Just returned from three weeks in Oceania.
Splendid adventures in a beautiful part of the world - a business nomad's delight.
My Aussie & Kiwi colleagues were gracious, kind & understandably proud of their countries.
(Special thanks to my mates Matt Wall of Boeing Australia, and Mike Butler of Fonterra NZ. I hope I can reciprocate when you visit North America!)
Forgive me for leading off with the only negative part of my journey - another unhappy adventure in international air travel.
But there may be some useful lessons.
Qantas, Australia's national airline, managed to lose my bags - both going & coming home!
Other hassles too, which I'll not bother describing, and all on a business class ticket!
When I went to the Qantas home page to share my story - feedback which top-shelf companies would consider invaluable - I found it was impossible to do so.
Qantas makes it very difficult for customers to provide feedback (!?)
A few minutes of web research confirmed that many other travellers have had a similar experience - with no recourse.
Qantas' message appears to be, "Who cares?"
My misadventures surprised neither my Oceania colleagues, nor the various Lost Baggage attendees I spoke with.
"Qantas is the worst..." and "At least they're consistent!" were common refrains.
My Aussie chums questioned the capability of Qantas' CEO & management.
Labor relations are so bad that Qantas grounded its entire fleet in 2011 and early 2012!
How can a major company in a highly competitive market be so indifferent to the customer?
I welcome feedback, especially, that of our Oceania colleagues.
For my part, I was struck by the painfully obvious absence of:
- Standardized work, and
- Embedded OK/Not OK tests
At every Lost Baggage desk, Qantas staff seemed unsure of what to do - in the face of a common defect!
Nor did there appear to be easy ways of confirming a Good/No Good condition.
And thereby hangs a tale of importance for Australia's future.
More next time.