Arik-Air and Air-Peace Customer Service -A Tale Of Two Airlines
Arik-Air and Air-Peace have been acclaimed to be Nigeria’s renowned domestic airlines. Needless to say, customer service experience is one of the benchmarks used to appraise business services. Future patronage is often guaranteed when customers are happy. Funny enough at the recently concluded Aviation Committee virtual conference (June 25, 2020) nothing was said on it. But can we honestly praise Arik-Air and Air-Peace airlines? This is my story…
Some time ago, I booked a flight to Port Harcourt from Lagos using Arik-Air. I paid for my ticket on their online platform after following due process. I was debited but wasn’t issued the e-ticket, as expected. I called the customer care lines on the website to lay my complaints, but as soon as I requested to speak to a customer care agent, I was placed on hold for 30 minutes. I ran out of airtime and had to recharge my phone again to call. Once again I was placed on hold. To cut the long story short, after about one hour and 2000 naira worth of airtime, I got cut off. I had to go all the way to Arik headquarters in Ikeja, to get my issue resolved. The attitude of the staff I encountered is another story of its own.
I used the same airline once again to Port Harcourt. I got to my destination only to discover that the luggage I checked in was forgotten in Lagos. The stress I went through to get them across is best left to the imagination. Sadly, the inept attitude exhibited by Arik airline in dealing with customers has become the norm.
How about Air Peace? I had a critical interview with NDIC in Abuja for 12 o’clock but my 8 o’clock scheduled flight did not leave till 11.00 and I didn’t even get as much as an apology. Alas! I missed that golden opportunity. Some months ago, before COVID-19, the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema tasked his staff to deepen their customer service and improve on their crisis management skill to foster a better relationship with their customers, but the laissez-faire goes on.
No doubt, Air-Peace and Arik-Air have been able to maintain safety and stability in their flights and have not recorded any fatality up to this date, which is very commendable. But when it comes to customer service, both airlines have a lot to improve on. When Arik Airline cancels a flight, its’ staff suddenly vanish instead of dealing heads on with the irate customers. Arik-Air issued a statement stating, scratch that, begging, that in the case of any unforeseen event, customers should not go heavy on the case. Meaning that if they are not satisfied with a service, they should just smile and act like everything is OK. Only in Nigeria!
So many call-outs have been made; verbally, in writing, on the social media handles of these companies, complaining of their lackadaisical approach to customer service, but the experience remains the same. Positive actions should be taken immediately, and Nigerians need to start reading relevant documents at their leisure. It was only recently I learnt that when the customer service is nowhere to be found, and the NCAA (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority) cannot resolve the matter, there is the FCCPC (Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission) to complain to. More so, stakeholders are thinking of exploring mediation methods at the Lagos State Multi-Door Court house over disputes. But there will be no need for all that if the airlines can simply improve their customer services. Improve, that is all we ask.