Random Post: Are You Scared Yet?
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    Are You Scared Yet?

    January 9th, 2009

    If you do any sort of marketing, for your blog, business, or otherwise, the question that you should always have in the back of your head is “How will this be perceived by my customers?”

    You can have variations such as “How am I presenting my brand to the customer?” or “How am I enriching the customer experience?” or countless others but the bottom line is what is your customer going to perceive.  It doesn’t matter what your intent is.  It doesn’t matter what you think you are saying or how you think you are presenting; only what is perceived matters.

    I was purchasing a plane ticket recently with NWA – which had some really great fares by the way – and was all set to pay when I saw this:

    Protect yourself against loss of non-refundable fares and change fees (up to $3,000) by purchasing Trip Protector. Trip Protector offers coverage for you and your traveling companions in the event you have to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unforeseen injury, medical emergencies, accidents or other covered reasons. See price details and terms and conditions

    Now I can see the intent behind this note.  I can see that they are trying to be helpful (as well as make more money).  For me this just doesn’t do it.  Let me explain why.

    First of all, my ticket was just over $200.  I am not really worried that fees could be $3,000.  That just doesn’t make sense.  I would be better off just not flying and buying a ticket from a different airline.  But lets pretend for a moment that NWA is the only one that flys to where I am going.  And lets say that I do have to make a change to my flight.  And lets say that my fees are $3,000 (in case you didn’t catch on, all of this happening at once is not very likely).  I am going to be really upset at NWA.  I won’t care that I could have purchased this protection.  I am just going to be upset.

    My real problem with this is that NWA is choosing to use a hard-sell scare tactic.  “You could be charged $3,000 if you don’t buy this.”   Interesting.  Who exactly is going to charge me this fee?  Oh, that’s right, NWA is.  They are trying to scare the customer into paying for this service or else they are really going to get your money later.  It is just like insurance except that at least with regular insurance you don’t pay the insurance company if you get hurt with out insurance, you pay hospitals.  Here NWA gets money either way.

    I understand that it does cost an airline money when you want to switch tickets.  I understand that there can and should be fees for changing.  I just don’t think they should try and scare a customer with $3,000 of fees on a $200 ticket.  It just seems odd that a company sells a service to avoid their own fees when they could change the pricing on their fees at any time.

    For NWA it is probably simple.  This probably works.  People probably buy it more often.  But I just don’t feel as good when buying the ticket.  Can you really love the enforcer who comes around asking for money or else you may really pay extra for it later?  And if I don’t love the company, why come back?  The race to the bottom on price only gets you so far.

    Do you ever buy “Trip Protection”?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.