Broken Processes, Create Broken Promises

A few days ago I had to drive to the airport to buy an airline ticket to Cleveland. Yes, I said drive.  The airport is 40 miles from my house. I had to drive the 40 miles each way because I had a voucher from United and the only way I could redeem it was in person.

I had a the voucher because I recently missed a connecting flight due to bad weather and had to pay for another airline to get home.  Good for United for making me whole, but a paper voucher that can only be redeemed in person, that’s a broken process.

I have Premier Executive status on United. This is my third year. That means for 3 years I’ve flown at least fifty thousand miles a year. That’s a lot of flights and lot of money. That makes me a valuable United customer.

United has a great online booking system. They have a good Miles Plus program online too. United has my credit card on file, my flight preferences, and more all in my profile. So, why can’t I have credits put in my profile too? Why do I have to go to the airport to use them?

United’s voucher process is broken. When customer facing processes are broken, customer promises are broken. For me, the promise of customer service was broken. There is no customer service in having to drive 80 miles round-trip to redeem a voucher from a flight I already paid for.

Broken processes are almost always attached to a “we can’t do this because: the system doesnt’ allow it, we don’t have the budget, we’re not integrated, etc.” response. When processes are broken there is almost always an excuse. What’s really happening however is something is not being made a priority.  When customer facing processes aren’t made a priority, the customer is NOT being made a priority.

Broken processes, create broken promises.  Billions of dollars are spent every year making brand promisses. Why not spend a few million making sure those promises aren’t broken.

Thanks for the 80 mile drive United. I have nothing to do during the middle of the week anyway.

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