How one blogpost changed Air France's approach to customer service

Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 11:07pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA Webdesk
One keyboard wielding unhappy Air France flyer not only got his money's worth for bad service, but brought about changes in how the company dispenses customer service.

If there was ever a better example of the power of social media to bring about quantitative change, this has to be it. A couple of months ago we reported about an angry blog by a certain Jay Shah that not only went viral across the web, but also drew a response from the Air France management

In the blog, an annoyed Shah wrote an open letter to the chairman and CEO of Air France sharing his travel woes with the airline. As things go on the internet, the blog went viral earning Air France the much-unneeded negative public reaction. People tweeted at them and spammed their Facebook timeline with Jay Shah's blog.

What followed was an exchange of very public emails between the corporate and the customer, in which, Jay Shah and his brother met with Yeshwant Pawar, general manager of South Asia and Tjalling Smit, senior VP of Middle East, Gulf and India, from Air France-KLM group.

The meeting, as documented by Shah on his blog, describes the initiatives undertaken by the company following Shah's tragic customer experience.

“Regarding the compensation, they have assured me that every passenger on our flight who has contacted either Air France or KLM will be offered €600 in Cash or €800 in Travel Credit,” writes Shah.

Although he adds, “Pawar expressed their helplessness towards contacting passengers who have booked tickets through travel agents, as the agents often don't share customer contact details with the airline. I, therefore, suggest all the passengers who wish to claim compensation and haven't contacted the airline yet, to do so soon.”

He lists down the changes discussed, “Meal Vouchers are now monetised instead of being itemised so that the person facing an irregularity has the right to eat a meal worth €20. Air France Terminal Lounges will be accessible by passengers flying any class in case of flight cancellations, depending on the lounge capacity. Efforts were being made to make sure there are adequate number of wheel chairs at all times for passengers who need wheel chair assistance."

Shah has also been invited to Paris for a couple of nights to “to brief the station managers about our incident and educate them to avert such a crisis in the future”.

And if that wasn't enough, Indian Ambassador to France along with Air France-KLM officials convened a meeting with the French Embassy on December 4 to discuss matters related to granting Transit Visas to all passengers who have faced a flight cancellation.

This phenomenon, while it sure makes Jay Shah a contemporary hero of sorts, is also a reflection of the ever rising trend of social media justice.

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