easyJet: Low Cost, Great Customer Care

logo easyjetAs I was invited to speak at an IT channel conference in February 2010 in Monte Carlo…I would have expected acceptable weather, certainly not so much snow that Nice airport was totally closed for a whole day, stranding thousands of passengers for up to three nights! I was one of those passengers who didn’t make it out of Nice Cote d’Azur on that particular Thursday, the 11th of February.

As I entered the overcrowded terminal, I already knew all flights were cancelled and I was wondering how I was going to be treated by a low cost airline such as easyJet in circumstances that they could have easily qualified as ‘extraordinary‘, a denomination that -under IATA and EU regulations- would have allowed them to leave us to cope for ourselves.

We were quickly ushered towards a rather long line of people waiting to re-book their seats on the next available flight -in my case a flight to Paris Orly. As I finally got to the counter, I was offered a return on…Saturday morning at 07:30AM…we were Thursday! I was then told to go and queue at another counter (they quickly improved the organization so that further passengers only had to queue once), where I was given a hotel voucher for two nights, including three meals, and two taxi vouchers to get to and from the hotel.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and funnily enough I had just given a talk on ‘Cloud Computing’…in this case, the silver lining was that my wife and I were able to visit Nice, stay in a great hotel right in the center of the city, have a look at the opening parade of the famous Caranaval de Nice and have a fine breakfast and two great meals at the hotel’s very good restaurant.

I have to say that we were even surprised to see that there was no restriction to the price of our meals. Being cost conscious passengers, we avoided lashing out on expensive dishes or wine to avoid drawing even more on EasyJet’s generosity, but we could have, and some of our neighbors did…

This goes to prove that in EasyJet’s mind, low cost doesn’t necessarily mean low customer service and they deserve full recognition for the way they handled things. To me, this was a real moment of truth, as described in a book by the former CEO of SAS, the Scandinavian airline. It’s just that nowadays, as for any European flight, flying from Paris to Nice is no big deal and millions of people spend more time in an overcrowded train every morning and every evening and don’t expect to be offered a free meal or even find a seat.

It would be interesting to know how the major airlines treated their passengers who were stranded in Nice on Februrary 11th…so let’s see those comments!

February 20, 2010 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

French retail chain Darty creates great Web 2.0 service

contrat de confianceIn 1973, some 35 years ago (!), the consumer goods retail chain “Darty” expressed what is still their mantra today: “Le Contrat de Confiance” or “The Trust Contract”. Their promise was that they would never let their customers down and each time one bought a hair dryer, a HiFi system or a refrigerator, one was actually given a booklet with the detail of their commitments (every French household has a collection of Darty booklets).

Darty is now part of the British retail group Kingfisher Plc, alongside B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot and Hornbach -to name some of the best known sister companies. But they have maintained their obsession for Customer Satisfaction: they have relentlessly continued to communicate on this mantra. As a result, in France, the words “Contrat de Confiance” literally belong to Darty.

Well, they have recently taken the concept a step further, using today’s Web 2.0 technology : last time I bought something from a Darty store in Paris (and I don’t live in Paris, but in Rennes, Brittany, 200 miles away), I was presented with “another loyalty card” I thought to myself.

I shrugged my shoulders until the salesman explained to me that if I went to Darty’s web site, I could access my private area, which already contained the details of all the products I had bought from Darty in the last 5 years.

If I can’t find the user manual, it is there, waiting for me to download in PDF format, via a link under the photo of the product. If it breaks down, I don’t even need to look for the warranty or invoice…it’s all in the system. And of course, if I want to buy a new accessory, I can order it directly from their site. They have preselected everything that goes with my product.

Everything is just one click away…simple and friendly. I can’t wait to buy my next item from Darty…

January 5, 2008 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

Navman GPS repair, part 2…its back!

Well, I knew I could trust these guys, my GPS is repaired and back home. The whole thing barely took 2 weeks and it was delivered back by UPS. I’m impressed.

August 10, 2007 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

How my GPS found its way back to the Service organisation

Great service for a great GPSMy Navman F20 GPS broke down the other day (these things happen) and since it was only 6 months old, I contacted Navman’s European Support organisation to find out what I needed to do. After I gave them the serial number of the GPS, and described the problem -it can’t find its internal memory- I was told I would receive an eMail with instructions on how to return it for repair.

A few hours later, the eMail arrived, with a link to an Extranet that contained an image of the label I simply needed to print, stick on the box, and drop off at my nearest post office.

I printed out the label, pre-paid for a French Colissimo express service, which contained my address, the Navman RMA number and several bar codes for tracking purposes and simply dropped it off at the post office, kept the proof of deposit signed by the post office and left.

This whole procedure has been well thought out, is very reassuring for the customer and I am certain that the rest of the process has been optimised to reduce Navman’s costs to the strict minimum while ensuring a speedy repair.

I am now waiting to see how long the apparatus will take to come back, but the first part of my experience is very encouraging…watch this space…

July 26, 2007 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

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