Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Useless Online Customer Service

Have you experienced clicking on a website's pages, only to encounter an error or a link that doesn't work? Or how about sending an inquiry through a website or an email, but you did not received any response? Well, I've experienced them many times.

My recent similar experience is with Gohotels.ph. Six weeks ago, I was trying to get their room rates in Tacloban by doing mock booking. However, their website's new window link freezes when I tried doing that, so I sent an inquiry through their message form under the "Contact Us" link. 

They replied on that same date thru email, instructing me to book online using their website's booking feature. I tried it again but the new window again shows a blank page. I replied with a sarcastic tone on their email which goes like:

"Prior to sending my inquiry, I was trying to do mock booking at your site, but the new window turns blank and freezes. You've been very helpful in wasting my time and logging my inquiry. I will try the other hotels in Tacloban instead."

I did not received any reply on my response above, so I thought that was the end of my unsatisfactory experience with them. However, 5 weeks after and on the eve of our travel to Tacloban, I was surprised to receive another email from Gohotels.ph. On their latest email, they replied about my inquiries about the room and airport transfer, and to book online again. No explanation or apology about the defective booking window. 

Guess what, their window for booking a room still does not work, either at my office PC, or at my laptop where I'm typing this blog post now. So I replied with another sarcastic note on that same date, as follows:

"Great! You finally replied after 38 days and our trip is tomorrow already. What can you expect? Of course we have to take our business elsewhere!"

Five days after my reply above, they have not responded to it, which is not surprising to me.

We understand that these firms (or even government agencies) would like to serve their customers 24/7, in the hope of getting more business and delighting their clients. But if they have not tested their website features if working well, or if they cannot provide more responsive and timely replies, their online customer service efforts would defeat the purpose. 

It would even alienate their potential customers like me. On GoHotels' case, I cannot expect a good service from them if I stay at their hotel, if they cannot even fix their booking window, or give more "customer-sensitive" response.

So what do other disappointed customers always say?

"Don't offer it if you cannot deliver!"

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