If you have a problem or question, send Air Canada a fax...
Not Andrea 005371.
Instead, I can fax Air Canada, and someone will respond. Not email, on the cusp of 2010, and not a phone call, no way. Fax. Brilliant. What a terrific way to deflect an irate passenger.
If you disagree with this, please send me a fax....in 1993.
My recommendation- If you are going to insulate yourself from your customers and be inaccessible, then you need to buffer your front line staff, as they will bear the brunt of your customers’ displeasure. In the 1900s, businesses started to empower their employees. In this particular instance, the front line really only needs to be empowered to disclose whatever information is available. The news had already been in the press that there was some situation involving a bomb on a flight coming in to the U.S. The upheaval that this created turned out to be far reaching but, at the time, it meant that the plane for our 6 o’clock flight was not likely getting in until 10:15. We were instead put on to the 8:30 flight. An information burst could be sent to each terminal. If keeping your front line staff informed is too scary a concept, then certainly the on site manager, “Andrea 005371” should be empowered with some information. It is not likely to defuse the situation when an on site manager says to a customer, “I am going to stop talking to you now”, which is (paraphrased) what Andrea 005371 said to me.