NWA keeps writing and making it worse

A couple weeks ago, I posted this up about an experience with Northwest Airlines. My daughter wrote one last letter and let them know her response was a blog post and that they really don’t need to keep on the conversation as it was going nowhere anyway.

Oops. They replied via a letter, further explaining their position and just making things worse. She will not reply back, but here is the letter and a little bit of insight, in case Northwest Airlines were to want to wander over here and read this.

Really. I mean it this time. Do not reply back. We get it and we’re ok with all of this. You are meeting our expectations, even though they are so low as to almost be nonexistent.

Insights:
1. The value of any customer experience to a brand is what they are willing to give you to make things right. If they are willing to give you their attention, listen to what you say and make a reasoned attempt at making you happy, that has value. If they are willing to make things right by robotically reaching into a big bowl of beads, you know how much they really value you.

2. Northwest Airlines practically admitted in their letter that all passengers are merely cargo, all big sacks of DNA to be shuttled here and there “equitably.” Every dissatisfaction with our service will not get a personal reply, just a handful of standardized beads.

3. We expect airlines to board late, have long layovers in the middle of the day, treat us like cargo, have no services, be surly and stick to the rules at all times. Airlines expect their cargo passengers to sit still, shut up, have their papers in order, do what their told and accept token of beads in exchange for bad behavior from them. We get it and we’re ok with it. Sure, some passengers may erupt in frustration from time to time, but after the news people all go away and folks like Ms. Arden continue to write letters celebrating banality, they give up. But, they will fly again.

4. We do not expect any “compensation” for anything in point 3 above. When we get it, however, we expect worthless vouchers and beads.

5. Our expectations are really, really low. We’re just happy you didn’t kill us falling out of the sky.

Perhaps Ms. Arden and Ms. Irlwig can get together for a drink and laugh about us silly passengers and our unrealistic expectations. I’m sure it will be funny to them in twenty years; it’s already funny to us now.

Originally appeared at GerardMcLean.com

How the US Postal Service blows its brand every December

USPS Santa Letter Box at Englewood OH 45322
USPS Santa Letter Box at Englewood OH 45322
Every December, Santa hands the US Postal Service a shiny new opportunity to rebrand itself as a lovable, caring organization that is an integral part of all 43,000+ Zip Codes it services. Every year, the USPS blows it terribly.

I found myself in the Englewood OH 45322 Post Office last Friday about 4:00pm. Ironically enough, I had forgotten it was Christmas and there might be a line. There was. But that was a good thing because it gave me an opportunity to look around, read all the signs on the walls, thumb through the FBI wanted sheets, straighten the certified mail postcards and Priority Mail envelopes and stickers. And then, I noticed a wrapped box on top of the glass case.

It was a box so kids can drop in their letters to Santa Claus. In truth, it was a spare box somebody found in the back. Perhaps another employee went to Big Lots and bought the cheapest wrapping paper they could find with Santa faces all over it, wrapped it hastily, punched a hole in the top and wrote “Santa Letters” on a card and glued it to the top.

What it should be is an opportunity that comes once a year that every postal employee is excited to be a part of.

What it should be is a old-tyme mail box, encrusted with candy canes and icicles, covered in snow with reindeer prints leading up to it.

What it should be is a production for every kid in the Zip Code area to go to their local Post Office to drop their one and only Santa letter into the magical mail box that only comes out the Friday after Thanksgiving and goes away when the post office closes the day before Christmas Eve.

What it should be is a tradition that kids mark on their calendar like an Easter egg hunt, their birthday and Santa coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve.

The US Post Office — in Englewood, Oh anyway — has taken an opportunity to market itself for free and turned the Santa drop into an obligatory wrapped box, stuck on a glass counter, too high for most kids to reach and too nondescript for them to care about.

Don’t worry, Postmaster General John E. Potter, this little pesky holiday will be over in eleven days and all your postal workers can get back to work and quit worrying about kids coming in wanting to mail their letters to Santa Claus.

What are the little brats doing running around a post office anyways. Don’t they know there are lines to stand in, postal standards to adhere to and stupid questions about perishable or hazardous materials to answer?

Bonus Material:
This is some bonus material that was knocking around my brain, was kinda related, too much for a tweet and not enough for another blog post, so here goes.

Other unfriendly stuff I saw while waiting in line: FBI wanted sheets, sign that said: passports by appointment only! Hours: 10am-2pm, no Fridays, sign that said in all caps NO DOGS! (presumably cats are ok), a long list of crap we can’t mail, the rules of standing in line, including no cell phones… and the ever ubiquitous, but entirely unnecessary barking when it is your turn… “NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!” *sigh*