Profit vs. Service

The recent issue with United Airlines removing a paying customer from an overbooked flight to make room for employees that needed to be at their next assignment, shows the current viewpoint many, if not most, large corporations take toward their customers.  They are just dollars (profit to be made) instead of human beings. 

I was raised in a time, not that long ago, where customer satisfaction was a huge and sincere concern.  I have personally seen businessmen that I worked for or with, actually loose money on a deal to make sure the customer felt as if they were treated fairly.  In most of those instances, the businessman had actually done nothing wrong, but their reputation was important enough that they were willing to go above and beyond to keep from having even the perception that a customer might be dissatisfied.

Today if you ask a corporate executive how important the reputation of their organization is, you will most likely be told that is THE most important thing, but yet you see United Airlines removing paying customers to improve profit.  There by proving profit outweighs customer service.

In retrospect they could have bought first class tickets on another carrier, or for that matter chartered a plane to fly their crew to Louisville and be money ahead.  A charter would probably cost in excess of $20,000 dollars but now, they will most likely pay hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in settlement and legal costs. Not to mention the damage they have done to the “Brand” that is supposed to be so important.
But I digress, the point is that they have so deeply ingrained “profit above all else” into their personnel, that they have effectively stymied common sense.  Company policy and profitability are THE main focus of mid-level management, instead of “what is this going to do to our company’s reputation”. Most likely their incomesdare directly tied to profitability through bonuses or wage scale. There is a very good likelihood that the personnel at the plane had reached the maximum dollar value allowed to be offered for voluntary dislocation by their supervision and therefore felt they had to go to the next level, which was physical removal of the person refusing to cooperate.

2 thoughts on “Profit vs. Service

  1. I totally agree, unfortunately in this day and age most see customers as just numbers with no face. Two weeks ago, I noticed a charge to my bank account that was wrong. After calling the bank I was told numerous times the charge was due to my own error, this was not true. Almost no amount of reasoning or logic could convince the bank otherwise. I had to explain how they made the mistake in detail at minimum five times. Thankfully I’m hard headed and persistent, otherwise I would have been stuck with a charge that was an error on the banks behalf.


    1. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am glad you were persistent. All too often customers will get frustrated and just let it pass. That is when the big institutions win.


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