On Customer Service

This week a paying customer was dragged off a flight by cops, for no other reason than “the airline wanted him off.”

This is BS.  You have rights as a passenger, but that’s not what bugs me as an American and a consumer.

I’ll state right off that I feel like this does not at all compare to much of what’s happening in the world today.  But it’s indicative.

It’s indicative of a business culture that wants to subdue you.  It’s indicative of a trend towards control and profit.  Control of you, profit for them.

You don’t even know if you get what you pay for anymore.  It used to be that you’d buy a ticket and the carrier would take you there, but apparently, that’s not how it works now, even for first-class passengers.  Here’s what bugs me:

  • Corporations are moronic.  This whole thing was stupid.  It could’ve been handled so much better, in a nicer way, that would not have resulted in losses of thousands/millions.
  • A multi-billion company doesn’t understand Econ101.  You offered some money to get people off the plane and it wasn’t enough?  Offer more money.
  • A corporation doesn’t get that all of us are walking around with videocameras in our pockets, and we’re waiting for just the right time to pull them out.
  • The cops had to be called for something that wasn’t even a crime, and now they look like thugs.

It’s just dumb.  The worst of it is that it’s all preventable:

  • Don’t promise things you can’t deliver.
  • Charge a price for a service, and stand by it.
  • The customer is not always right, but when you’re wrong, don’t make it the customer’s problem.

One thing that sticks in my craw is the narrative that says the flight was “overbooked.”  It wasn’t overbooked.  It was sold-out, but not oversold.  The airline just wanted to kick some people off the plane because they needed the seats for their own, not because there were more passengers waiting.  That’s on the airline, not you.

I’m a bit hot under the collar this week about this because I had a couple of things happen.  One potential client accused me of a bait-and-switch, and another asked me about my pricing.  The former didn’t completely understand the ins-and-outs of New York’s grant programs, so I did my best to explain them…and then I went and learned a couple of new bits of information I didn’t know about additional manufacturer rebate programs.  Instead of being resentful towards that client, I’m grateful.  I know more now than I did before I met him.

For the latter, it gave me an opportunity to lay out my process, my skills, the results they will achieve, and the guidelines I’ll follow.  Those of us in service industries should always be on the lookout to prove ourselves.  If we’re proud of our work, then the price is easily justifiable – but if we can’t justify our prices to our clients, how can we justify them to ourselves?

You have choices.  If you’re not buying what someone else is selling, get in touch.  I have one phone number, my mobile.  You might get my voicemail, but it’s MY voicemail.  It’s not a company line or an answering service.  You get me.  It’s textable.

And I will promise you this: with me, you will get exactly what you pay for.

Good luck out there.  Stand up for yourselves.

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