United Airlines has been under fire for its upsetting customer service.
On Sunday April 9th, 2017, Doctor Daniel Dao was one of the many passengers boarded on an overbooked flight to Louisville, Kentucky. Seats were needed for four United Airlines employees and three passengers complied without any objections. However, Dao was singled out and was involuntarily dragged out of his seat and out of the plane bleeding despite him stating that he had patient appointments scheduled the following morning. He was left with a broken nose, two lost teeth, and a concussion.
United Airlines has faced multiple controversies in the past as well. On March 26, 2017, two teenage girls were forced off their flight for wearing leggings and not complying with their dress code. Many celebrities as well as the public have voiced disapproval and criticism of United Airlines’ poor customer service.
The public has not received these upsetting events well, and the United Airlines stocks have taken a dip as a result. The incident is the complete opposite of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines.
The SAS Scandinavian Airlines was a dying airline company, until a new CEO, John Carlzon, stepped up in 1981. In a 2006 interview, Carlzon revealed that in the 80’s, “there was no focus on service as a business issue or service as a profit-driven part of the business.” He further emphasized that the airline “used to fly aircraft [but he realized that the real goal is] to learn the difficult lesson how to fly people.”
The New York Times have praised Carlzon for leading a “successful crusade to improve service” by implementing his theory of ”front-line workers,” employees who directly communicate and provide service to passengers. Carlzon believed that they were “the company’s most important asset,” and because of his theory, he “put more than 12,000 of his employees through a service course,” which is still being used as a model for countless companies. He has also published a business biography on the SAS Scandinavian Airlines, “Moments of Truth”, which further emphasizes the importance of the small yet positive interactions between customers and the company.
The importance of customer service is clear. In the long run of economy, companies who are customer-centered will last in the competitive business world and make the most profit, while companies who are business-centered will inevitably experience drawbacks and PR disasters.