thoughts in my own, personal opinion
eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD
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You Care That I Hate You?
In the world where I grew up,
if you were in the customer service business and people hated you, your firm
wouldn’t last very long. There
was a pizzeria a few blocks from my childhood home in Brooklyn where the owner
called the neighborhood kids “little bastiges” and chased them away all the time. This was instead of being a place where they
could go for lunch or dinner. The
pizzeria didn’t last for very long. How
could a business meant to serve people endure when the ownership treats its
customers and potential customers like dirt?
this question because CBS News
just published an updated list of America’s most hated companies, and of
course United is the only major airline to make the list. They share the honor with companies
recognized as serial sexual harassers, chemical polluters, hacked-releasers of
personal information and right-wing fake news.
Many of the firms on the list are (appropriately) being shunned by their
target consumers. United though is one
of the group that doesn’t seem to care that it is hated. Beyond a few “we want to do better” comments
from their leadership here and there, nothing really changes. Remember, this is the airline that wouldn’t
replace its CEO – even after multiple catastrophic failures – until a Federal
investigation revealed things like bribery and graft. Apparently, if you claim you’re ‘passenger
friendly’ while removing benefits and comforts left and right, and have your
poorly chosen IT systems crash over and over, you’re still OK in the eyes of
the United board – unless you get caught at something.
does a large company – any large company – think it’s OK to continually upset
its customers? Why isn’t that being
treated like the crisis – or potential crisis that it is? Why isn’t the board firing everyone after another
negative earnings call? Or, more to
my point I guess, why aren’t those in charge there able to at least correlate
the poor financial performance to the poor experience of its customers?
organizations nowadays have adopted the belief that nothing is more important
than the experience of its customers.
Not the airline industry however.
They are generally still focused on the failed model of 20 years ago –
where they can treat the top 1% of its customers with care and just screw
everyone else. The industry still
believes that it can drive revenue from these high spenders and virtually
ignore everyone else. Deregulation has
allowed this fantasy to fester – as people have fewer choices for non-stop
flights – but rest assured that it is a disease that will eventually drag-down
the industry. The cost savings and
revenue increases that would come with operational excellence are obvious to
everyone outside of the airline boardrooms.
When the failures come home to roost the current boards and C –suiters
will likely be long retired with their golden parachutes.
question remains, why does a firm (and the people that run it) think it’s Ok to
suck? Didn’t these people’s parents
instill any pride in them? Don’t they
want to be liked, and want to go to sleep at night knowing they did a good job
and did the right thing by their customers?
I have to believe that the only explanation is that they don’t care that
we hate them. And sadly, an honest
slogan like ‘we don’t care about you’ would likely not sell many tickets.
This article was written by David Danto and contains
solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under
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