Cost and service

2016-09-01 06:00

I HAVE just finished a very enjoyable and humorous read called Ruinair by an Irish author by the name of Paul Kilduff­ who has a full dig at the pitfalls one could experience by using low-cost airlines.

Understanding how an airline could charge just one cent to travel short haul to some often wayward and isolated airports in Europe is intriguing to say the least.

The airlines make all sorts of other revenues through creative charges over and above the base price. Some have even contemplated charges for on board use of the loo.

Needless to say the airline in the book has been challenged in terms of their levels of service and staff motivation to meet the expectation of the flying customer.

I being of Scottish descent like the idea of cheap anything however when it comes to tourism, no matter how inexpensive a service may be there is one overriding factor that will bring the customer back time and time again and that is whether the client felt satisfied with the deal.

Kilduff sums it up well when he says “customer service is about warmth, amenability, compassion, flexibility, and fairness but most of all it’s about the people who deliver it”.

I fully concur with his view and down here we have hospitality offerings that range from bespoke high end to economy and throughout this spectrum each customer wants people to have the endearing attitude that can meet their expectation.

I know from experience that a host with a good approach is more likely to appease a concerned customer than one who is indifferent and couldn’t care-less. The latter usually gets exposed on the internet or on social media- bad for business.

Backpacker establishments for example usually do not charge high prices and I am aware of one proprietor in the Drakensberg who regularly and without charge will drive guests over 40km to meet up with a lift or bus in Underberg. Such gestures go a huge distance in getting product and host community well respected and supported.

Our local airline CemAir is not a low-cost carrier and their service is up there with the best because all personnel go that little bit further for the paying customer.

I will send their CEO Miles ven der Molen a copy of the book, I am sure he will chuckle at the read and know that it is unlikely that a similar book will be ever written about his OR Tambo to Margate service.

In the mean time I am stalking the internet for bargain prices for our 2017 holiday to the UK and France. With the exchange rate pretty heavy, I think I will need to if I am to afford even a pie and a beer over there. It’s in my Gaelic blood you know.

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