AccelaWork has covered the topic of disrupted travel and its effect on employee productivity due to faulty business improvement solutions on several occasions; however, nothing so far can compare to the bungle made by China Eastern Airlines.
Though the average cost of a one-way flight from Nanchang to Beijing is 2,000 yuan (approximately $323 USD), three hundred lucky customers purchased it for the ultimate bargain price of 20 yuan ($2.90 USD)! According to the airline, the tickets will indeed be honored since the mistake was a direct result of their system.
The company acknowledged the computer error and said it would honour the tickets, even though some of them were sold for travel during the peak-demand Lunar New Year holidays in February, when fares normally jump.
Of course we can only speculate as to how such a malfunction could have even occurred, but one thing is quite clear: this detrimental mistake is what happens when success depends solely on one system. As can be seen, one malfunction, minor or not, can cost thousands of dollars in business revenue.
In a nutshell, no matter how much time is spent creating and updating a program, it can never be totally error-proof. No matter how long a system has been in place, its course of action is always evolving. No matter how familiar a person is with the inter-workings of a operation, there is always something new to learn and adapt to. Business is a living and thriving thing. Its components should never remain stagnant, not been updated or left untested —a lesson China Eastern Airlines has surely learned.
On a positive note however, we’d like to point out that though the airline is suffering a major failure, it has succeeded in keeping their customers happy. Their immediate response and fair assertion will boost their customer satisfaction and perhaps even increase their flight sales due to the honorable reputation.
Failure and success are the cycle of business. Processes must be built, studied and improved. For more information on how AccelaWork can assist your companies in avoiding both large and small process errors, contact our business process transformation consultants today!