Entitled customers

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During a recent interview, I received this question:

How do you handle customers who, once they’ve been “delighted,” now expect that level of service and even feel entitled to it?

To me, the best illustration of this dynamic is frequent flyers. When airline customers first join a frequent flyer program, it’s incumbent upon them to accumulate a significant chunk of miles (usually 25,000 within a calendar year) before attaining a level of status that entitles them to privileges such as priority boarding and waved baggage fees.

While in the process of acquiring status in the airline’s frequent flyer program, these customers dutifully wait in line and pay to check their baggage. But once they achieve certain status in the program – especially elite status, such as United Airline’s 1K – these same passengers become annoyed, even indignant, when having to wait in line or being refused an upgrade to First Class.

I’m not sure what the remedy is for an entitlement mentality, but I can say this with certainty: Don’t extend perks or privileges to premium customers that you cannot consistently honor. For example, if an airline designates an exclusive area in the terminal for premium passengers to check-in for their flights, then it had better be adequately staffed.

If it’s not and the line of spring breakers moves more quickly, then you have a problem.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Curtin
Steve Curtin is the author of Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. He wrote the book to address the following observation: While employees consistently execute mandatory job functions for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate voluntary customer service behaviors for which there is little or no additional cost to their employers. After a 20-year career with Marriott International, Steve now devotes his time to speaking, consulting, and writing on the topic of extraordinary customer service.

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