In General

This is a follow up post to my experience with ClearTrip during my trip to Kuala Lumpur. Please read the first part if you are new to this. Also read the blog post by Hrush, Cleartrip’s co founder. ( Apologies for the delay in writing the second part.)

After a harrowing experience at the Chennai Airport and a thrilling last minute rush, me and my wife were on board the Malaysian Airlines flight to KL. As soon as I landed, I had to rush to the conference venue. This kept the bitter memories off my head as I was fully occupied with the conference.

Once the conference got over, later that evening, I wrote a detailed post on Cleartrip’s Customer Forum. I knew that forum posting will have to meander through layers of authority and hence I followed it up with emailing Hrush, the co-founder and Nikhil Godbole, Senior Manager, Operations.

Prior to this, I also made a tweet venting my frustration. I wanted to make a detailed blog post but a combination of complete lack of sleep the previous night and a draining day at the conference left me with little energy. That’s when I realized the importance of Twitter. You get to say what you want to say in quick time. No wonder Twitter is cannibalizing blogs!

I wasn’t expecting a prompt reply. Cleartrip surprised me here. Nikhil wrote an apology email and confirmed that my tickets for both me and my wife will get taken care of. I was asked for my hotel phone number and soon enough, he gave me a call.

The next day, I received an email with the PNR details for our return flight. Nikhil called me up once again to give me the confidence that they had double checked the tickets.

To me and my wife, having a confirmed return tickets was a major source of relief. We could now enjoy our vacation without worrying about nasty surprises.

On the morning of Day 5 in KL, the day we were to fly back, I received an email from
Cleartrip saying that they have bumped us up to Business Class. They explained that they were sorry for spoiling our Wedding anniversary and wanted to make up.

We were spoilt bad on Business Class. Pampered would be an understatement. There were just two other passengers in the entire Business Class. This meant that the stewardesses out-numbered us.

I consciously ordered Champagne. As we toasted, we couldn’t help but think of the stark difference between the two experiences. What started on a disastrous note ended on a fairytale.

Important lessons learnt.

It’s natural to screw up. But it takes courage to admit one’s mistake.

I’d give credit to Cleartrip for following up and resolving the issue. The phone calls and prompt reply helped.

Before making the blog post on Cleartrip’s blog, Hrush wrote to me seeking my permission to take this incident as a case study and to explain the reasons. I agreed. He earned my respect for following this simple courteous gesture.

I will continue to use Cleartrip to book tickets. But from now on, I will take the extra effort to make a phone call to the airline to confirm the tickets. Definitely so, if its an international one.

Twitter is indeed powerful. I no longer look at it as a ego-massaging, narcissistic tool. It’s a fantastic community tool. Just this morning, I had requested for an illustrator for children’s book and I got over 20 personal references via email and Twitter. Now, that’s usefulness.

Twitter is useless if it is used as a PR announcement tool. It’s strength comes in when corporates engage in genuine conversations. Cleartrip gets a thumps up for that.

You need balls of steel to point your customers to vent their frustration and complaints on your corporate website in full public view. At first sight, it looked like having the public Customer Forum on Cleartrip’s site is like shooting your own feet. At least that’s what most PR folks at a conference in Bangalore said when I took Cleartrip as a case study. But look deeper and you will notice that they use it as a transparent tool to show resolution of complaints. And they are using the public scrutiny to their advantage to resolve issues.

I’m looking forward to the reimbursement of the ticket money from them. I’m assuming that’s under process.

Also, looking forward to the changes that Cleartrip said they will be making based on the learnings from this incident.

Like they say, Alls well that ends well.