BA Is Shite

BA Is Shite


The latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

British Airways Customer Failures

My commiserations to Dennis Howlett who has fallen foul of BA's "customer care" procedures.
"This is part one of a three parter. In this part I talk about process failures in communications and the ticket locator/e-ticket systems. In part two, I talk about the website. In part three I talk abut the broader implications for development and customer relationships in a hyper connected world.
Those who drift between this weblog and my personal site will know that every now and again I launch a tirade against some aspect of travel. The latest target for my ire is that icon of self deprecating failure: British Airways. Its uncanny ability to muff even common day tasks beggars belief yet it stands as an exemplar of all that’s messed up in modern day IT development. Here we go…"
Dennis sums up Part 1 of his three part synopsis of BA's failings, by highlighting the key problems/issues that need to be addressed by BA:
"Arguing with the call centre is pointless and horribly time wasting. Two calls that tell me wait time will be more than 15 minutes, a wait time of 9 minutes followed by a fruitless call with the agent and another 22 minutes wait before speaking with an agent who at least empathised with my situation did not resolve the situation.
According to BA’s Ts & Cs:
6c) You must check in by the check-in deadline

If you do not complete the check-in process by the check-in deadline, we may decide to cancel your reservation and not carry you.
This is not the same as ‘will’ cancel, a fact I pointed out to the empathetic agent but which got me nowhere. All of this is really a prelude to the various places that BA’s systems fail in the value delivery chain.
  1. The call centre is understaffed. Four calls over a period of 12 hours during which the wait time is at least 15 minutes on all calls tells me something. Where are the systems that predict call loads?
  2. Part of the problem seems to stem from the fact that the original booking agent organised two e-tickets albeit under the same ticket locator. Right now it is unclear which of the tickets BA voided although from the printed information I have, it sounds like the Malaga>London return. Where are the processes for reconciling ticket issues in these circumstances?
  3. It doesn’t make sense that there was a bowling ball effect onto other e-tickets i.e. the Sydney>Frankfurt leg and as yet no-one can explain what happened. BA allows this confusion to occur. Why?
  4. At the very least there is confusion and conflicting information at BA and communicated to me. That should never happen. BA should always be in full possession of the right information. It is a security issue. If the agents are confused then where is the escalation process to help them out?
  5. At no time did anyone advise me that a part of my itinerary was at risk. Given the fact there were two tickets under the same locator reference is it beyond the wit of man to at least insert an IF>THEN SQL statement into the workflow so that a communication can be instantiated? This cannot be an uncommon issue.
  6. The interpretation of ‘may’ to ‘will’ is not made clear to customers. That is palpably unfair.
On to the BA website. This is where things really get screwy."
I wish him well, and hope that BA use this as an opportunity to improve their customer care procedures. the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

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