1. Bad Customer Service
As a follow-up to my US air travel rants of yore, this piece by Joseph Jaffe (also a follow-up to his own rants on the same subject – his being specific to Delta Airlines):
A bunch of my colleagues experienced the delta skelter.
About 10% of the Microsoft people travelling from Atlanta to Brussels on july 21st couldn’t find their luggage in Brussels. Some of the luggage are still missing today. Among the retrieved ones, the suitcases of my lovely colleagues Valérie and Virginie… in very bad shape (see picture). Valérie called Delta today to discuss a compensation but they asked her to call again within a week. They obviously don’t have the time to handle her complain.
Bad goes around.
Wow. Check out the picture of the bag here. Imagine if you took your car into a mechanic’s shop for service, it came back with a huge dent in the hood and grease stains all over the seats, and the customer service manager told you “uh, yeah, sorry ’bout that… Why don’t you come back later this week when I have time to talk to you.”
Imagine any company outside of the airline industry doing this. “Sorry about your suits sir, the dry-cleaning machine must have malfunctioned. Come back later this week and we’ll see what we can do for you.” I don’t think so.
2. Bait & Switch Tactics
I feel badly for the airline industry. They are caught in a never-ending price war due to online websites and their own commodification. Pick the cheapest flight to get from here to there…
The natural short-term solution is bait and switch. Advertise the lowest price you can imagine and then require add on fees so you can actually make a profit.
Air Canada, which my readers generally concur is the single worst major airline in North America, has a fascinating policy. No oversized duffel bags, regardless of weight, unless they contain hockey gear. No shin guards, you pay $80 a bag.
Of course, you can have whatever rules you want, even if they’re only designed to help defensemen. The problems with bait and switch are:
1. You have to be very careful to apply them equally, because people hate being treated worse than everyone else.
2. You have to be prepared for anger, resentment and brand disintegration.
See what his answer to pain vs. pleasure is for companies like Air Canada here. (Hint: Disney has a pretty good system in place.)
3. Community Managers
Chris Brogan has a great piece on the essential skills of a community manager, which ties in nicely with the Tribalization of Business post from Monday. Some of these skills include being experienced communicators, being ambassadors and advocates all in one, being bodyguards and protectors, etc. Great post, but the real gold here is found within the comments. Here are two of my favorite:
Read the full article here. It’s good. (Why the focus on communities all of a sudden? Whatever the reason, I like that it is on so many people’s minds.)
4. Starbucks, design, and the future
John Moore gives a sneak peek at the design of future of Starbucks stores. (kind of cool, but will it work?)
5. The writing on the wall finally gets the attention of Ford execs.
CNN reports that Ford Motor Co., faced with its largest quarterly loss ever, is finally planning to “shift product line, bringing European-made vehicles to North America.” Duh.
The company said it will make big changes to the vehicles it sells domestically – bringing six small cars made in Europe to the North American market.
Ford said that three large truck and sport utility vehicle plants in Wayne, Mich., Louisville, Ky., and Cuautitlan, Mexico would be switched over for the manufacture of small cars. Re-tooling will begin in December, the company said.
In addition to converting the three plants in North America, Ford said it will ramp up production of small utility vehicles at its Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant, including the Ford Escape, Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner and Mariner Hybrid.
6. Back to work already!
Okay, lunch break over. I have to get back to work now. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.