The Biz of Pacelinebiz

Turning things on end to achieve results!

Archive for January 2015

Planes, People And Policies

leave a comment »

 

Planes and people and more!

Planes and people and more!

I travel by air for a client in Ohio during the winter months when driving would be risky due to snow, ice, a possible polar vortex and other weather related calamities.    I recently had an encounter with Delta airlines that would test their commitment to customer service.  Let me tell you the story then I will give you my Monday morning quarterback view of it.  Read more about Delta here.

I did preliminary month end work from my home office before travelling in January and had a nice head start but I had a lot of extra things to do related to year-end requirements so I booked my travel knowing  I might get done early if all went well.  Things went well and I was able to leave a day early but I never investigated the specifics of changing a flight.

I went online to the Delta website and finally found the page about changing flights.   It was not very clear to me what I had to do to get the ball rolling so after looking for a bit I became impatient and called the 800 number to talk someone about it. I stayed on the page while I was on hold to continue to look and just about the same time someone picked up the phone I found what I was looking for on the website.  A change fee for a domestic economy flight was $200. Yikes, I thought to myself.  As the Delta employee came on the phone I explained my situation and he quickly told me about the $200 fee.

I was crestfallen.  I told him that since the fee was $200 I would just take my original flight.  Before another word was spoken he chimed in that he noticed that I was a frequent flier and had been since 2011.  He also said that as frequent flier he would waive that fee as a reward for my loyalty to Delta.  I was no longer crestfallen.

He made the changes and sent me an email with my new flight arrangements and I proceeded to check in and print my boarding pass.  This was very cool I thought and also was glad I decided to register as a frequent flier even though I only fly about 3 times a year.  Now, a couple of points on what we can learn from this:

The $200 change fee policy is available for everyone to see and since those are the rules I had to live by them.  You might say that the fee is excessive and I would agree but it seems reasonable to charge at least some fee.  I would imagine that on flights that are prime routes they would be less likely to waive a fee – even if a seat was available.  My thought on this is why set a fee that seems too unreasonable?  Is it to discourage changing flights or is it because people will accept the fee and pay it with asking?  Are the people who pay the fee subsidizing people like me who question it and then Delta can appear to be generous on their dime – or should I say on their $200?  I don’t know the answer but I give credit to Delta for what they did.

Another thing we business owners need to do is view our policies from the customer’s eyes.  We need to find the right balance between recovering our costs or lost revenues with being too heavy-handed and risk losing a customer.  Even if we take a little bit o f a financial hit, the goodwill we gain may be well worth it.  A happy, loyal customer that spreads the news about our customer friendly company is very valuable advertising.  Think about the long-term benefits outweighing the short-term cost.  Delta is getting some good, free advertising right now.

Have a great week.  I did, courtesy of my all time, best ever airline – Delta.

 

 

Advertisements

If It Were Up To Me…

leave a comment »

Do more of this in 2015

Do more of this in 2015

Last year I wrote a similar blog post about what would happen if I were in charge of things in 2014.  Read my thoughts by clicking here.  This year I will continue what I started last year.  If I were the King of the Forest in 2015 I would do the following:

  • Invest heavily in public Wi-Fi for populated areas and eliminate the need for cell phone companies.  They can be relegated to sparsely populated areas until technology eliminates them in those areas also.
  • Celebrate good behavior and punish bad behavior.
  • Teach long division and cursive writing – it builds character!
  • Spend vast amounts of money for small businesses to learn the benefits of technology.  Can we eliminate the fax machine by 2016?
  • Start a competition to find someone who can build a manually operated can opener for under $10 that works well and won’t break in 2 years.
  • Start a competition to find someone who can find a replacement for the can as a long-term storage vessel for food stuffs.  This would make the item above superfluous.
  • Make a Royal Proclamation continuing my 2014 ban on Royal Proclamations.
  • Develop a technique to blunt the rage-a-holic tendencies of Jimmy Sad Eyes.  If you don’t know who Jimmy Sad Eyes is; read about him here, here and here.

Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

January 19, 2015 at 8:01 am

Optimism For 2015

leave a comment »

Accentuate The Positive

Accentuate The Positive

As I write this at the end of 2014, gasoline prices are down near $2 per gallon, Q3 GDP was revised up to 5%, interest rates remain low and job growth has been robust for the past 6 months.  This is the first time I have felt confident that the economy is on steady footing since before the great recession.  The fact that my confidence rating is up is a lagging indicator as I need much evidence before I feel optimistic.  I don’t know what to do about that.  How do I operate my business with the belief that things are going to be better?

If many business owners have already been feeling optimistic what can they do to act upon that optimism to grow their business?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Invest in new software to increase productivity or manage their inventory more efficiently
  • Invest in employees by training of staff to use existing software to its full potential
  • Invest in capital equipment to increase productivity on the shop floor, better diagnostic tools or upgrade vehicles with more capacity and better fuel economy
  • Invest in key members of your supply chain – work with vendors for win-win outcomes such as having your enterprise-wide computer systems talk to each other better or give and take on payment terms
  • Invest in an advertising campaign utilizing multiple forms of media such as print, radio, TV and of course Social media
  • Invest in promotional materials in conjunction with the advertising campaign
  • Invest in the best form of advertising – word of mouth by training employees to understand the importance to provide top notch service to the customer
  • Invest in yourself by attending training in all aspects of your business from employee relations (how to be a better boss) to improving your product or service (how to be a better company)
  • Invest in yourself by taking a vacation

I hope you can find innovative ways to make your business better in 2015; it will help you in the long run.  Have a great week going from good to great.

 

Written by pacelinebiz

January 12, 2015 at 8:01 am

Holidays In 2015

leave a comment »

Have a Happy New Year

Have a Happy New Year

It is 2015 and for some reason there is not much anticipation for the upcoming year.  There is no presidential election or Olympics or other similar events that will shape the year.  We are half way through the current decade and I am hoping that 2015 is a boring year.  After the great recession and the events that unfolded since, I think we all could use an uneventful 12 months.

As I took a look ahead I noted the following after reviewing the calendar:

  • Valentine’s day is on a Saturday so that is good for most of us but disappointing for restaurant’s who will miss out on a big night since Saturday is already their best night for business.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is on a Tuesday so tavern owners will be happy to get a nice bump in weeknight sales but employers may notice a drop in productivity.
  • Memorial Day is on May 25th which is somewhat early but it means we kick off summer a little early and I am all for that.
  • Some bad news; July 4th falls on a Saturday and this means many employees will lose the holiday.
  • The unofficial end of the summer season, Labor Day, falls as late as possible on September 7th.  With an early Memorial Day and a Late Labor Day the summer season is very long this year.  Let’s hope for good weather.
  • Thanksgiving falls on the 26th which is a bit on the late side so the Christmas shopping season will be somewhat abbreviated.  With the proliferation of internet shopping I believe that the importance of the Black Friday kick off to the Christmas shopping season has been lessened.
  • Finally, there is some more good news.  Christmas this year and New Year’s 2016 will fall on a Friday which is a great set up for a long weekend for most people.

My best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

 

Written by pacelinebiz

January 5, 2015 at 8:01 am