I love Air New Zealand – I spend a significant amount of time on their planes and try, whenever possible, to evangelize them as an airline. The have, in my view, the best service bar none, and it’s always a pleasure to travel with them. So on the (admittedly exceptionally rare) occasions when I’m less than ecstatic with something they do, it’s a particular shock.

A case in point happened this morning relating to travel insurance (and, check out another issue someone has had relating to insurance). As someone who takes around 20 international rips  year, I use a multi-trip insurance policy provided via the Annual Koru Cover. This cover is provided by a third party, in this case QBE Insurance, but is branded by Air New Zealand – as such it should really come with the level of quality and service that we expect rom our airline.

This morning I had a little downtime and it occurred to me that I should check when my policy expired. I called QBE’s call center only to be very rudely handled by the call taker on the other end who seemed only interested in getting rid of me as quickly as possible. Once I finally got through o someone I managed to put what I thought was a simple question o them;

  • Me – “Hi, I have annual multi-trip Koru insurance cover which I believe expires soon. I’m a busy guy and just wanted to make sure that you’d be sending out an automatic reminder to renew the policy”
  • She – “No, we don’t do that”
  • Me – “But you must have people that end up uninsured just because you depart from the way every other insurance company works which is to send out a renewal form close to the policy expiry date”
  • She – “No, we don’t do this”

For anyone who has had a fair bit to do with Air New Zealand, this exchange will come as something completely atypical from hat we normally expect from the airline.

Guys – your brand is based around great Kiwi service and providing a consistency that other airlines do not. Please do something about extending that to your industry partners.

Update – Air New Zealand replied to me via email with a well-reasoned response as follows;

Please accept my apologies that the experience you had when enquiring about renewing your annual policy was not up to scratch.  Since receiving your feedback I have spoken with QBE, our Travel Insurance Partner, and shared your experience.  Both Air NZ and QBE pride ourselves on the service we provide to our customers and on this occasion it would appear that the service wasn’t up to scratch. QBE have taken it upon themselves to review processes and reinforce expectations with their service agents in an effort to ensure service standards are consistently met.

In regards to your specific query, we acknowledge that there is scope for improvement in the way in which we deal with the renewal process and ironically we have been reviewing this process with QBE prior to receiving your feedback.  We are still reviewing the options but you can expect that a more pro-active communication model will be adopted shortly.

Kudos for the response AirNZ

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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