Every six weeks I make a trip from one of the London airports to a German city to visit our clients. Due to the location of the nearest airport and the time of the flights, I have been using one of the European low-cost airlines for the last two years for this journey. I am now a registered member with this airline, with a username and password, which enables me to speed up the booking process and ticket payment.
Here is the customer experience I encounter every time I book a flight and use this airline. Once I have chosen the day and time for the flight, and prior to paying for the tickets, the following screens come up:
- Screen 1: Would you like to book a hotel for your trip? No. (In my mind I’m thinking, “The answer has been NO for the last two years!”)
- Screen 2: Would you like to book a hire car for your trip? No. (This is getting boring. I’ve been telling you for the last two years that I do not need a car my visits to this city.)
- Screen 3: Would you like to book travel insurance for your trip? No. (A rather irritated voice in my head is now saying, “I have an annual travel insurance policy and have never bought a single-trip travel insurance in the last two years!”)
- Screen 4: Finally, I get to the payment page and a miracle: Information related to payment has been saved since my last trip and I can quickly purchase my tickets.
I now eagerly await my e-tickets. These arrive promptly the same day and I am all set for my trip. However, the low-cost airline that I have used more than 10 times for this exact trip has a different idea. In the next few days I start receiving what I can only describe as stalking emails.
- Email 1: We are delighted that you have chosen to travel with XXX Airline. Do you need a hotel for your trip? No! I told you when I booked the flight.
- Email 2: We are delighted that you have chosen to travel with XXX Airline. Do you need a hire car for your trip? Nooooo! I told you so when I booked the flight and 10 times in the last two years.
- Email 3: We are delighted that you have chosen to travel with XXX Airline. Do you need travel insurance for your trip? No, no, no! Please stop emailing me all your offers. I am not interested.
Unfortunately, I have no options to leave my comments when receiving these emails so all this irritation just stays in my head. I know from my work experience that managing large customer databases is often a huge challenge for our clients. However, I cannot help think that in the case of this airline, if they have the ability to save credit card and passport details, they should be able to save customer preferences in terms of purchasing services, especially for frequent flyers. Surely, with a couple of business rules implemented in the customer database this could be handled. This would avoid what I can only describe as an aggressive sales technique that drives me mad every time I book a flight. And I cannot add them to my blocked email list because I still need those e-tickets!