?There are always consequences to our mistakes,? No this is not a saying from a fortune cookie. It is, in fact, the answer that a member of our team received when trying to correct a mistake made in a hotel reservation made through Orbitz, the online travel service. She had made a hotel reservation and decided that another hotel might be more convenient so she went online to cancel. After doing the cancellation she discovered that there would be no refund allowed. She immediately got back on the site and tried to reinstate the hotel reservation that had been paid for. I don?t have to tell you what happened ? she was told, sorry, you are out of luck by the very sweet supervisor who imparted the words of wisdom about consequences and mistakes.

Now let me say that I have been using a variety of ecommerce services for many years with a great deal of success. What a pleasure to be able to log onto Amazon.com and have a book show up in three days ? even one that has been out of print for years. But I would put travel sites into a whole different category.

The problem is that these commerce sites make money by automating as much of their customer service as possible and adhering to very strict policies. These companies have a long way to go before the level of on line customer service is up to what many of us expect from a company we pay a lot of money to.

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