Virgin leaves bad taste – an open post to Richard Branson

Before I begin writing this let me just say that I love virgin and Richard Branson is one of my idols.

That’s why I was so disappointed about two weeks ago when flying virgin blue from Sydney to Melbourne.

My flight got canceled and I was told the next available seat will be six hours away.

Then I was offered a full refund on my entire flight.

This is fair but as it was a business trip I didn’t pay for the ticket anyway so this wasn’t something that made me feel better.

As it was 37 degrees in Sydney and I wasn’t dressed for the beach so I’ve decided to buy a book and stay at the airport. After about four hours I had enough.

I was tired, upset and after getting up at 4:30am that day to fly to Sydney, I really didn’t feel so good.

So, I went back to the virgin staff and asked if I can wait at the lounge for the remaining two hours.

The answer was no. “The lounge is for members only”. Now I felt even worse.

It didn’t help that they all say “sorry” or “I’m terribly sorry” a lot accompanied with this sad-ish, meaningful/blank face expression. It’s the kind of sorry that actually tells you: “I’m not really sorry it just what I’ve been trained to say in this case”.

OK, let’s see, the cost of having me wait in the lounge for two hours is zero. On the other side, what is the cost of me having a bad experience?

Virgin could have changed my feeling with one small gesture. Then instead of telling people about my awful virgin experience, I could have told them about how nice it was waiting in the virgin lounge.

By sticking to “regulations” and not thinking, virgin had lost its place in my mind as a great brand.

Sorry Richard, I didn’t have a good experience, I had a LOUSY one.

If you want to learn what it means to really feel your customers read this post about Zappos and what Seth Godin has to say about it.

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