I had a difficult time in making a redemption of my frequent flyer miles at the Singapore Airlines website. This is the first time in 30 years of flying that I try to claim this privilege - as I allowed the redemption miles to expire in the past.
I could not remember my PIN, as the account was created long ago. The previous PIN that I used had since expired and had been changed. I finally managed to find the right PIN to login.
The website was confusing and difficult to use. The webpages behaved in an unexpected manner and keep changing due to some "context". This was developed to be a sophisticated website, but it was a nightmare to me. I finally managed to find a tab called "Online Redemption". It seemed to be what I needed. When I clicked on the tab, I got a blank page. I tried it many times and keep getting a blank page.
I finally decided to call their helpline. There was a long wait to get through to a staff. While waiting, I hear many irrelevant messages and frequent warning that any booking through the call center will incur an administration fee. What a way to treat a customer!
After a long wait, the call was answered by a human voice. I told the staff about the difficulty that I faced in making an online redemption, and in understanding their complicated website. She finally helped me to make the booking of my flight, using my frequent flyer points, and waived the administrative charge. She explained that I got a blank page most probably because the login had expired after a few minutes. How would I, as a customer, know?
If great organisations continue to develop complicated websites with sessions that expire after a short time (for whatever security reasons), they are giving a difficult time for their customers. They must realize that their customers do not visit the website daily to learn about their sophisticated features and complicated behavior.
Tan Kin Lian
PS: The call center staff was helpful, but she had to spend a lot of time giving me warning about the charges that will be incurred and the penalty that will happen, if I were to change the flight. Why spend so much time on these negative matters? It leaves a bad taste with the customer who has to worry about booking of hotels and other matters relating to travel. Why not change the slogan to: a stressful way to fly!
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