I enjoy reading a blog by my friend Mary Schmidt.  Mary’s a business developer and marketing troubleshooter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Mary recently returned from a much-deserved vacation in Europe.  On the domestic leg of her return flight she experienced this:

I hauled my bag up on the scale at the American Airlines “self-check-in” (while AA baggage handlers stood and watched), only to be told by the very young and obviously very bored woman passing out luggage tags, “You’re overweight. You’ll have to remove some items.” She didn’t bother to look at me…or even say a perfunctory “sorry, m’am, but…” And no suggestions about what exactly I was supposed to do with said items. (One of the baggage handlers did suggest I “put them in your carry-on bag.”)  

Just today, she shared the update to this story.  Seems American Airlines doesn’t care that she has a blog or that she’s sharing this story with her readers.  (They’re exact quote:  “…we do not engage in researching online blogs. However, your perspective has been noted.”)

So I thought to myself, “Maybe I can give them some insight?”

I sent them this email just today:

I’m shopping for an airline for an upcoming trip.  Since I’ve flown with AA before (to London and New York) I’ve checked your site and you go to my destination.

However, I just read on Mary Schmidt’s blog about some concerns she’s had dealing with your company.  In fact, the canned response she got from Roberto Silva, which claims that your company doesn’t monitor blogs, makes me questions whether I want to ever use your airline again.

So I’m sharing this latest story with my own blog readers – 350+ funeral directors who regularly fly to conventions and conventions, while occasionally deciding which airline to use to ship human remains across the country and the world.  Maybe ya’ll can do a better job of listening to my friend Mary (whom I’ve never met or verbally talked to. And still I empathize with her and enjoy reading about her experiences) and she’ll tell her many readers about how you’ve finally come around.  If not, expect to lose my future business.  And the business of as many of my own readers that I can touch.

The Internet makes the world a WHOLE lot smaller.  Someone in your company should be thinking about how your actions are viewed when I can tell everyone about them with just a few mouse clicks.

Mary took the time to make her thoughts known.  And yes, she might have said some things that, in the heat of annoyance, seem kinda mean.  She may have even threatened to tell all her blog readers how bad AA is.  I don’t know, I didn’t read her email to them.

But instead of thanking her for her comments and apologizing that corporate policy caused her a big inconvenience, the company basically said “we don’t care that you have a blog.”

Next time a person complains about something that your firm has either done wrong (messing up the DC, anyone?) or something you’ve forgotten (the weeds are getting out of hand!) don’t dismiss their “I’m telling all my friends” rant.

People who care enough to call and complain will ACTUALLY tell their friends.  Why not give them a good experience to talk about.  Do your best to get them to say, “I had a problem with Smith Funeral Home, but they fixed it right away!”

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