The CEO of Singapore Airlines Goh Choon Phong offered me his apology today (which came as somewhat of a surprise as I had neither requested nor expected it). The text of the epistle was a follows:
"On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to offer our sincere apology for the inconvenience caused as a result of issues that arose from the launch of our new website on 22 May 2011.
As with all new initiatives that we undertake, the intention behind the website revamp was to improve on our customers’ experience with us. I am truly sorry that the new website, with its technical problems, has instead caused much aggravation for many of our customers. We make no excuses for our failure to deliver an acceptable level of online service.
We have committed full resources to resolving the website problems and have made significant progress in rectifying many of the defects. We will continue to relentlessly pursue all other outstanding issues. An in-depth investigation as to how the issues that arose went undetected is well underway, and we are treating this with utmost importance.
At Singapore Airlines, we strive to put our customers at the centre of everything we do. I am well aware that there is a wide range of travel options to choose from, and thus, am grateful that many of you have continued to support us. We do not take this for granted.
Thank you for your continued patience during this period. I know that you have high expectations of us, and we failed to meet those expectations. On behalf of the Company, I offer our unreserved apology, and pledge to win back your confidence."
Now there are two reasons that I have reproduced the above. Firstly it is rare for any airline to be so upfront about such issues and secondly it speaks volumes for the Singaporean business ethic, and SQ in particular, that they have chosen to communicate in this manner.
While it is true that I was a Silver Kris flyer with the airline, I have not used their services for over a year. The newly launched design has been panned by business travelers who have found it "a haemorrhage of colours and links which have been haphazardly meshed together".
The functionality has also been labelled a debacle and the SIA call centres have been swamped. Frustrated passengers who could not get through on the call services vented their spleen on the SQ Facebook page.
SQ must be losing a lot of custom and money as a result of this amateurish web offering. For a country that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of digital innovation the new SQ web site sends all the wrong messages. I would love to know which company built the new web site for them?