We read about it every day. Companies are charging customers hidden fees. One company eliminates their customer service, another starts charging patients for messages in amounts that would make most consumers say “Ouch” not to mention “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Unfortunately, this trend is affecting a wide variety of businesses across industries.
Frontier Airlines Stops Offering Customer Service
In recent years most passengers whether on domestic or international flights have grown to hate dealing with airlines and their poor customer service. And like me, most have probably thrown up their hands—physically or metaphorically—and thought, at least it couldn’t get any worse. Not so fast, it appears it has. In November, Frontier Airlines became the second U.S. carrier (the first being Breeze Airways, the new U.S. carrier launched by JetBlue) to stop offering customer service by phone. No more speaking directly to a customer service representative! Now the only way to communicate with the budget airline is via online, mobile, and text support. Customer service hours that are 24/7 sound great until you realize that without the human touch, it can feel like smoke and mirrors. And while a bot might get the job done, it lacks the humanity necessary to be a true relationship builder.
It’s disheartening, to say the least, those customers must often pay an additional price of inconvenience and lost time, for the worst customer service no less, so airlines can boost their own profit margins in the face of rising direct and indirect costs. Time will tell what percentage of current Frontier and Breeze Airways customers start scheduling their future flights with other, more accommodating airlines that show more concern regarding keeping their consumer base happy, and offering quality service that keeps their average customer effort score at an acceptable level. We could even see an increase across airline carriers in complaints received by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Aviation Consumer Protection. These complaints are not kept secret. DOT publishes a monthly report available to the public that includes complaints made against airlines, as well as ticketing agents and those operating tours.
Leading Global Health Care System Now Charging Patients for Messaging
The Cleveland Clinic is now billing for certain messages between patients and providers that take place on the health system’s portal. Patients could be billed up to a hefty $50 per message. And Cleveland Clinic isn’t alone in experimenting with this strategy. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) rolled out a similar plan, and other hospitals across the country are considering following Cleveland Clinic’s and UCSF’s leads. We could see more healthcare systems move in this direction. It’s unsettling to know that while Cleveland Clinic landed at the number two spot on Newsweek’s World’s Best Hospitals 2022 list, it has a new billing practice that is far from patient-friendly, one which could have a real impact on their patient’s finances.
Government Cracking Down on Hidden “Junk Fees” from Banks, Cable TV, Concert Tickets
President Joe Biden is committed to cleaning up hidden and unexpected fees consumers are forced to pay, in numerous industries. U.S. financial regulators declared bank service fees for bounced checks and overdrafts unfair and have begun enforcement actions, with funds returned to affected parties. “These are junk fees,” said President Biden, “They benefit big corporations. Not consumers. Not working for families. And that changes now.” With such federal action on junk fee activity, financial institutions are under increased scrutiny for costing consumers billions of dollars annually. Reuters reported that in 2019, banks netted approximately $15.5 billion in revenue on overdrafts and insufficient fund fees alone. As for those pesky “processing fees” for concert tickets and “resort fees” at hotels, agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission have them in the cross hairs for possible reduction or elimination. Even billing for cable TV–standard in many, if not most American households–could become fairer to the consumer if our current administration has its way.
*Related – IT IS TIME TO RECESSION-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS
What is a Billionaire? A New Definition
The meaning of “billionaire” used to be unambiguous. Its historical meaning reflected in the Cambridge English Dictionary is “a person who has money, property, etc. that is worth at least 1,000,000,000 dollars, pounds, euros, etc.” In recent years, however, the term has been flipped on its head. In a 2022 Ted Talk corporate futurist Pete Dulcamara offered a new definition: “a person helping a billion people–not a person accumulating a billion dollars”. And while this may not be an entirely new paradigm–someone with a billion or more in assets is still a billionaire, after all–it’s an alternate paradigm that is picking up speed. Since 1997, when Dulcamara first developed his life purpose statement as he and his wife awaited the arrival of their first child, he has created businesses that will improve people’s lives in his North Star. In his Ted Talk, he discusses the three “S-curves” in life: the initial struggle to succeed and add value to one’s own life; the second, creating greater significance by putting service to others before self; and finally, the obligation we have toward future generations to set our egos aside as well as the opportunities before us to make the world a better place, one in which the approximately 6.75 trillion people yet to be born will thrive. It would seem this new definition of billionaire, which includes developing economically viable ways to solve the current problems of humanity, is one worth exploring.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“The new definition of a billionaire; Someone who positively affects the lives of a billion people”
CX VIDEO CLIP OF THE WEEK