United against United Airlines
As we know, Professor Maxham doesn’t particularly like United Airlines. And I, for one, agree whole heartedly.
I had the misfortune of dealing with United Customer Service a few weeks ago after trying to negotiate a refund for a trip I had to cancel. I had intended to visit my brother in Pensacola, FL where he was stationed with the Navy but he was reassigned to Norfolk a few weeks before my planned trip. When I booked my ticket I opted to purchase flight insurance just to be safe. However after hours on the phone, United is about as willing to give me my money back as Golem was to give Frodo the Ring (LOTR reference).
Now to be fair, United’s policy clearly states that unless it’s a funeral or jury duty, they’re not going to refund your purchase but rather credit toward a future flight. However, being in a class called Customer Value Analytics, I wanted to see if I could use what I’ve learned to make a case for myself. I called customer service for the umpteenth time and asked if I could speak with the representative’s supervisor… I was promptly transfered to Hertz’s rental line. Not exactly what I was hoping for.
After going through the process again and finally getting to speak with a supervisor, he was gracious enough to hear my plea. I made sure to reference the fact that while only 1 in 20 customers who have a positive experience will tell people about it, as many as 1 in 4 will discuss a negative experience with a brand. And after 45 minutes on the phone, the United representative promised that he would personally take my claim to the refunds department. Now I have yet to hear back from United but I made sure I got the supervisor’s name and plan to call back regardless of the outcome. Hopefully I will be thanking him for going above and beyond the call of duty, but it’s entirely likely I will be black-listed from United Customer Service.