I am writing in to share a very unhappy experience in customer service standards at Jetstar.
Despite strong advertising and quality assurances from their website, I found that the customer service at the call center still has a long way to go. Is it Jetstar's policy to impose unfair procedures and poor service standards upon good money-paying consumers?
My wife and I has been looking forward to our holiday in Bangkok in May which we had spent the last 6 months planning for.
However, the recent developments and the escalating violence in Bangkok has derailed our holiday plans.
This has been a disappointment to us, but it was not the most frustrating event.
We had chosen to fly via Jetstar, and it has been one of the worse decisions made so far.
It has totally destroyed my mood for the holiday.
Jetstar had not been helpful with the updates given only five days before the flight date on flight arrangements since the instability in Bangkok.
My wife had called in on late-April 2010, and was informed that no changes in itinerary or flight dates can be made for our flight on 20 May 2010, and that there will be no refund. We left our feedback with regards to our concerns.
Kane reverted with a phone call, and when he was asked what could be done, he replied nothing and cited company policy as his reply, and that information will only be given five days before the flight. When informed of our inconveniences and our wish of not incurring unfair costs, and that Jetstar should give a satisfactory answer to consumers' concerns, he shouted that it is the company policy and that it was our problem, not his.
Imagine our shock at receiving such a reply!
Does Jetstar not place any concern on the customers' well-being? Being in the travel industry, Jetstar should know and understand the costs involved in hotel cancellation and last-minute flight booking fees. Are we to be placed at Jetstar's convenience, and thus, incur such unnecessary costs?
Is it the company's policy to disregard inconveniences to the customers when we have to make travel plans amendments at late notice?
The performance of the service staff, Kane leaves much to be desired as well. Does Jetstar not send the service staff for quality training?
On 16 May 2010, at around 12am, I made another call to Jetstar to check on the status of the flight booking. This time round, I was informed that we are able to choose from three alternatives. I was assured that customers can choose to either change the itinerary, flight dates or get a full refund, and that what was conveyed to me will be uniform throughout the company.
A few hours later at around 2.45am, I called in to cancel the flight and to obtain a refund as our travel plans will be changed.
I was received by Mike. Mike contradicts what his earlier colleague had informed me by saying no refund is allowed. He empasizes greatly on company policy not allowing a refund on our flight, and repeatedly interrupts me when I tried to speak.
Mike is clearly not capable of assisting me. Even so, he outrightly rejects my request to be referred to his superior or a higher authority, claiming that he has every right to do so.
What irks me is that there is no consistency in what is being conveyed to the customers, and that the customer service provided is totally different from what was publicised on their website. Mike has shown me that does not understand and is not capable of quality customer service. He blatantly displays a major disregard for the customers in his display of poor work attitude and unprofessionalism during our conversation. These actions further cement my opinions on the Jetstar experience being significantly in contrast from their assurances online.
There is an obvious lack of hospitality - be it Australian or Asian, and as much as the staff may enjoy being a member of the Jetstar team, I am sure I will definitely not have a travel experience that is refreshing and enjoyable. Judging by how pre-travel has turned out, that is.
What is further appalling is that both Mike and Kane are of a Customer Service Manager-level. What statement is Jetstar telling the public with such customer relations personnel?
We have made calls in to check on Jetstar's developments from April, but were halted by their procedures. Our efforts at being proactively responsible for our own holidays were not appreciated by the service provider.
Alternatives now proposed to us includes itinerary changes in which we have to top-up to current day prices. This is unfair as we had expected this scenario and our efforts to avoid it way back in April 2010 were disregarded by Kane and Mike, both representatives of Jetstar.
Changes to flight dates are available, but the dates are only till 30 June 2010. We have already made arrangements at our work, and this short period of available dates is very unreasonable.
There are many serious considerations which seems that Jetstar has not given due attention to - from the quality management to the actions taken for contingency plans. Even though I understand that the calls were routed to Jetstar's Melbourne's office and we were received by the Melbourne's staff, it does not mean that such service lapses should be allowed.
Our request for a refund were made after taking into consideration the advice given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the shortcomings of the remaining two alternatives proposed. The other reason being a huge disappointment in Jetstar, and that I wish to bring any current and future business of mine away from the company. The company has failed to give me any options for an everyday low-fare travel based on the high overall costs to my preferred destinations, nor does experiences to date show that I will be enjoying a refreshing travel experience.
From experience shared by my peers, customer-care actions in the handling of flights to Bangkok in the relevant period by other budget airlines, i.e. Tiger Airways were more considerate of their customers' needs and concerns.
Singapore has already established herself as a country with applaudable service standards, I sincerely hope that such service lapses will not affect us.
I will definitely think twice when choosing Jetstar, personally feeling that they have established themselves as an organisation with no relevant concern for their customers, and will strongly advise all other potential travellers to consider their choices wisely.