Monday, August 18, 2008
Could you be fined by your customers?
This is crazy. The airline industry is the only industry we know of that makes the customer pay for their inept management abilities. Almost every airline is raising prices, charging for baggage, food and drink, and coming soon, pillows and blankets.
Give us a break.
Someday soon the flight attendants announcement will sound something like this: "… in the event of a loss in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. Put your mask on before helping your children with their mask. Place the mask securely over your nose and mouth and place the strap over your head. Please note that although the mask will not inflate, oxygen will flow to you ... AFTER WE COLLECT THE $7.00 OXYGEN FEE."
Cynical? Yep, but seriously, if the airlines would just manage their businesses better, their customers might be able to fly with lower fees and fewer penalties. About that not managing their business part? Here's what we passengers are paying for: American Airlines $7.1 million in fines for safety violations; Southwest: $13.2 million for safety violations; United: $1 million dollars for lack of upkeep (LACK OF UPKEEP?!); Delta: $100,000 for not giving drug tests to pilots; and Alaska Airlines joins United with a $1 million dollar fine for lack of upkeep. And these are just the fines we found in a 30 second Google search.
Here’s the point: You don't have a choice. You have to manage your business. When you don't, the expenses incurred by poor management are passed on to the customer. Thereafter, you may experience a CRFP: Customer Resistance Flash Point. That's when customers rebel and stop doing business with you. This happens in businesses all the time, we know because we get calls everyday for advice on curing/managing cash flow problems. Sometimes poor cash flow is only a symptom of the real problem: Not managing the business properly, combined with poor staff performance.
Here’s the lesson from the airline industry: We are living in trying economic times. Manage the hell out of your business. Do your best to control expenses. Expect the best from yourself and everyone associated with your company. Be sure your team knows what you want, need, and expect from each of them. Remember, if you fail to set expectations, or neglect to mange the standards you have in place, you just might be "fined" by your customers when they decide to visit your competition.