Saturday, September 17, 2005

Now Northwest and Delta

Will service be affected by the recent descent into bankruptcy by Northwest and Delta Airlines?

Well, they are not flying into uncharted territories. And air travelers know this. United and US Airways are currently under bankruptcy-court protection, and they already set the expectations into the customers’ minds of what service should be at a Chapter 11 carrier.

Travelers should expect longer lines at the airport, departure and arrival delays, and flight cuts. Also travelers should anticipate some scattered disgruntled employees. Sincere sympathy towards them is recommended.

Blind Faith

Directly from Wikipedia, a case of heightened –and unmet- expectations in Rock music:

Blind Faith was a band formed in late 1968 when Eric Clapton (ex-Cream) and Steve Winwood (ex-Traffic) were at a loose end following the demise of their former bands and began to spend time together again (they had previously collaborated on record as Powerhouse), jamming and working on new material at Clapton's house in Surrey. At Winwood's instigation, Cream's former drummer Ginger Baker was invited along and they subsequently spent some time recording in the studio.


News of the formation of the group created a buzz of excitement among the public and a free concert was scheduled for London's Hyde Park on June 7 1969. Their small repertoire was reported by the music press as having disappointed the crowd of 100,000 who were also expecting to hear songs from the days of Cream and Traffic.

(snip again)

Audience reaction in the USA was similar to that in the UK and the band was forced to appease them by playing a couple of Cream and Traffic songs. The management pressure to cash in on the hyperbole (the Press dubbed them a 'supergroup') and Baker's view that the group was a continuation of Cream soured feelings within the band and they disbanded immediately after completing the US tour.


Moral of the story:

Customers –in this case, Traffic and Cream fans- expected a ‘supergroup’ merger of both bands. What they received was something different from their expectations, hence their dissatisfaction.

Are you giving your customers what they expect?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tipping and Power

The New Yorker magazine takes a look at the "social institution" of tipping at restaurants. It looks like tipping goes beyond rewarding good service. Here's a copy/paste:
...when it comes to tipping, who we are and how we feel matter a lot, because a tip is essentially a gift, and we give better gifts to people we like than to people we don’t. Tippers aren’t trying to drive hard bargains or maximize their economic interests; they’re trying to demonstrate their status and to reciprocate what they see as good behavior.

Another segment:
Diners… like the power that the ability to tip gives them. Waiters like tipping because it gives them the chance to distinguish themselves from the crowd and to score an occasional windfall.

Quality food and quality service are not the only ingredients for good tips. Also, there's more to explore in the deeper feelings of the customer.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Low-fare Air Saturation in Europe

Low-cost airlines in Europe haven't driven mainstream carriers out of the market. In fact, as this article from McKinsey and Co. Shows (free registration required), the low-cost-carrier market is starting to saturate in parts of Europe. Charter and traditional airlines most likely will coexist with their no-frills counterparts, in some cases consolidated under one corporate umbrella.

Airfares are so cheap now, that "low-cost carriers are also competing against dining out, the theater, and other leisure activities". But, "at the same time, traditional airlines have persuaded some passengers, particularly business travelers, that it is worth paying extra for better service and convenience"

Quite some similarities -and some differences- with the North American market.