Post-Covid Crisis: RIFF's prompt compensation and reputation fix
After the Covid period, Schiphol was faced with a difficult challenge; especially after the May holidays in 2022, Schiphol was in the news almost daily, with images of an overcrowded airport and long queues. Due to staff shortages in security and baggage handling and a wildcat strike by ground staff, many flights were cancelled, resulting in long queues stretching outside the airport. Many passengers missed their flights and filed complaints and compensation claims. The number of claims rose rapidly and Schiphol’s reputation was at stake.
On the 11th August 2022, Schiphol introduced a compensation scheme for passengers who missed their flights between 23rd April 2022 and 31st October 2022 due to exceptional waiting times for security checks. Passengers who incurred expenses during this period had until 30th September 2022 to apply for compensation from the airport. RIFF was called in to process, assess, grant or (partially) deny these compensation claims. RIFF supported Schiphol as a partner during this crisis by restoring passenger confidence and ensuring a fast, correct and fair handling of compensation claims.
First and foremost, there was a significant backlog of claims from before the official launch of the compensation scheme that needed to be dealt with: all while also managing the increasing volume of new claims (8,500 files). Schiphol required that each traveller received a response within six weeks, whether that be an approval with compensation or a rejection. In addition, an influx of around 300 new claims had to be accommodated on peak days. Checking the conditions and handling the files accurately was essential, especially given the high level of media attention. Schiphol’s image depended on the correct handling of each file.
RIFF had the flexibility to scale up in a short space of time and had highly qualified staff who could operate effectively in crisis situations. The human touch was crucial; every request was handled with care and attention, making travellers feel heard and helped after an unpleasant experience.
A rapidly scalable team of experts was established, with detailed work instructions and procedures. An audit-proof logbook was developed to safeguard compensation files. A ‘6-eyes’ process was applied to each payment transaction, to ensure careful and correct handling. Training, coaching and calibration sessions were integral to ensuring the highest quality of processing. A bespoke reporting model was developed to provide insight into progress, control, quality and financial results.
Restoring Passenger Confidence The result
The pressure was high, not only because of the agreement with the Consumers’ Association and Max Vakantieman, but also because of the negative coverage in the news. RIFF managed to deal with all requests in an audit-proof manner and in accordance with the applicable conditions.
There was positive coverage on social media channels and in the media, with praise for the appropriate and efficient handling of compensation cases. The personal approach and quick, correct handling made travellers feel heard and enabled Schiphol to deliver on its promise and commitment. Trust in Schiphol was restored, resulting in a unique collaboration with a positive impact on customer satisfaction and Schiphol’s reputation.
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