personal, Travel & Tourism

Giving a sh*t about your users is way better

By William Bakker | 12.11.10 | Comment?

Listening to your users? Absolutely. But giving a sh*t about your users is way better. –Gary Vaynerchuk (Web 2.0 Expo, 2008)

A couple of weeks ago, I cancelled a flight from Innsbruck to Vienna with Austrian Airlines. It was a connecting flight to Amsterdam. Because I took the train to Vienna a couple days earlier to meet up with my friends Martin and Olaf, I didn’t need the flight to Vienna anymore but I still needed my flight from Vienna to Amsterdam.

Austrian Airlines charged me $250 to cancel the first leg and keep everything else the same.

They were legally in their right but it goes against all common sense. Charge me a $25 or $50 admin fee? Sure. It took 10 minutes over the phone to make the change. Instead they charged me the maximum penalty. Because they could.

The person on the phone was very understanding. So was the person in the customer service department I emailed to complain. But the standard form letter was clear.

Please note that the change fee forms part of the existing air tariff as filed with the Department of Transportation. ¬†In the case of special fares once transportation has commenced, the change fee may not be waived especially when a situation arises that is beyond our control. […]

We trust that your flights with Austrian Airlines were otherwise pleasant, and it will be our pleasure to welcome you soon again on board.

Austrian Airlines listens. But they don’t give a shit. That’s not a winning business model.