Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We just don't want to hear from you!

Emirates Care-O-Meter
Nowadays (I love that word) organizations spend an enormous amount of time, energy and money making themselves impenetrable by clients.
Many web sites I have used during the last year or so do not in fact have a contact number - or even an email address. 
If you want to communicate with the company you fill out an online enquiry form and submit it (to who knows where). 
To get to this enquiry form you have to perform a number of maneuvers including visiting the FAQ site to make sure that you really, really do have to contact them with your grubby, stupid, pointless little enquiry. 
The enquiry form has a number of subjects from which you can choose. I rarely encounter a site that has the subject I want to address - so have to pick one at random.
This will almost certainly mean that I do not get a response - but that’s OK - I’m not really expecting one. 
Sure I will get an instant email saying something like ‘Thank you for your enquiry - we will attend to this immediately and respond to you’.
The message will then be deleted from the company’s server. 

There are also many who specialize in making their websites unusable. I guessing that the programmers (who may well be Macaque monkeys based in Burkina Faso) have never actually tried to use the websites - and indeed could not care less - as long as the sites look good. 
The two worst sites in the world (that I have encountered) are Telstra Australia and Qantas.
The Qantas site is almost unusable unless you want to book a flight using Frequent Flyer points - in which case it is completely, totally and comprehensively unusable. 
If for example you wish to book - as I did a few months ago - a Business Class ticket Vienna-Sydney return using Frequent Flyer points you have to fill out the usual form giving your details and needs and then input your desired dates.
When you click ‘submit’ a message will inevitably say ‘There are no seats available on these dates. Please choose new dates’.
The form will then be cleared of the dates and you can start again. It took me about five hours to find days that had seats available.
If they wanted you to use it they would show a calendar with the days seats are available - rather than making you play seat roulette. But they don’t want you to use it, or just don’t care, or are incompetent - or all three.

But then - Macaque monkeys just don't use Frequent Flyer points. 
The third worst site I have encountered is Emirates. 
Cate left her glasses on our Emirates flight home from Australia so we tried to get them back. It was a futile and sobbingly hopeless quest. I emailed, again and again  - I tried to call (don't bother). 
Today she received an email from Emirates saying they had a new link for customer enquiries. So I used it. My message is as follows. 
“Thanks for giving me a new contact site because all my previous emails have gone unanswered. 
So I thought I would give it one more try.
On flight EK 413 on July 13 2010 from Sydney to Dubai I was sitting in seat 14K and left my glasses and earrings on the plane in  my side pocket in business class. 
The staff in the business class lounge in Dubai said they would get them - and hours later said they could not get access to the plane. They said they would get them as soon  as they could access the plane. They said the aircraft had been 'sealed'. 
I left my business card with them. 
I have sent three emails to you without any kind of response whatsoever. 
I really don't expect to see the glasses again but it would be nice to know that there is not someone sitting somewhere and just deleting all the emails you get without reading them. 
And sure it was my fault - and perhaps it was also my own fault for giving Emirates Business Class a try. I travel 250,000 miles every year with Star Alliance and thought it might be nice for a change. 
I mean if I pay you such a large amount of money for 2 Business Class airfares Vienna-Australia return I thought I may warrant a reply to an email.
Let me help you with a draft reply.
Dear Ms Martin
Thank you for your enquiry.
We regret that a thorough search of the aircraft at the time and our lost property section since then has not enabled us to find your glasses and earrings.
Emirates etc
See - it's that easy - you can just cut and paste that and send it back to me.
Kind regards
Cate Martin

And - no - I don't expect a response. 


  1. Once upon a time paying for an upgrade would ensure a certain level of service.

  2. I'd have to vote for Optus as no. 1. You go round and round in circles, clicking on links that don't work. It's like a maze that you can never escape.

  3. Funny, as soon as you started complaining about websites I immediately thought of Qantas!

  4. Have you thought of asking Oprah to take you to Australia? ;-)

  5. angiv: I am not expecting one - but the Pope is in London so something may happen.

    Merisi: Those were the days....

    KP: I should give Optus a try.

    Wanderlust: It is an absolute ripper of a site.

    Merisi: Well she already has 300 people on her plane.

  6. Badger,
    you could always try standby! ;-)