Customer service, or lack thereof, is an enormous part of thriving in business today. Yet, as one airline employee discovered, people must be cautious with how they respond to frustrated consumers. Otherwise, they may get fired.
An article posted on switched.com reported on an American Airlines web designer, anonymously named “Mr. X”, who was fired after responding to a dissatisfied customer’s complaint. According to the airline, his e-mail to the disgruntled individual “violated a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that he had signed with the airline and that prohibited him from revealing ‘sensitive information.'” Yet to Dustin Curtis, the frustrated customer, Mr. X’s response was the only positive outcome he received from the company:
AA fired Mr. X because he cared. They fired him because he cared enough to reach out to a dissatisfied customer and help clear the company’s name in the best way he could.
Though this story has several points of view and varying issues that can be argued, there is one common factor: disconnect. By reading Mr. Curtis’ original letter and Mr. X’s email response, you may gather there is an obvious disconnect not only between American Airlines and its customers, but between the airline and its employees as well. As we have covered before, employee retention depends on leadership and bad management can lead to low worker productivity which creates low employee satisfaction. And where there are dissatisfied employees, there are dissatisfied customers.
As cliché as it sounds, if problems persist in a top-down fashion through a company, a sweeping domino effect can occur; leaving all stakeholders at a loss. For Mr. Curtis, his conclusions on how American Airlines operates are reason enough for him to steer clear of becoming a re-occuring customer:
The reason large companies with bad design are the way they are is because they are run poorly from the top, with philosophies that force the entire company to behave like its lowest common denominator. The company ends up making bad products. It ends up treating its customers badly. And if the company is being run by people who don’t have taste, it gets stuck. Eventually, the company’s brand suffers.
If your company is suffering from issues of competence, which results in a loss of clientele, problems within management or a lack in successful and productive work, contact our business consultants today. We help organizations leverage innovation from the bottom up.