Southwest Airlines’ recent fiasco that caused them to cancel over 16,700 flights, leaving people stranded across America, was the epitome of what’s happening with so many businesses right now across the US. A total and complete meltdown in service due to cheapness.
Here in Nashville, Southwest had to also apologize for miscommunications that led to the airport police telling checked-in travelers whose Southwest flights had been canceled that they would be arrested and physically removed for trespassing if they didn’t voluntarily leave the secure area because their boarding passes were no longer valid.
Southwest employees were getting into verbal fights with obviously frustrated passengers, and very little communication was given to passengers (I know – my flight back from the beach house was canceled as well, and there was no one answering phones or giving any updates, so I drove home).
Our own Jeff Johnson was at the airport when his Southwest flight got canceled as well but was told he could not get his luggage, and he was unable to pick it up until nearly two weeks later.
This little nightmare is estimated to have cost them in the neighborhood of $725M to $825M. Now, how’s the cost of that IT upgrading looking, Mr. CEO?
But to a broader point, customer service and quality of delivery are dying across America for much the same reason: being cheap to attempt profitability.
Folks are still using the old “Covid cop-out,” saying sick employees, labor shortages, supply chain problems, inflation, etc., etc., etc., are the reasons why they can’t deliver on time the PROMISES made to customers.
Harry & David, one of the largest food and gift companies in the US, used to be famous for their exceptional pears and high-quality gift packaging – but based on the rotted, bruised, and scuffed-up fruit I recently received in a cheap box with the gift card sloppily printed on the outside shipping label of the box and NOT included in the gift as it should be, they’re clearly chasing bankruptcy quick, fast and in a hurry.
The pears were a gift to me, so I called Harry & David to let them know how bad the fruit was. The call-center person in India with an extremely heavy accent never apologized but asked a few questions in a flat, monotone script to get the replacement out to me – then, to add insult to injury, asked if I wanted to make a purchase at a discount.
Hmmmm…lemme see…you just delivered a cheap basket of rotting garbage, which you haven’t even apologized for, and now you’re trying to hustle me, a gift recipient (not your customer), for another sale when you utterly and completely failed on the first one?
Sorry, darlin’, you’re going on the “no-fly” list. Not only did you embarrass the person who sent me the gift, but you just lost 100% of my business as the CEO of TMT as well.
P.S., the replacement was a box of slightly less rotted pears…
Another HORRIBLE company that I used to order gifts from, Meduri World Delights, is also on my own personal no-fly list for sending over $600 in Christmas gifts three weeks late, all arriving a week after Christmas, with no warning, no apology.
In fact, my assistant called over a dozen times, trying to find out where our orders were – talking only a handful of times to the receptionist, who assured us the messages were being given to the CEO – with no callbacks, updates or response, much less an apology for missing the shipping date for Christmas gifts.
For a gifting company, this is just unacceptable. You have two jobs: 1) create nice gifts, and 2) deliver them on time. It’s pretty bad when you cannot do 50% of the two most fundamental functions of your business.
I could go on. The cabinet company I hired took two years (!) to complete my cabinets and forced me to manage them with constant phone calls and e-mails to get updates and demand the job get done right. I’m still waiting on the right handles for the cabinets and still having to chase them for updates.
The recent emergency vet’s office I had to visit with my poor Rocket boy is in desperate need of some fresh paint, new furniture, and a megawatt candle with a car battery fueling it to cover years of nervous-dog smell baked into the waiting room ambiance.
Target has made the checkout bags so thin to cut costs that they can’t hold anything heavier than a pack of gum without ripping. Many restaurants are trying to get away from printing menus, offering a QR code instead – even a few of the higher-end steak houses I’ve recently visited who ought to know better.
A big mistake so many companies make when they start losing money is to go CHEAP and cut costs, paying people less (by hiring lesser-qualified individuals) or cutting corners.
It’s never a good strategy, and it will come back and bite you in the arse. The only thing saving so many is that we’re awash in cheapness and poor service right now, so a lot of companies can get away with it…but it’s only a matter of time until they’ll be put out of business by someone who’s not afraid to charge a premium and do things with quality and service.
If you’ve found yourself feeling like there’s no other choice but to start going CHEAP like these guys… then I’m here to tell you that there is a better way to secure profits without reducing the quality of service you’re able to offer your clients.
One way is to make sure that your business is attracting the right-fit clients, and higher-value clients that actually value IT services and are willing to pay for it. So here’s a free opportunity for you to discover how to do just that.
Sign up for this free class designed to teach you how you can get your marketing put on AUTOPILOT so that you can focus on growing your business, while making sure you’ve got a consistent amount of new clients, and new PROFITS each month.