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I've not flown United for over 2 decades, which is around the time they became, as a company, so despondent. Somehow, they, as many other companies since, lost their way & ended up in the mire of apathy. They USED TO care. They had decent food & their employees were friendly. You had a good feeling sitting in one of their planes & knowing you would arrive fairly on time but in a good mood regardless. You could hear in the "buzz" of conversation if you listened (I'm a geek that does that kind of thing). In my life, paying attention to how customers are reacting to a business, whether a fast-food joint or a hospital, tells me what I can expect as a client. If the "buzz" seems negative, you can bet I'm not going to stick around. &, in the end, that's what you want to promulgate as a business: the concept of customer satisfaction. You don't get that if your management doesn't care 'cause it's their treatment of employees that eventually permeates their customer service. I didn't understand that until I got to work at a youth hostel. Our staff was given room & board in exchange for cleaning & maintenance, so you, as a manager (or asst mgr when I began) had to make it a daily mantra to motivate all the young adults who "worked" w/ us. The mantra: we are a service industry. If we don't have satisfied customers, they don't come back & tell others to stay away. & if we don't get positive feedback, that's ok, because the NEGATIVE feedback of lousy cust svc is SO much WORSE! & No customers means NO job! & NO job means no hostel for you to stay in or to work for. & THAT ultimately was the clincher. I'd tell them: DON'T burn your bridges. Leave a place with the ppl in them missing you & knowing they will greet you with a smile when you return. 'Cause you never know when you have to cross THAT bridge. United has forgotten. Maybe they thought that good customer service didn't save them from bankruptcy, money did, but how many more times will they be "acquired", & in increasingly worse compensatory situations, until they regain some semblance of good management? The resulting improved cust satisfaction as a result of good cust svc might just save them but it HAS to come from the top. In my case, whenever my boss made noises about the cost of hair conditioner & disposable shavers & ear swabs, I'd argue that they were the incentives that made the staff stay. My carrot, so to speak. The stick? I'd fire a staff member on the spot for bad behavior in front of customers or whoever argued w/ the cooks (really!). Those fired "kids" would start to realize, and complain, about the cost of providing their own meals, paying for their bed, having to buy their own toiletries & generally all the "extras" beyond the basic room & board. That kept the apathy to a minimum & despite having a fairly low occupancy rate, I didn't have too many negative customer comments & most of my staff have remained friends. Someone needs to up the ante over at United. is now following The Typepad Team
Aug 16, 2012