I received from both Singapore Airlines and All Nippon Airways (Singapore Airlines and All Nippon Airways impress on the telephone, Feb 3, 2012), I feel I ought to comment on an email I received from Manager Member Services of Asia Miles, the frequent flyer program of Cathay Pacific Airways – but purely from the point of view of a customer service practitioner.

The header of the email reads: “Our thanks for your patience and understanding with our phone and email services.”

Mr Steve Rackstraw apologized for “the recent increase in call waiting and handling times and email response times at Asia Miles Service Centre.” This was attributed to a number of technical issues following a system upgrade by Cathay Pacific and Dragonair.

Words are easy to come by. It is action that speaks louder. But there is no reason to doubt Asia Miles’ sincerity. Putting the customer in the centre of all that you do shows how much you value his or her custom. And keeping your line open to the customer is key to the demonstration. Mr Rackstraw’s missive – as personalized as it could get – is a feel-good note that all customers love to receive.

It would have been nicer if I had received a pre-event note warning of possible disruption (maybe I missed it). Forewarning has the magic of assuaging ruffled nerves and taking out the sting or reducing the frustration of an unpleasant experience. Still, the post-event email (if there had not been one before) is a nice touch.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

4 Responses to Telephone service: A nice touch from Asia Miles Service Centre

  1. Gratia Fan says:

    Asia Miles’s action – or inaction – speaks louder than Mr. Rackstraw’s “sincere apology” email. So much easier just send out an apology. Reputation is an intangible asset that one cannot assign a dollar value. But the value – or de-value – of “reputation” can sink an airline.
    My personal experience is that by calling multiple times at different time of the day, leaving messages on the atrociously inefficient and messed up voice system (it’s been more than 7 days beyond their “end of the next business day” promise), emailing, booking and awaiting response (it’s been more than 15 days beyond the 7-day promise), I can only assume no one works at Asia Mile reward center.
    By the way, I never got a “pre-warning”, either. I got the “apology” email from Mr. Rackstrwa right around the time when United merged with Continental. United’s customer service line was impossible to get through for a few days. But in a week, I was able to get through. I had to hold for a long time, but at least they pre-warned me that the hold was around 18 minutes. This is an action Asia Mile should emulate.

    • Dingzi says:

      I can’t agree with you more. The problem with most organizations is that they take the theoretical line unsupported by action. My personal experience with most airlines’ telephone service is exactly what you have mentioned – you always wonder if it is so deliberately arranted to discourage customers’ calls. Even if you manage to get through, the service is far from being de-stressing. Somehow I find Asian airlines far lacking in this area, compared to North American airlines. Air Canada stands out in this respect.

  2. VP says:

    Any one have had problems with redeeming Asia Miles? I had extensive problems entering all the information needed, and when I contacted them to help correct the issue, I was told it had just passes six months and no longer applicable for credit. As of this date I no word if they will correct this issue, and rightfully credit my miles.

    • Dingzi says:

      Hi, I’m sorry I can’t help you there. Lest it be misconstrued, when I wrote the article, I wasn’t endorsing Asia Miles. I did mention that “words are easy to come by. It is action that speaks louder.” What Asia Miles did was a spark of hope, and I only hoped it would glow brighter down the road. Too many organizations preach, but do not act. I personally find that North American call centers and frequent flyer programs are more friendly and custoemr-service oriented than their Asian coutnerparts. Whatever the issue, I hope Air Asia accord you a response as basic courtesy. An organization that hears its custoemrs can only gain,even if it does not like what it hears!

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