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Exhibition News April 2014
April 2014


Simon Naudi: A tale of two halves

Simon Naudi blog


Simon Naudi ponders how poor customer services can destroy your brilliant show after a rough ride with a new airline carrier.

I have always tried to learn from others outside our industry and extrapolate and enhance those experiences and lessons into my day-to-day role and flying is no different.

I was recently off to some far-flung long-haul part of the globe. The benefits of many thousands of air miles reminded me that if one has to travel on business, then one should travel ‘business’. Accordingly, I booked my e-ticket with a different carrier to my usual one (at the client’s recommendation) and awaited the usual confirmations and messages to flood in.

My experience had always been to get a confirmatory email, several itineraries, a few prompts to book my choice of seat, meal preferences and chauffeur services. Yet a mere 24 hours from my flight, I still hadn’t been sent any follow-up details apart from my booking reference and passenger number.

Being mildly technophobic, I entered the carrier’s website and was inundated with information that was no doubt useful to many passengers but hopeless in directing me to the appropriate help section I required.

I then telephoned and after the rigmarole of getting through and repeating several options, guessed at a department that could assist me. I was eventually told I needed a different telephone number for the chauffeur drive service. 

I dialled the number and faced a few additional automated choices before a human finally took my call and explained that I was not on their list. As my flight was now less than 24 hours away, I obviously could not book their service. If I wished to resolve the issue I would have to telephone another number (customer services) and take up the matter with them.

I dialled yet another number and after a short automated sequence was told for my call to be connected, and ‘for my convenience’ I had to quote my passenger number. I spent at least eight minutes trying to assuage the automaton that my number was correct and that my accent was acceptable. Neither, in the event, proved satisfactory and I was disconnected as they were ‘unable to process my call at that time’.

I eventually re-dialled and pressed numbers at random until I was connected with a human being. I outlined my plight and was told I was being transferred again. Waiting to be connected while listening to piped muzak set off several pre-flight cigarettes.

As you can imagine, I was really relishing the prospect of using my new carrier. I was then given a number to quote and reconnected with the chauffeur company, who conceded that I was after all on their system and the car would be sent for me. 

My flight was fine, the service was great, the food and accommodation as good as my usual airline. Would I use this company again? Probably not.

Translate this to your event. Your show is great, educational content spot-on, but your registration or car parking arrangements suck. Will I visit your show again? Probably not. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

– Simon Naudi is the MD of Answers Group.