Friday, April 03, 2015

my patriotism gone down the drain

The previous post about KLM was sitting in drafts for some time because I thought it was not worth sharing, since I didn't actually get to use the voucher. That was, until I had an encounter with another airline.

This time it's somewhere closer to home. As might be aware, there has been much negative press and perception about Malaysia Airlines after the double tragedy last year and the overall organisational situation.

Despite that, I chose to be patriotic and support our local airline when I booked my flight home for Christmas/New Year's. I could have gone for Korean Air for 2 main reasons : inflight service and airport ambience.

When checking my mileage upon returning to Japan, I realised some points were expiring in March but the link to the online shop to redeem products have been down. I tried to go through the MH website to see if there were other links, but there was only one where I could get a RM50 voucher. The options weren't many, since they seem to all belong under the YTL umbrella of hotels and restaurants.

Clicking on the link led me back to the members page, where I was faced with the same problem. In fact, I was asked to login again even though I was already logged in on a separate tab. When I did finally found myself at the voucher link, it only mentioned voucher for extra luggage, and not the hotel/restaurant mentioned on the website.

Sending an email to the online shop bounced back, even though it was the only email address given in the notification. So I sent an online enquiry trying to find out what else I could do.

I got this reply :

Dear Ms.Lee,
Greetings from Enrich Malaysia Airlines.
Please be advised that you may redeem RM 50 vouchers via the Enrich Vouchers tab in your account or directly at our ticketing office at KL Sentral. 
Please note that these vouchers are valid for 6 months.
Thank you for making Malaysia Airlines your travel partner.
We look forward to assist you again in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any additional inquiries.
Kind Regards,

Enrich, Malaysia Airlines

I replied to "Ann", telling her that I only enquired about the RM50 voucher because the online shop was down. I also told her that since I was based overseas, I expected the basic functions on the site to work. I imagine there must be other non-Malaysian residents and foreigners and even Malaysians-gone-overseas who are Enrich members.

Then this reply :

Dear Ms.Lee,
Greetings from Enrich Malaysia Airlines once again.
Please note that as per our edm sent out in June 14, Temptations has terminated its partnership with Enrich. However  this is temporary  as we are in process of reviewing the offering  to enhance the benefits to Enrich members. Please bear with us and do keep a lookout for our announcement for Temptations  soon. 
Thank you and kind regards


I think "Ann" didn't get it. She assumed everyone received the EDM, I'm not sure if she checked with the marketing guy who was managing CRM. If the said EDM was sent in June and it's now April and the problem is still there, it's beginning to sound more than just "temporary". I imagine there must be some high-flying Datuk traveling very frequently on MH with many more points which might have expired between the period of June 2014 and April 2015, who must have had to redeem many RM50 vouchers.

It seemed "Ann" did not understand that my points were about to expire and I wanted to know if there was another way I could get a hand on the catalogue so that I could select my product. It seems like I'm being forced to redeem my soon-to-be-expiring points for some voucher I could probably never use.

This was the last reply I received :

Dear Ms.Lee,
We are in the process of reviewing the offering  to enhance the benefits to Enrich members.
We will advise of the progress as soon as we have finalised.
Thank you and kind regards

How nice of her to remind me in bold that they are trying to enhance benefits to Enrich members. I'm sure there will be some EDM sent to me that the "temporary" inconvenience will come to an end.

As I write this, my March points would have expired if I wasn't "forced" to redeem them for the voucher. I guess there's no point writing back - you can easily see the difference between the email below and the correspondence I've had here which doesn't seem to go anywhere. Not merely the email, but overall customer experience.

I can sympathise with companies who are not in the best shape, and I'm more than happy to help suggest some basic customer service etiquette and communication tips. There's been many colourful promotional banners and exciting promotions on the MH site, but what's the point when their loyal customers are not getting basic customer service? =.="

Thursday, April 02, 2015

one of the reasons why i (still) love klm

I first wrote this post in September 2013 after returning from a business trip in London. I was supposedly upgraded to Business Class on the AMS-LHR leg, but was not served any food, rendering me treated less than even an Economy Class passenger.

It was a much smaller craft due to it being a regional flight, so the upgrade didn't make any difference to me in terms of comfort nor amenities. It was my first time being upgraded so I wasn't sure what I was supposed to get, and didn't want to cause a scene. I looked longingly towards the back as the air stewardess served the other passengers their food and drinks. At that time I wished I wasn't upgraded!

Upon my return to Japan, I decided to send in an inquiry to KLM, and this is what they responded with... (nevermind they got my gender wrong!) :

Dear Mr Lee,

Thank you for your message. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience you mention.

I am sorry to learn that you did not receive a meal on your recent flight with us from Amsterdam to London and can well appreciate your disappointment.

Although catering does not form part of the contract we have with our passengers, and is offered on a complimentary basis, we fully  understand that it is sometimes one of the factors taken into consideration when choosing an airline and as such is considered important by our passengers.

Our airline carefully plans the number of meals required per flight and per cabin, and the number finally delivered is based on the final number of checked passengers; last minute acceptance of passengers in certain situations does not allow our caterers to load the extra meals without risking delaying the flight departure. This is normally communicated to the passengers in question although our crew will do their utmost to offer a solution.I very much regret that this seems to have been your case and apologise again for the negative impression you were left with on this occasion.
However, in recognition of your understandable disappointment, as a gesture of goodwill; we are pleased to advise that a nonrefundable Travel Compensation Voucher to the value of EUR50 (MYR211) will be forwarded to the below address:

The voucher can be used for payment of ticket for carriage on KLM and Air France flights.  Please refer to the terms and conditions behind the cover of the vouchers for more details.  The tickets for Air France and KLM can be issued in any Air France and KLM offices worldwide.

Should you decide to utilise the vouchers through your travel agent, please request your agent to contact us for the procedure.  The vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issuance and can be transferred to another person once. The amount stated can only be used for the passenger indicated on the vouchers.

Please be informed that usage of the vouchers for internet bookings is only allowed in Malaysia.  In this case, please make your reservation online and select the payment option “cash payment”. The issuance of ticket will have to be processed at our ticketing office at the Park Royal Hotel.

Once again, please accept our apologies for the difficulties you had experienced. We hope that our message will restore your trust in our company and that you will give us the pleasure of welcoming you again on one of our flights soon and we look forward to serving you to your entire satisfaction.

Kind regards,
C.Effendi (Ms)

Asia Pacific Customer Care Officer KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

I really liked how they came back with this nicely-worded apology and explanatory email. It gives me all the details I needed to know why what happened, happened, and what they were willing to do, to appease the customer.

Like I said, I did not expect to be upgraded, but if there was no food available I'd rather be back at Economy. But it didn't really matter since it was a short flight.

Nevermind if this was a canned response, I can tell that their Customer Care department had been well trained. I left the email as it is, since the voucher probably reached my parents' home and none of us would have been able to use the voucher!

A little courtesy, good communication and plenty of consideration goes a long way.