Customer Disservice

Let me just state for the record that I normally love Southwest Airlines. Not only is the airline inexpensive, but it is one of the only ones left that doesn’t charge extra to check bags. This said, however, Southwest could use a little training when it comes to handling misdirected or lost bags.

Last week, I happened to be attending an industry event with a few co-workers. While we all arrived just fine at our destination courtesy of Southwest (Minneapolis), one of my co-worker’s checked bags didn’t. Long story short, he called the next day to find out if the airline had managed to locate his misplaced bag.

“The good news is we’ve found your bag, but the bad news is we aren’t sure where it is,” was the customer service representative’s exact reply. When pressed to explain this seemingly contradictory statement, my co-worker was told that although Southwest knew what city his bag had been misdirected to (San Antonio), it wasn’t entirely sure where in that particular airport his luggage was at that point in time.

Luckily, the bag finally showed up in Minneapolis later that evening, and my co-worker could finally change into some fresh clothes. Of course, the whole episode got me to thinking about how companies provide service to wronged customers. While I have to give credit to the Southwest customer service representative for telling the truth to my co-worker, her response could have come across in a more positive way. Something like “yes, we’ve found your bag and it will be on its way to you shortly” would have sounded a lot more professional while still being a true statement. Obviously, this Southwest customer service representative hadn’t been properly trained in how to respond to lost luggage inquiries.

So how prepared is your dealership to respond to grower-customer inquires? Has your operation taken the time to provide at least some training to the employees when they are asked to field a phone call from a dissatisfied customer?

This is definitely something to think about as we head into the busy fall season. I’m sure you’ll agree that at no time do you want one of your employees to tell an unhappy grower something like “we know what crop protection product was applied to your field; we are just not sure which field it ended up in.”

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