In the study of God there is something known as “negative theology”, by which people learn about the divine through a definition of what God is not. It sounds strange, but is illustrative. Similarly, I think we can learn a great deal about business by learning what NOT to do.
I recently flew United Airlines and had a terrible experience. While my first flight from Nashville to Chicago left on time and was pleasant, at least as much as it can be on a puddle jumper with a Duck Dynasty wannabe in the row behind me who spoke loud enough to demonstrate his arrogance and ignorance to everyone from row 21 to 10, my connecting flight was delayed five times-for a total of 4 1/2 hours.
Every 45 minutes the status was updated, as if the airline just couldn’t figure out what was going on (“Do we have airplanes? Do we have people who can fly them?”), and while the delay was a minor inconvenience, the manner in which United treats passengers is a textbook lesson in how NOT to interact with the public (and a great learning experience for marketers or PR personnel who want to know how to excel in business).
First, there was no communication from the airline; the passengers in the know (like me), got updates from the booking agency via text or email, long before gate attendants (had they been present) had information.
Secondly, the airline made no attempt (even half-hearted) at apology. A simple … Read the rest