Too busy to go myself, I promised a business associate a free ticket to Europe, which was great news, making me nothing less than a hero, a real sport, and just one heck of a guy.
Then, U. S. Airways informed me that my frequent flyer miles had expired, and I couldn’t use them, or give them away.
My associate never quite recovered from the blow, nor did I, nor has U. S. Airways, which has free-fallen into bankruptcy.
Since hearing that piece of bad news, I vowed to never again step onto a U. S. Airways flight, and I fly a lot, earning top-tier status in three other carriers’ loyalty programs.
When a company acts this stupidly, forcing a customer to forfeit an entitlement, it elicits a potent and permanent response:
“I give up, " the customer says, throwing up his hands. “This is absurd. "
And then, he curses the offender, while praying for its comeuppance.
This is the price that companies pay for mindlessly enforcing Draconian policies, and it happens all the time. Customers don’t walk away; they run.
Most customer satisfaction models don’t factor-in the “One strike and you’re out!" mentality of customers. Instead, they foolishly assume that all results are incremental, bad as well as good.
But deep pools of distrust and dissatisfaction can swell and overflow like flash floods.
Review your customer service policies now, rooting out all absurd and overly punitive strictures and requirements. It may not be too late to save a lot of business, including mine!
Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of Customersatisfaction.com, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. A frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org .