Thursday, 1 May 2008

BMI says sorry

The story so far: Airline BMI recently offered its most frequent flyer's money off a future flight. When I redeemed the offer I was stung with extra call centre fees and fare charges. I complained to BMI's Head of Loyalty marketing.

I sent a copy of my post 'BMI Not so Very Rewarding' to Jenna Rowley, BMI's Loyalty Programme Manager. At first she disputed that BMI had shortened the promotion - giving passengers less time to redeem their discounted flight. She agreed however that customers booking the discounted flight via the call centre would incur extra charges. But there was more - she was investigating my complaint - personally.

When I sent her copies of the promotional email - with the changed dates, she conceded that there had been an error. But she went further - she telephoned me to apologise. She explained that this was a new promotion. They really had intended to give regular customers money off, but then they had encountered a number of problems. Their systems didn't allow for e-vouchers, and they couldn't give the call centre staff authority to waive the handling fee on a case by case basis.

Apparently I'm not the only customer who's complained. But BMI has more to its apology. she offered to refund the call centre handling fee and the difference between the web site and the call centre fare. She explained that they are working hard to upgrade their systems to allow for e-vouchers and they'll think through any further new promotions much more carefully. The last thing they intended to do was annoy their regular passengers.

Fair play BMI. They deliver a streamlined service at a sensible price. I am impressed that they haven't forgotten who they're working for (unlike BA perhaps). Sometimes saying 'sorry' is enough. We all know how unforeseen problems can jump out and bite us - despite the best laid plans. It's nice when companies admit mistakes, rather than remain silent or make excuses.

So I'm very happy to remain a loyal customer; thanks BMI.

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