Cranky on the Web: Airline Satisfaction Rises (But Still Low), Dreading Flying, Drawing the Line With Unhappy Clients

Customer Service

Airline customer satisfaction up, but industry ranks lowUSA Today
The AQR may say airlines are slipping, but USA Today wrote about the ACSI which says things are improving. I, of course, don’t like any of these, but I spoke with the author about how I agree that things are improving.

Why has flying become something to be dreaded?Scott Radley Show
I joined Scott Radley on a Canadian radio show to talk about the state of flying today. It’s a 15 minute clip.

In the Trenches: When to Stand Firm With a CustomerSmall Business Center
You’d like to please everyone in business, but it just doesn’t happen. So we have to decide when it’s right to draw the line and say no.

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6 comments on “Cranky on the Web: Airline Satisfaction Rises (But Still Low), Dreading Flying, Drawing the Line With Unhappy Clients

  1. Next time you’re in Tel Aviv, stop by the Congress Basel shawarma stand — they have a huge sign that reads “here the customer is always at fault.”

  2. CF,

    Regarding your refunds policy… I’ve never been a business owner, so can’t fully speak as to why you issue refunds. IMHO, as a consumer, it comes down to this: Refunds are an admission that the company knows they let me down, and they feel that if they provide me “proper” service, that I will be a happy and recurring customer. They’re telling me that they’re so confident that they can do that, that they’re willing to eat the cost of the first transaction.

    The corollary as the owner is that if you really don’t feel you can offer better service next time (and keep the customer happy) there’s really no incentive for you to get them to try and come back. If you feel you delivered on the contract, then why do the work for free?

    Waiting 90 days to ask for a refund is just weird… and btw, would you really have offered them their cash back if they called within 30 days? I may have offered them a coupon or something like that, but would have kept the cash if you actually did some work to help them.

    1. Dan – Well, it’s really mostly a marketing tool. We’re a small company and people don’t know us well. So having a money-back guarantee helps give people confidence that if things do go wrong, they have nothing to lose by trying the service. We’re confident they won’t want a refund (and very few do), but it helps create peace of mind for potential clients.

      With that being said, we would have given a full refund within 30 days of travel if that person had asked because that is our policy. It’s just a cost of doing business. If it’s a refund that we think is warranted, we may have already offered it to them anyway. But if it’s something that seems to lack basis in reality, then we’ll still give the refund and assume that will be the end of our interaction with that person. It’s worth it for us to do it this way.

      John – Is what an inside story? The Small Business Center article? That is a regular column I write about my company.

  3. Obviously, even with tighter restrictions, a few oddballs will still attempt to take advantage. The decision to refund or to stand firm must be made at a high level and by a principal with ALL the details. If a staff member has goofed up, consider refunding the portion of fees associate with the goof; you have some wiggle room. If, however, there was clearly no error in your staff’s services, do NOT cave in and do NOT provide a refund. As you’ve already noted, the client probably won’t be back no matter what you offer and, with no future business to protect, why bother. Yes, you do have to investigate thoroughly and yes, you must communicate your findings to the (former?) client in a polite, professional way. But, you do NOT have to issue a refund. The Intuit article suggests that you folks handled this reasonably and properly. Congrats!!

  4. Really interesting roundup here. I’ve had to deal with clients in a lot of different fields and it’s always a case by case basis, I think – of course there are some clients you can give one look at and know they aren’t going to be happy no matter what you do, so you stand firm to them.

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