Last week my friend from New York arrived in Amsterdam. The checking out lasted longer than other flights which arrived earlier. So I called her and asked what the problem was. It appeared that 2 containers of luggage were missing. Not just a couple of suitcases, but 2 whole containers! And this was a direct flight. How is that possible? How can those be missed?
Okay, you have to accept the fact that it happened. Then she had to register her loss. Because there were so many people involved, she just got a blank form which was not filled out. Only a phone number was written on it. That was her only ‘proof’ of her missing luggage. They could not inform her when her luggage would be arriving, although there are 4 flights daily.
This is the most striking issue of customer service. It can happen that your luggage get lost. But the key information that you need as a customer is when your luggage will be arriving after the incident. As a customer you need to plan for that. Do you have to buy a toothbrush only, or will it last longer and do you need to buy some fresh clothes etc.
The luggage arrived 3 days later! They called early in the morning and asked when they could deliver it. That was fine, but……. We had to stay at home in blocks of 4 hours. That was as narrow as they could plan. 4 Hours, that is half a day! Is it not possible to plan within 1 hour?!
So, the only innovation in the service they provide should be to inform the customer upfront when their missing luggage will be arriving. And then the delivery window should be much tighter. With all the money spend on IT and value chains, this should be really easy. And your customer will be very satisfied, even though they do miss their luggage. It is already a great relief if you know what you can expect.
It is really a clear case of inside out thinking from (most) airlines, that they have not yet fixed this. They don’t take the customer’s experience as the starting point of the service that they provide. It is not rock science to innovate the service with the end in mind. And the end is when the customer will in fact receive his or her luggage.