The last two weeks I’ve tried to cancel summer flights with Expedia. The trip isn’t happening. When booked a long time ago we thought there was a chance we’d be traveling.
I know I won’t get a refund, but I’d love to get credit for future flights.
One recent afternoon I spent a lovely 2 hours on hold listening to the Expedia playlist. I gave up at the 2 hour mark.
There’s no contact form or email on the website.
There’s an AI live chat for canceling trips but it tells me my itinerary number doesn’t exist so that’s a dead-end.
Expedia is a black hole.
Today I threw a Hail Mary and sent emails to various corporate departments… investor relations, careers, advertising and partnership departments.
Yeah, I know… futile.
I know the recipients in those hallowed departments will probably just laugh, joke with their office pals about another idiot emailing them and delete it. I’m not naive.
Knowing this I did my best to at least make the email somewhat interesting. I spared them the “YOUR SERVICE IS THE WORST” expletive-filled, angry email they probably get in droves.
Instead I explained I’m a shareholder via a mutual fund and while I don’t want to pull rank with my .00000000000000000001% holdings, as a loyal customer I’d sure be grateful for some help. I sympathized with the travel industry knowing it’s been blood and guts all over the place, financially speaking. I also said while their on-hold music playlist is pretty good, I’ve looped through twice but am grateful for some of the great tune ideas that I added to one of my playlists.
After providing details of my flights, I ended with “I really didn’t want to email you as I know you have far better things to do but it was the only email address I could find. All I ask is for you to forward my plea for help to someone who can help.“
Will it work? Doubtful.
And then there’s my bank.
My bank earned a net profit of $3.8 BILLION in 2020. Banks make bank, it seems, in good and bad times.
But, that wasn’t enough. After all, they earned $5.1 billion in 2019.
What’s a bank to do? No bank can tolerate a $1.3 billion drop in income. Unacceptable.
Cut costs, that’s what they do. And cut costs they did.
In their infinite wisdom, they no longer have human tellers at most bank branches. It’s all machines. The bank 50 feet from my office is a lounge with banking machines. I’m not kidding. There are plush chairs with coffee tables throughout. The machines line the walls. Maybe I should ditch my lease and work there. It’s very nice.
While bank machines are pretty slick these days, they can’t do everything. Machines can’t wire money or issue money orders.
When I need human help, I email my financial advisor at the bank. This is the last thing she wants to deal with. She didn’t sign up to send wires. She’s a lauded CFP.
She forwards my emails to the bank branch manager.
I gotta hand it to the manager. She rocks. She’s sent wires for me and has done plenty of other things.
She’s now the only “teller” for the entire branch.
She must be going insane although she doesn’t have any staff to manage.
It’s great for me because I have her email address. I don’t have go to the bank. I just email her.
Easy for me. Profitable for the bank. Bad for bank managers.
Don’t apply to be a bank manager.
I’m all for saving money but if you choose to operate a customer service business, you need to invest in customer service.
It should not be viewed as an expense except for accounting purposes.
It should be be viewed as an investment.
I’ve always liked Expedia. It made booking trips easy. One portal with everything in it. Great search functions. Easy and convenient. Customer service used to be decent.
After this fiasco I doubt I’ll use Expedia again.
I will probably use human travel agents.
They seem so 1980’s but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a big comeback.
For an extra $20 per flight, you get a human being who does the booking. If there’s a problem, they deal with it.
As for my bank, I’ll stay with it although I don’t know how long the current manager will.
Which is why I avoid incorporating revenue streams on my niche sites that require customer service.
Customer service is not fun. It’s not fun providing it. It’s not fun setting up a team to handle it. It’s not fun.
I didn’t get into online publishing so that I could field angry emails all day.
I got into online publishing because it’s largely passive.
It’s a one-way biz.
I find topics. I write. I publish. I’m done.
Don’t like my site?
My site, my rules.