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The Kiruba incident

About a week ago, a Twitter user, @kiruba, posted a status update with a link to a post he created on the Cleartrip Forum. His Twitter update said:

ClearTrip.com took my money and DID NOT book my ticket to Malaysia. Had a harrowing experience at airport. http://is.gd/TtH6

Within a short period of time, 40 new Twitter status updates were posted. Some were simply ‘retweeting’ Kiruba’s update; while others were demanding explanations, crucifying Cleartrip or pushing their own personal agendas.

As a customer-centric company, we are on Twitter to help our customers. We’re also a company that places a very high premium on being transparent and honest with our customers; and this blog post is a blow-by-blow explanation of everything that happened here.

We’d like to state at the outset that we’re not holding anything back here and even though there were various parties that contributed to the screw-up, we took complete ownership for resolving our customer’s problem. That said, here goes…

As soon as we noticed Kiruba’s original post, we swung into action. We apologised to Kiruba on Twitter and informed him that we were looking into the issue immediately.

We retrieved details about the reservation from our internal system and found that there were three distinct mistakes made by all three parties involved in the transaction:

  1. Kiruba had booked an international ticket using a name that did not match with the name on his passport. Had we ticketed the reservation with the incorrect name, he would have been turned away by the airline at time of check-in and Kiruba would have had no one to blame but himself.
  2. Cleartrip saw the mismatch in names, voided the original ticket and issued a new ticket and PNR for the name as written in the passport, but slipped up in informing Kiruba about his new ticket and PNR number.
  3. When Kiruba showed up at the airline check-in counter, the airline informed him that his ticket was void, resulting in Kiruba purchasing a new ticket. Had the airline simply done a search for the passenger name, they would have seen that Kiruba actually had a new reservation within the system, but they didn’t bother.

The above three reasons caused what we now refer to as the ‘Kiruba incident.’

Once we had identified what happened, we reached Kiruba via telephone in Kuala Lumpur and reassured him that his return trip was completely confirmed and that he would have no problems at the airport.

Despite the fact that other parties had contributed to the screw up, we took complete ownership of the problem; we even went above and beyond the call of duty. Not only did we refund Kiruba for the ticket he had to buy at the airport, we paid from our own pocket for Kiruba and his wife to be upgraded to business class for their return journey.

Many Twitter users demanded an explanation about how this could happen and we hope this blog post serves as an adequate explanation of everything that happened and everything that Cleartrip did to make things right for our customer.

Aside: While there were over 40 negative posts about this on Twitter, there were only 5 positive posts. Why is social media such a hotbed of negativity? Reminds us of this line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, where Mark Antony says “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”