Every once in awhile we get the chance to witness a feat of incredible customer service that reminds us that the stars are aligned, people are nice and that the world is a wonderful, dreamy place. This just happened to me on a business trip to India.
Over a ten day period, I flew from the U.S. to Mumbai, then Pune and then Bangalore, India, to attend a customer conference and then to meet with our local customer service team members. The trip was a huge success, with the exception of my laptop glitch.
Like most business travelers, I traveled to India with my laptop. And like most business travelers, one of the first things I did after I checked in to my hotels, was go to my room and plug in my laptop to charge it and check email. That is exactly what I did when I arrived in Mumbai and then again in Pune. However, when I got to Bangalore and looked in my travel bag, the laptop slot was empty. I stared with disbelief, could feel my adrenalin pumping and then muttered a few choice curse words.
In a state of growing panic, I went down to the hotel’s front desk and asked for some help. Since I am used to U.S. hotel customer service, my expectations were fairly low. I expected to hear something like, “Sorry to hear that mam. Would you like the phone number of the Pune airport?” Instead, I got a completely different response.
The manager on duty clearly stated, “I will take care of this for you Ms. Reynolds. We will get your laptop back”. I offered to help and to call my company’s travel service and they said, “No need. Let us run with this and get back to you with updates”.
Over the next 24 hours, four different hotel employees worked on the laptop recovery. Occasionally, I was asked for information or signatures, but the hotel employees handled 99% of the work. Every time I walked by an employee in the hallway, they would offer updates on progress and reinforce that they would get me the device. I also received telephone updates mapping their progress.
When I thanked these employees, the standard response was, “No problem Ms. Reynolds. We are just doing are job”.
First, they uncovered that the laptop was indeed in Pune, India and not stolen by another traveler. Then they determined which airport and airline employees they needed to talk with. And ultimately, they negotiated a deal where the laptop was sent on a cargo plan from Pune to Bangalore and handed to one of the hotel drivers.
I first discovered that the laptop was missing Saturday afternoon. At 6AM Monday morning, it was handed to me in perfect condition, just in time for my business meetings. The entire recovery service was free, with the exception of a $40 USD courier charge.
Wow… an incredible customer service experience during my India trip! Makes you wonder what we can do to make our customers feel so special…..
Some of you may be wondering, how the heck did Marci leave her laptop at the Pune security desk? Here’s the story..
- The security process in India is not the same as in other airports. In the U.S., the security guards advise you to watch your personal items through the entire process of screening. In the Pune airport, female travelers are separated from their belongings and asked to wait in a line for a manual pat down in a closed off, screened booth. I lost sight of my belongings (a small suitcase, my pocketbook with money, prescriptions and credit cards, and my laptop) for close to ten minutes. While waiting, it was possible for any other travelers to claim my items and walk away.
- The line through security was so long that the plane had already begun boarding, so I was also worrying about possibly missing my plane.
- When the pat down was over and I was allowed to leave the booth, my main concern was grabbing my pocketbook. I found that first and then my carry on, but forget about the laptop. End of story. A very non-Marci move, that will never happen again.