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Catalytic Management
I am unworthy! 
I am a mere speck of dirt!

How do I know this, well, because I've flown three airlines in the last month.  If the airlines live by the Golden Rule, I can only surmise that airlines and their employees wish to be treated roughly, without respect and in many instances with outright derision and contempt.  Boy would I like to make their wishes come true!
I don't need to go into the litany of customer service failings of the airline industry.  I would bet my entire fortune, small fortune mind you, that you have your own horror stories to share.  But as I traveled I was reminded, first why I fly Jet Blue if at possible, and secondly I was reminded that how we handle customer complaints is critical to the health of our companies.
Just in case Robert Fornaro CEO of AirTran is listening, companies who care about their customers and their bottom line operate based on simple but profound customer service truths.  Hey Bob, listen up, I'm going to share some wisdom.
When your company or its employees make a mistake there are three kinds of justice your customers expect and deserve:
  • an easy, convenient process to file a claim or ask for a resolution
  • a sincere level of concern
  • and when appropriate, fair compensation
And Bob, get off your butt and resolve the problem quickly!!!!  If you fail in any one of these, you risk a future customer.  It is the combined experience in all of these that determines how customers judge your performance.  Studies have demonstrated that if a customer has to negotiate with you around compensation, they will ask for more and they will be more dissatisfied in the end regardless of the compensation level.  The lesson, offer the resolution or compensation quickly, do not make the customer work for it.
A word to wise, no wait the wise don't need a word, they get it.  OK, so a word to the stupid, yes Bob that's you, create performance standards for resolving complaints and include standards for compensation.  Will the compensation be a: 
  • refund
  • replacement or
  • outright money
Next set standards for the $ amount for each and define any discount that may be given to use in the future as compensation for today's screw up. Want to minimize the size of any compensation, don't make the customer ask for a supervisor or manager, get the manager to them immediately.
So, Bob what have you and Doug Parker CEO of USAirways learned today?  Unhappy customers tell their tale of woe to lots and lots of people.  And should this scare you enough to care, then take action and respect the customer, define an easy resolution process, accept responsibility and fairly compensate customers when you screw up.
Raise your hands now, how many of you readers really believe Bob and Doug give a damn about us, their customers?  Ah, yes there's always at least one optimist in every group!  Well, I'm confident that you do care about your customers.  And I'm just as confident you'll take action to insure your employees live by the Golden Rule!
If you'd like to avoid getting the finger via Twitter and newsletters like this, call Catalytic Management today.
Our consulting and training services prevent customer catastrophe's every day! 

Versions of the Golden Rule
Baha'i Faith
Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.

Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct....loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.

This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.
Almost every religion and philosophy espouses some form of the Golden Rule.
We should manage our businesses, treat our customers and live our lives by this simple truth!

Catalytic Management
67 Edgehill Road • Stow, MA 01775
Phone: 978-562-5001 • Web:

Catalytic Management specializes in business performance and growth consulting
including sales effectiveness, customer service and business process improvement for companies
in New England and the Northeast.
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