Tuesday, September 15, 2009



As if businesses weren’t struggling enough these days, a recent study out of the U.K. has revealed the emergence of the “hypersensitive customer,” a consumer that has less cash, more information and less tolerance for poor customer service than ever before. The study, conducted by UK accounting and business consulting firm BDO Stoy Hayward, found that in the last 18 months, customers have become less loyal, as they realize how privileged retailers are to have their business. In fact, 48% of consumers admitted increasing their expectations over the past two years.

Customers are plugged in, with easy access to consumer reviews, detailed technical information and competitive product information. They have tighter budgets, so they’ve become more discerning in both the products they buy and the service they expect. 74% of respondents in the study said they wouldn’t purchase products and would leave the store if they encountered what they deemed to be poor service.

Are you and your business ready for the arrival of the hypersensitive customer? If not, now is the time to examine your customer service practices and get them in line with the needs of today’s consumer.

There’s a new customer service book on stores shelves and online resellers that can help you manage this new breed of consumer. When you order “Who’s Your Gladys?” today, you get a special package of 40+ electronic bonus gifts in customer service, sales, marketing and professional development. Buy your copy today at www.whosyourgladys.com Watch the WYG book trailer here: www.youtube.com/whosyourgladys

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is adequate compensation for being stuck for hours on the tarmac?

It seems that more and more passengers on planes are being stuck for hours on the tarmac without, food, water or working bathrooms. I asked Linked In members to answer the question: “What is adequate compensation for being stuck for hours on the tarmac?” The following are some of the answers:

“Honestly I don't think there can be any perfect compensation. You can't replace time.... and time is essentially what all of the passengers lost. Time spent with children, parents, grandparents, clients, bosses... take your pick. None of which can be gotten back. What is more bothersome is that lack of true compensation is only intensified by an airline, regulating authority, and any other number of persons who weren't willing to go beyond "the book" and come up with a solution to the problem.

How do you compensate for 5 hours? Starting with an apology and responsibility would be a good start.....” B. Smith

“I would want 2 complimentary First Class tickets with open ended dates to whatever location I choose. And free drinks whilst on the tarmac.” S. Andrade

“Free travel for life on that airline, should I ever wish to use it again (highly unlikely). At least $1,000 per hour for each and every passenger, plus extra compensation for any business lost as a result, plus a harassment fee of $10,000 per person.” F. Feather

“The thing to realize about compensation (or free blankets or free scotch or anything else) is this: There isn't some great pot of money lying around at an airline that they can use for stuff like this.

If an airline had to compensate passengers there would be only one way they could fund it: By raising fares - And that would impact you and me.

What I would much prefer would be a clear mechanism whereby passengers could buy insurance options which are presented 'in their face' at the time of ticket purchase that would cover them for the duration of their itinerary. The insurance would provide compensation due to delay or would get you on another carrier (if available) if you're delayed more than X hours or whatever.” G. Glave
“At a minimum: a free round-trip ticket and a handwritten letter of apology from the CEO.” J. Chernin

"Ultimately the people need to be shown that the problem is being fixed so it does not happen so often. I read the blog of the leadership of FAA, DOT. There were tons of people complaining about similar incidents that did not make it into the news media. The airline industry is entirely too cavalier about the inconveniences for their customers.

I accept that when there is a snow storm, or earthquake, or other severe emergency, it is not unreasonable that people might be stuck in a transportation facility for many hours without access to working toilets, food, medical services etc. and some people die in such conditions. Children are much more vulnerable to this semi-torture than adults. The transportation service should pick up their medical support for several years, in case of complications.

However, there have been several recent incidents where a plane was diverted from primary city due to thunderstorm, landed at an airport where the weather was fine, the toilets were fine, the security was fine, there was no logical reason why the passengers could not have had access to food, comfort, toilets, phones, etc. except that the personnel running the facility were brain dead on what could be done outside their normal routine, overworked, did not want to phone their supervisors at 3 am for guidance. Then next morning, when higher authority showed up for all relevant agencies ... airlines, airport, security ... it was a massive buck passing operation, no one was in charge, no one was responsible, the only stuff they had to do was obey some laws prohibiting plane crews from flying when they so tired from being awake & working for over 24 hours, so they had to be replaced, but there was no law to protect the customers, so tough luck, they get to continue to their destination arriving 24 hours after departure, on a plane whose toilets still not working, because while there is some law that a plane is supposed to have toilets working, that law does not get enforced.

There needs to be like a 911 for the news media, to inform them where there are planes, etc. that have been where how long, so that the news media can then descend on the homes & offices of the relevant airlines and other folks in charge, to ask how come. I would like to see people who are at ticket counter of airline X, or going to buy tickets at airline X, being asked by news media people what they think about airline X causing passengers to be stuck on runway for so many hours, and does that mean they might switch to airline Y?

There needs to be a 911 for this kind of situation to government authorities, after the passengers have had to wait more than some reasonable time interval, where the CEOs and other top managers of the transportation facilities involved are taken by police to a jail where there is no working toilet, no food, nothing to drink, not even water, no access to medicines, no comfortable place to sit, provided with phones & informed that they get to stay in that jail until
(a) their customers have got quality relief and compensation
(b) they (the CEOs etc.) have been in the jail for 2-3 times the time duration their customers were without working toilet, food, etc.
(c) when they get out, they go straight to hearing with a judge, where they need to give satisfactory explanation how this happened & what they have done to prevent it happening ever again.” A. Mcintyre

“If you compensate the 'victims', and such conclusion and characterization ought to be validated, you stand to repeat the issue and create more victims. If you penalize the root of the problem, the people whose chain of decision making leads to these situations, and I am not pointing to anyone here as I have no basis to do so, then you may give those folks the right incentive to go out of their way to deplane that next batch of victims. A win-win situation for all.” H. Benamar

What do you think is adequate compensation? Write and share your opinion!