I will turn 50 this year. Then comes the question. How do you want to celebrate? I am walking 1000 kilometres to Rome this year and will celebrate on 17 May in St Peter's Square with my husband. But there was also a little voice in my head that I would really like to celebrate with my girlfriends. Something really crazy for once. Extravagant. So... I invited all my girlfriends, my daughter and my mother for a weekend in Italy. I rented a beautiful villa above Verona and arranged for good food, drink and a bike ride through the rolling hills.
Now I did not want to be a travel agent, so I asked all the ladies to pay (and arrange) the ticket themselves. However, it soon became clear that the prices were quite different. One friend was quoted 221 euros and the other 271. In order not to get any lopsided faces, I offered to arrange a group ticket.
So I went to the website on Saturday morning and went through a number of fields. Where do you want to go, what time, with how many people, etcetera etcetera. When I pressed 'Enter' after the last field, I was promised that I would receive an offer within a day.
You can feel it. I got nothing. And I felt the fear, that because of delays on this line, the tickets would only get more expensive. So I started calling, but I couldn't get through. So I waited.
After four days the offer came. And what a quotation it was. Four choices, while I had very clearly indicated what I wanted. 13 tickets and at very specific times to and from Bologna. Within 10 minutes I responded with what I wanted and then I got a kind of contract.
One for which you really have to have been at the Ticketacademie. I also suspect that this is from an AS400 system, when I look at the font. But anyway. A lot of attention to the cancellation conditions, terms and dates. All in text. Four pages full.
It also says when I have to provide a passenger list. Now that is nice, that clarity. But what should a passenger list contain? Only names, or also dates of birth? Or also identity card numbers? I have searched online for what this list should contain, but I cannot find it. What a lack of clarity... Especially because it is so different from how I book an individual ticket. Simply, nicely online, very clear and as it turns out. For a much better price too.
When I agree, I run into a contradiction. The contract says that I have to sign and email it. But the accompanying e-mail says that the payment confirms the reservation. So there is no need to e-mail it. Oh well, just to be sure I sign, scan and confirm. Better safe than sorry. And then I make the first payment. I have to mention "Tigre" and the contract number with the payment. But should I or should I not add the 'A' mentioned in the letter? Or also the '1/1' which is behind it. Oh help. I have paid and hope that this will go well.
So, I don't see the added value of this group booking option. Maybe if you are an event agency and have this kind of software yourself. But I really feel lost as an individual. I will soon have 13 tickets, but I am dependent on an e-mail address that you just have to hope will respond. And a department that I have not been able to reach by phone so far.
Fortunately, it is KLM and I trust that all will be well. It is the big blue bird after all. Which reminds me of the slogan of that other organisation that I associate with blue. We can't make it more fun, but we can make it easier. Well, they should take a look at that here too!
From this blog, I have distilled a number of CX lessons. Curious? Read them here!