Howard Kaplan’s recent blog posting regarding the offering of customer choices even when it is not in the best interest of the seller – is a good thing. I have to agree.
There have been situations where I felt very strongly against my then-current employers decision. Sometimes they were just really, really bad decisions – ones which cost them millions of dollars in sales revenue and lost customers, only because they didn’t want to admit they were human. Human is a condition that is easy to take – if you say, “Go ahead of me sir,” and the man steps into a puddle, he may have knowingly rejected your show of courtesy – if he would have been aware of the puddle.
I’ve been to hotels where the rate was pretty good, not cheap, for a swanky room, only to find the most non-swanky digs I’ve even seen. Imagine this – it was 1985 and it was a long night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – partying until the sun came up, and the maids kicked the party out. Then they turned off the lights. 20 years later I walk in and say, “Um, something is wrong here.” Even a call to management seemed to provide no indication as to the condition of the room, which knowingly they sent a bellman with a bottle of Windex to cure my ills. They could have told me it was decorated in the 80s and never updated. C’mon. At least wipe down the walls every so often!
Howard’s blog post kinda makes me question the overall “informed option” concept. Okay, here we go. The story is this:
“I’ve been critical of JetBlue in the past, because they still fail miserably at providing intuitive scent trails for us to follow when buying tickets, but today they did something impressive. I was booking my ticket to Shop.org Annual when they popped the following message:
Imagine that? Reminding me I’d be flying on a date that may not make me feel comfortable, and providing an alternate context with which I could choose to think about. Of course, this also comes before I’ve confirmed my payment, so I could easily switch to another date, if I so chose. Might it be an irrational fear for a flier to have? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s not the point. They’ve recognized some fliers may feel this way, and they envisioned the negative onslaught they’d receive if and when they charged $75 change fee for people who just realized the date, and were no longer comfortable flying. “
Let me tell you, if I was traumatized by 9/11, I may just be trying to forget it, move on with my life. I actually was in a helicopter on 9/9. Taking photos in NYC. Beautiful photos of the towers standing. It was in absolute disbelief the events unfolded only a few days later on the television screen. We had meeting interrupted, it was tragic.
When you book a ticket online, you truly do check all the details. The message within the above window is a bit harsh. Not the best verbage I can think of. In almost incites a memory of 9/11.
Sorry, on this one – I think it went a bit too far.
Customers don’t mind, just let them know! Letting them know of possible things, like,
You acknowledge that your flight date is:
SEPTEMBER 11, 2005 —
( 9-11-2005 )
Click OK to confirm your departure date.
Once ticket is booked, this cannot be changed without
the mandatory $75 change fee.
That works for me!
But let me ask you, is the “you may wish to think of this as the night of September 10th”? C’mon. Let’s give out psychological tips to the customers. Here’s how to convince yourself you aren’t flying on 9/11. Just think of it as the night of 9/10. No problem. Perhaps Dramamine in the water would help. Probably. Free drinks? How about going retro and have a FULL MEAL FOR EVERY PASSENGER – one day only! Let’s make it fun to fly!