You catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar

In life it seems like it is so easy to grab someone by the throat and yell at them when they don’t tell you what you’d like to hear.  Frankly this is the best option in rare scenarios, but sometimes it takes a soft approach to get what you’d like.  Think about it, when your kids throw a fit are you more likely to help them, or do you want to leave them in Wal-Mart with the people of Wal-Mart to care for them?  I’ve been tempted to leave my son behind a few times….

Tonight I was faced with a peculiar circumstance.  A close friend called me up and explained that they weren’t going to be able to take an upcoming flight due to a medical circumstance.  The knee-jerk reaction was to call customer service, right? Wrong.  The scripted CSR replied that a change in itinerary would result in a $200 change fee.  OUCH!

How do they dare charge you $200 because you just got diagnosed with cancer?  I took it upon myself to contact the real Customer Service team (@deltaassist) on Twitter.  We’ve talked about this before and explained that the best Customer Service is found on Twitter.

What was the title of this post?

Sorry if you’re confused about the title of this post.  It just basically means that you’ll get much farther with being nice, sweet, and loving to the customer service reps than you will being a grump.  Just like your child from the beginning, remember?

My tweet mentioned that this person had been recently diagnosed with cancer and she was hoping to move the flight to another time later when she wasn’t in the middle of her treatments.

Her name is XXXXXX and the confirmation number is *********.  She recently had her thyroid removed & now is prepping for radiation treatment.  Can you please waive the change fees?

Boom.  It was done before I knew it.  She had dropped the ticket, and given a voucher that could be used for up to 8 months from today without even flinching.  A simple please and a soft approach did much more than a fist to the jugular.

That Was Easy

Already we were worlds ahead of the initial phone call to customer service that took 4 times as long.  Victory was ours and we had saved $200.

The idea behind a change fee does make sense.  It is tough to think that you’ve got a full flight when people are changing their flights at the last minute.  However, our circumstances were different.  An unforeseen medical condition had made travel extremely difficult.  Fortunately the CSR understood and was able to make a special adjustment for us.

Wait….There is More….

Somehow Delta scores extra points late in the game with their response to our next request.  We had this great idea that we could send her son on this vacation instead of putting the entire trip off to a later date.  We knew we were biting off more than we could chew.

Sheepishly I fired up my twitter account again to visit with the CSR about ANOTHER potential change.  I made sure to start off with something really appreciative showing that they had already made our day with their current decision.  It went something like this…

Thank you for all of your help tonight.  You’ve been most helpful.  Sally hasn’t been feeling well, and we appreciate you making the change.  This does present a different complication in that my wife was supposed to travel with Sally, who was going to help her with our two children.  They are ages 3 and 1.  Having someone go would be so helpful, is there any way that Sally’s son could take her place?

The response came back quickly and cold.

Unfortunately tickets can’t be changed to other people’s names.  I’m sorry.

I was stunned, but not knocked out.  I came back with a simple response:

Dang.  Is that some kind of law or a company policy?

Silence filled the airways for about 10 minutes.  I was about to waive the white flag of surrender when the response came back.

I’ll make an exception & change the ticket name, what is his name and date of birth?

This was a big victory for us.  My wife was going to have a helper on her trip, no change fees would be paid, and Delta filled the seat that they had already sold to Sally.  It seems like everyone was a winner at the end of the day.  Fortunately my patience and understanding paid off.

What did you learn today?

Basically we’ve covered the fact that being SUPER nice to the CSR’s on Twitter is definitely the way to handle a special circumstance like this.  Tell them that you appreciate them and how great they are.  When all was said and done I sent out a shout-out tweet to them like this:

@deltaassist is the bomb.  These guys really go above and beyond.  Thank you @delta!

It is the small things that can really happen if you’re nice to these people who have the power to help you.  Remember that you’ll catch a lot more flies with honey than you will with vinegar!

This entry was posted in Delta, How to Wanderlust, Travel Tips, Travel Tricks and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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