Expedia customer support (phone) was very good.

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https://www.expedia.co.jp/より

Change of air ticket schedule to go to the Vienna Philharmonic at the end of the year

In my last post, I talked about how I won a pre-New Year’s concert by the Vienna Philharmonic. I had already booked my flight, but I forgot to check the schedule for the New Year’s holidays, so I had to change the date.

In the beginning, I thought I would just go to the concert and leave on the 2nd and return on the 3rd. However, when I checked carefully, I found out that the 4th of the New Year is Thursday, which means that I have to go to the office only two days in this week, and I might be bored if I only go to Vienna. So I decided to change my air ticket schedule.

Lately I’ve been using Expedia to arrange my airline tickets.

For the past three years, I’ve been using Expedia to arrange my airline tickets. This is because the web interface is easy to use, the search speed is fast, and there are no intermediary fees, so I can find the cheapest tickets.

By the way, Expedia has a lot of packaged tours and cheap impression. I used it when I went to Dubai two years ago and last year. Expedia is a system that you can earn more points if you book a hotel. However, to be honest, I have an impression that Expedia has a lot of tie-ups with high-class hotels, so I have never used it except for short trips, especially for trips around the regions of Europe.

Call customer support for the first time

If you book a ticket on Expedia and then want to change the itinerary, you can only call customer support. So I immediately called the designated number. It wasn’t a toll-free number.

Basically, everything was automatic. The standard style is to follow the voice and press the push button to proceed. First of all, I selected whether I wanted Japanese or English support, and then I was asked what my inquiry was.

Up until this point, Expedia’s customer support was automated, but from the next point on, Expedia’s customer support was a little different from other phone support companies.

[highlight]先日電話した時点で僕の場合は3つの予約が入っていたのですが、これを自動音声で案内してきたのです。[/highlight]

The following items will be automatically read aloud and

  1. 4月出発のマドリードへの航空券
  2. 7月出発のフランスへの航空券
  3. 12月出発のウィーンへの航空券

You will be prompted to push and select which one this inquiry falls under. This is a new type. I think the most common case is to make you enter the reservation code and so on. I had a PC in front of me, so I could check any information immediately, but it is very easy for the customer to simply introduce the details of the reservation like a list of items and let the customer select only the number.

さらにこの次に要求されたことは、[highlight]「このまま電話をつないだまま待つ」かあるいは「折り返し電話を希望する」のか選ぶこと。しかもお客様にお繋ぎするまでの予想時間は13分という連絡も込みで。[/highlight]

Of course there is no other option but to wait for a call back. When I chose that, I was now asked for my contact mobile number. Push the button to enter it. This was the part that required the most number of inputs (push button presses).

携帯番号の入力が終わると、最後に[highlight]「お客様の名前を録音したいので、ピーっとなったら録音してください」[/highlight]と言われました。これは斬新でしたね。この電話タリーズでしていたのですが、自分の名前を録音するときはとても恥ずかしかったです。折り返し電話をする際に使うのでしょうか。

This completes the phone procedure from here. I had to wait for a while after hanging up the phone once following the instructions.

Called back almost exactly when expected.

Then, almost as expected, about 13 minutes after I hung up the phone, I received a call from an unknown number. When I looked at the destination of the call, it seemed to be from Arizona, USA. When I picked up the phone, the person on the other end first said, “The customer is…” and then my name, which I had just recorded, was played back. I was a little embarrassed, so I couldn’t say my name clearly, but I knew for sure it was my voice, so I selected yes and waited for the next response.

After this, I had to wait like this for a while, but it still took about a minute before I was changed to a customer support person. From here on, it was not automatic, but I was dealing with the person in charge.

Well, the person who helped me this time was obviously not a native Japanese speaker from his name and the way he spoke. However, he seemed to be fluent in Japanese, so I tried to speak Japanese as slowly as possible, and asked him to change the date of my air ticket.

By the way, the content of the request was “I want to change the departure from Vienna on the 2nd to the 5th. It’s true that the operator’s Japanese is at a good level, but there were some awkward points, so I said “Futsuka, niniji” and “someday, goniji” twice to make sure I didn’t get the dates wrong. But I didn’t know it was an irregular reading by chance…. However, the operator was able to convey the message well enough even if I said “Futsuka, someday”.

日程変更の希望を伝え終わると、彼(男性の方でした)は、[highlight]「いただいたリクエストについて次の3点についてすべて調べた後、その回答をお伝えいたします。そのまま電話を切らずにお待ち下さい」[/highlight]と言いました。非常に端的でわかりやすい対応です。

The “three points” are as follows.

  1. リクエストした日において、同じ航空会社の便に空席があるか
  2. もし空席がある場合、無料で変更可能なのか
  3. もし有料ならば、追加費用等はいくらになるのか

After that, I might have been made to wait for 5 minutes, or even 10 minutes, but I was able to make the change, although it resulted in an additional charge of 25,000 yen per person.

However, I was slightly dissatisfied with the fact that I had to verbally provide my credit card number and security code on the spot when paying the additional fee at the end.

In any case, the operator was very polite and pleasant, although some of his Japanese was faltering. In addition, Expedia’s system is very reasonably and efficiently manualized, so the process went smoothly from start to finish. Even though it was manual, it was not a casual and opportunistic response, but rather a flexible one, which was a good feeling.

I was very impressed with the customer support system, it was very well thought out. I don’t think there is any other service in Japan that is so well thought out.

A few days later, I received an email requesting me to fill out an online survey!

Immediately after using such convenient and reasonable customer support, I received an email from Expedia asking me to complete a customer support survey.

https://www.expedia.co.jp/より

5 minutes, sure it says the time required is 5 minutes, but I thought it was more than I thought it would be. However, it was a well-designed survey form and I was able to answer it smoothly throughout.

https://www.expedia.co.jp/より

即座にアンケート調査を行うなど、こうした日々サービス向上に余念がないところも外国の企業の素晴らしいところだと思います。ドバイのホテルなどもこうした対応がとても早かったですが、それを思い出しました。どうして日本の企業はこういう姿勢を見習い積極的に取りいれていかないのだろうか…、ますます海外のサービスの利用頻度が高まっているのをひしひしと感じさせる出来事でした。

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