Customer Service

    Consumer Revolts – Future Trend

    “Coffee, tea, or, — hey, get the hell off the plane!”

    Nearly an entire cabin of passengers on a Ryanair flight revolted over the weekend. The incident caused a three hour delay for all passengers, even the non-trouble makers. Nearly 100 passengers deemed by the airline to have caused the trouble, were forced off the plane and must now book their own flights home. They will also incur lodging charges. Some will not be allowed back on Ryanair — those who disobeyed the cabin crew.

    I guess paying customers are pretty much “extra baggage” to Ryanair. And God forbid anyone should question the cabin crew!  This must be punished!

    The donnybrook started when a passenger (or a few) was charged at the gate for a carry-on bag that was too large.  It would be interesting to know why and how nearly the entire passenger group got involved, but at the end of the day, Ryanair will get a black eye because of this incident, and it really doesn’t matter if they are technically right.  Their own press release is mostly unapologetic and puts the blame squarely on the backs of the trouble-making passengers — and the Spanish police.

    Hey Ryanair, there’s this thing called “tone” — look into it.

    I’ve had my own challenges with bargain airlines, and for the same basic reason as the Ryanair revolt, they treat you like a cow, not like a human being.  There are times when this makes people very angry.

    Ryanair is, in many respects, a smart company.  They keep their costs down in lots of brilliant ways, and, they raise revenue by charging extra, for ANYTHING beyond the ticket.  This is Not Wrong, but the way they do it Is Wrong. I found a website that lists all the Ryanair “gotcha’s,” see here. What makes people, paying customers angry isn’t the extra charges. It’s the sneaky-Pete, Eff-you attitude that really brings bile to the back of the throat.  Can you believe a 150 Euro charge for spelling your name wrong?  That’s just taking advantage, and people resent it.

    I’ve written before about how the airline industry is ripe for real creative solutions, and breakthrough innovation. Credit to Ryanair and EasyJet for getting the business model right.  However, they’ve missed the cultural/relationship model by a long way, and this will — is — comimg back to haunt them.

    Customer revolts, along with political revolts, are trending upwards. Guaranteed, we will see more of this. Woe to those companies, organizations, or governments that treat people like cattle.  Business is about give and take, perception of value, and respect between customer and supplier.  Keep up the disrespect and you will not only lose business — you’ll go out of business.

    Prediction: the first airline that gets the flying experience right — both bargain prices and a bit of respect (are you listening Virgin, United, Southwest?) and maybe a dash of fun, are going to make a pile of money.

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    The easyJet Philosophy "You Screwed Up, You Trusted Us"

    I posted recently on a really spectacularly bad customer service experience I had at the hands of easyJet.  It’s just two posts down if you want some detail, but essentially I paid for priority boarding and didn’t get it.  I complained and asked for a refund. I finally heard back from them with regard to my complaint. Their answer: No. My interpretation/summary “You Screwed Up, You Trusted Us.” I find the letter (see below) almost comical, and will post it here for your comments.  Am I crazy or what?  Are they really saying they are not able to guarantee a service that I PAID FOR? I understand taking a risk in Vegas…I don’t quite get it here.  I’ll take a

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    Easy Jet, Making a Fast Buck Screwing Customers

    I’ve got nothing against the low cost, no frills airlines, they are a necessary market innovation.  They perform a real service and get me places I need to go. It’s part of the deal that you pay for food, get treated like a cow, and become intimate with people who don’t use deodorant. Airlines have to make money — I want them to!  On the other hand, it makes me very angry when somebody takes my money and doesn’t deliver, like Easy Jet. See, I’m a tallish guy, 6-1. Economy seats in planes are a bit of torture for me. So, I often take up the offer to get “Economy Plus” (that’s United’s program) or “Speedy Boarding” (Easy Jet’s) and

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    BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World (review)

    Customer service has been on my mind lately.  I’ve just had an awful experience with my web hosting company (Hostway, argh…) and it got me thinking. That’s why reading Barry Moltz and Mary Jane Grinstead’s new book, BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World was so timely for me. It’s helping me dissect how Hostway is losing their edge while I deal with my very real emotions about how I’ve been treated.  But enough about those…people right now, let’s talk about BAM! Let me say straight away this is a great book on the topic.  It’s direct, readable, and elegant with a lot of keen and fresh insight into customer service. I’d say much of it is “common sense”

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    Cineworld Cinema = Uncreative Customer Service

    Quick blog on a topic I often have the urge to rant about, customer service. According to the experts if you want to benefit from positive word of mouth your business has to provide Wow! customer service. Average doesn’t cut it, and bad service actually generates negative word of mouth. I recently bought tickets online to go see Iron Man. I was foaming at the mouth to see this film and was really looking forward to it. I showed up at the Cineworld in High Wycombe and, oops, there was a fire in the theatre (nobody hurt) and I was prevented from even getting within 100 yards. Things happen, I was glad everyone was safe, and so went elsewhere to

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    The "CAM Factor" — Consumer Anger Motivates (C.A.M.)

    I’ve coined a new term today — CAM, an acronym for Consumer Anger Motivates. If the CAM Factor is high, you buy something else! Let me explain… Everybody has consumer nightmare stories. Told afterwards they are often pretty funny. The old adage of “big problems make good stories” does apply. It’s not too funny when it’s happening though! I’ve suffered through a horrendous customer service experience with AT&T in the last few days, including several very frustrating phone calls, long delays on hold, hang-ups by the automated system, multiple transfers within the organization, frustrating attempts to do it myself on the web, and after all that — still not the desired result. A comedy of errors and it really made

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