Saturday, December 30, 2006

Talking Turk

Is it possible to have an outstanding customer experience in under two hours? Apparently it is, with Turkish Airlines – Turk Hava Yollari. This carrier supplied the link to Athens from Istanbul, the only non-KLM leg we’ll have flown.

Our very early AM check-in went smoothly and we ambled down to the gate to find a rare light flight, maybe because it was early, Maybe because it was Tuesday, maybe because the “second day of Christmas” is a holiday in Greece. The THY check-in agent was completely friendly and when she saw my height, she changed our seats to the emergency exist row without being asked. The THY Airbus 330-200 was immaculate; the aircrew was capable and everyone smiled.

A call to the airline number in Istanbul on 25 December had already prepared me in a way – impressed the hell out of me in fact. Come to find out that THY has already won a couple of awards for its call center.

I read in the airline’s flight magazine, Skyways, that THY’s Chairman, Candan Karlitekin, had laid down these “good customer” initiatives at the beginning of 2006. They had a positive and measurable effect on us in what is, after all, an hour-and-forty-minute flight. THY code-shares with American Airlines (yuck!) to Chicago from Houston and thence overseas. It’s an airline that deserves a second look – especially since it’s the off-season for Istanbul.

What’s a good customer experience worth to THY? About $500 for our two tix, this time.

The key point is that this relationship started with the call center – your choice of Turkish or impeccable English, helpful and friendly in every way. Once again, it shows how critical an outstanding call center is to good customer interface…and a worthwhile try-out if you’re looking for good call center examples. Happy New Year to all.

1 comment:

Susan Kirkland said...

Dear Amiable one: you are far too young to be sitting around the house in your jammies--or for that matter, flitting about the world on holiday.

Go home, start a bonafide business and hang out your shingle. Rent real office space. Give a few novices intern jobs, teach them what you know and pick up a few coke accounts. Overwhelm your art director friends with freelance work. Make those connections PAY.

Just your New Year's [Imp]etus dropping a coin on you. Life is short. Kick ass.