Do you need a rule to do what’s right?

I saw an article this week in USA today about a federal government rule that says airlines have to give customers 24 hours to make a change to their flight reservations.

I think it says a lot about how much these companies care about customers if they have to have a rule established that provides some fairness to customers.  You would think an airline would think about this and market that they give a 48 hour allowance, or even better, how about just allowing customers to make changes without a penalty other than paying the difference in fares (oh wait, there is one, Southwest Airlines…but they’ve been customer-centric from their inception).

The thing that really bothers me is that the airlines seem hell bent on doing things in their favor rather than the customer’s favor. And we customers wonder, why does the service offered seem so spotty from employee to employee?

The answer is simple and it points out one of the key problems with getting good service these days.  If the company demonstrates in policies and/or actions that they are selfish (i.e. do things that benefit them without real concern for what it does to customers), is it any wonder that their employees deliver inconsistent and less than genuine service?  As a parent, I cannot expect my children to play nice in the sandbox if I demonstrate lousy social behaviors; the same goes for companies.  Employees do as leaders do (and communicate through policies).

I guess what I am saying is that businesses need to think hard and get focused on their customers (the people who keep them in business) instead of doing things that are self-centered.

As far as the airlines, customers make mistakes, they accidentally put in wrong dates, have things change in their lives, and need to make changes due to all manner of difficulties.  C’mon airlines, your customers are fallible humans and you could do the right thing and give them a break that is better than 24 hours mandated by law.

QUESTION:  Are you considering your customer in your decision-making?  Are you thinking about how you are affecting them when you establish rules or policies?  Are you thinking about what you are communicating to your employees about how to treat customers?

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