Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, my daughter was doing some volunteer work in South America, helping people who have been rescued from the human trafficking industry. She was down there for about a year, and my wife and I had traveled down to visit her. Just as we were leaving, the pandemic went into full swing, and things started getting pretty bad in the country my daughter was in.
I started trying to find every way I possibly could to get our daughter out of the country she was in, and back onto American soil. I was calling the embassy, my congressmen, and my governor. I was purchasing every plane ticket I possibly could from airlines with a return policy. The cost was immaterial. I even purchased a ticket in excess of $3,000 in the effort to get my daughter home. Finally, after almost 2 months of daily effort, my daughter was home safe. My troubles from the ideal were far from over, however.
During the weeks we were trying to get our daughter home, I purchased a ticket from an airline I had never heard of before: Avianca Airlines. When the flight I had bought the ticket for was canceled on their side, I filled out their refund form, and waited. They told me it would take up to 30 days for my refund to arrive. 4 months later, I still had not received a refund, and I was getting frustrated. When I called them to see why my money had not been returned, I was given the short response, “I’m sorry sir, it’s corporate policy.”
I will not ever buy a ticket from Avianca Airlines again. The lesson to be learned here? Blaming “corporate policy” for straight up stupidity will never earn you popularity points or praise for good customer service. It may be convenient to blame a silent, inanimate object for an inconvenient situation, but it is one of the worst things you can do in customer service. When you’re confronted with a messy, upsetting situation, don’t do like this company did! Instead, be genuine and up-front with your customers – even if what you really want to do is blame company policy.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: