Don’t Believe the Lies

Most of us have memorable customer service experiences: good, bad, and ugly. My recent encounter with KLM’s customer service was no different. It was an eye-opening lesson in:

  • What really good looks like versus
  • What really ugly looks like
KLM's 747-406 PH-BFW - nose

KLM’s 747-406 PH-BFW – nose (Photo credit: caribb)

The beginning

For personal and bereavement reasons, my family had to cancel an international flight with KLM, an unfortunate situation, but necessary nonetheless. At the time of cancellation, KLM reassured us that our flight credits would be secure—they would gladly reissue new tickets under bereavement/compassionate grounds (KLM’s rules of reticketing/rebooking would NOT apply).

When time for booking new flights arrived, we were rudely awakened to the beast that is the airline industry. We quickly learned that given the opportunity, KLM will take your home, your children, and your shoes!

What really ugly looks like

While struggling to rebook our tickets, we were ping-ponged between multiple customer service agents who brazenly showed us what ugly service really looks like. I quote:

  • Mam, I need the details of the funeral home where your father was laid to rest; a death certificate is not sufficient (WHAT!!!)
  • The rules of the airline do not make allowances for bereavement cancellations (but KLM told me these rules wouldn’t apply to my situation!)
  • It’s impossible to reissue your tickets based on your previous fare class (I obviously fly economy)
  • To reissue your tickets, you’ll have to pay an equal or higher fare (note: KLM was currently having a seat sale—tickets for our flight routes were $1000 cheaper [each] than what we previously paid)

Thievery at its finest

After this barrage of ugly service, we insisted on speaking to a supervisor, who believe it or not, was even more unaccommodating:

  • Sorry Mam, the rules of the airline prohibit us from reissuing tickets at the current market rate. If you pay an additional $100 per ticket, we’ll gladly reissue new ones. Would you like to proceed? (highway robbery; do you want my kidneys as well?)

Interestingly, stress expert Dr David Lewis has equated the anxiety levels of travelers with those of fighter pilots and riot police! Who knew my travelling woes were preparing me for a career as a fighter pilot?!

I digress … What was extremely frustrating was that these agents were robotic—they were simply repeating bureaucracy. Where was the human connection? What happened to compassion and understanding? What about valuing customers and finding solutions?

We obviously refused to accept this injustice. It just didn’t seem right! We weren’t going to eat garbage just because we were at the mercy of KLM. Justice and truth had to be on our side.

What really good looks like

After 1.5 hours of frustration, we insisted on speaking to yet another agent.

Thankfully, God answers prayers (hallelujah!). We were connected to a wonderful agent who redeemed the folly of his colleagues and showed us what really good service looks like:

  • I’m happy to help you; just give me the details of your proposed itinerary (uh, okay)
  • Please hold on while I process your request (is this seriously happening?)
  • Okay, your tickets have been successfully booked. I’ve also processed vouchers for the balance that is owed to you (what, you’re also giving us back our money???)
  • Can I help you with anything else? (God bless you!)

WOW! I was floored!

This one agent solved our problems in a quarter of the time it took multiple agents to give us the run around! Our tickets were booked AND we were issued vouchers! We thanked him profusely for his service and immediately asked to speak to his supervisor to give him a much-deserved recommendation!

Key takeaways

So what are my takeaways from this ordeal?

  • Don’t believe the lies: just because someone tells you it’s impossible doesn’t make it truth
  • Don’t submit to the ignorance of others
  • Don’t be a victim: know your rights and fight for them
  • Stand up for truth and justice
  • Angels do exist
  • God is a mighty fortress watching over us

Related articles

Copyright © 2012 Uwana.



4 thoughts on “Don’t Believe the Lies

  1. I’m so happy you kept your faith (and sanity) and your prayers were answered! God can move mountains & break down barriers that we alone can’t do. I’ve been waiting to see you post again… still praying for your heart to mend. God bless.


  2. I’m so glad that you finally got connected to someone who could help. I’ve had similar experiences with my insurance company. The first five reps you talk to are so unhelpful and you keep calling back to you get the one who can help! I agree that those experiences are a great reminder that God works through a variety of people and does care about our every day experiences! Thanks for sharing!


Share your thoughts. I promise to respond.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s