Short Sighted

January 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm 12 comments

blurry-eye-chartThere’s a hotel in Las Vegas that charges guests $5 to receive a FedEx package.

Most hotels still charge you $15 a day for an internet connection.

Most airlines charge $15 or $25 to check baggage. A few will charge you the same to reserve an aisle seat.

Some banks charge you extra to see a teller in person.

Some gas stations charge you a buck if you want to put air in your own tires.

Times are tough, I know.

But I don’t know customer who walks away from such encounters feeling honored, appreciated or valued  by that business.

Can the $5 the hotel collects for ransoming that package ever be worth all that ill will?

Stand out from the crowd. Don’t treat every customer interaction as a mandatory financial transaction.

See what you get.


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  • 1. David M. Patt, CAE  |  January 21, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    That hotel is counting on every hotel charging $5 (or more), so shopping elsewhere won’t get you a better deal.

    You’re right – you’ll stand out if you don’t charge people for things they don’t think they should be charged for.

    Would you pay more for a room, though, if there was no internet charge or FedEx fee?

  • 2. Peggy Hoffman  |  January 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    So glad to here someone else question the $15 day on average internet fee! Understanding where to draw the line is always difficult and I know both in my management services and consulting I constantly weigh this issue. We have chosen for example in our management company to go with a flat administration fee and not charge for paperclips, copies, faxes et al. Maybe we need to just first – how would I feel as a customer to have to pay that?

  • 3. Frank Fortin  |  January 21, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Good points.
    I understand that as a company’s customer, I’m helping to cover its overhead. No mystery there. So don’t nickel and dime me to death on these basics.
    There are a limited number of justifications for an extra line item: temporary fuel surcharges, really extraordinary services, government-imposed surcharges, for example.
    But internet service and receiving hotel guests’ packages are basic, ordinary and expected services. Itemizing them on a final invoice sends a strong message that providing simple, ordinary conveniences are a pain in the neck and they’d rather not do it.
    Is THAT what you would want to be your customers’ last impression?

  • 4. Lee Winder  |  January 22, 2009 at 10:59 am

    I stayed in a hotel in the US only last year where they charged $60 for 24 hour wifi access. Yet I could go the coffee shop down the road and get it for free.

    I was a lovely hotel, but I will never stay there again mainly for this reason.

  • 5. everythinginorder  |  January 22, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I’m sitting in a McDonald’s “cafe” where I’ve had to pay $3-something for wifi access. I would have chosen Wendy’s or Burger Kind across the street if they offered me free wifi. When will these people get it? I’m in a little podunk town with no Pannera or I would be there instead.

  • 6. Mike Shields  |  January 22, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Exactly. Let’s put the service back into customer service, and see where that gets us….

  • 7. timmahoney  |  January 22, 2009 at 11:06 am

    The internet fee is completely ridiculous. What’s interesting is the smaller hotels (sometimes really nice ones) give it away for free. Makes me wonder how much money the chains make off of it.

    Trump Plaza in Atlantic City charges to be able to access wireless in the business conference rooms, but doesn’t charge to hook up (wired) in the suites.

  • 8. awordlessordinary  |  January 22, 2009 at 11:07 am

    There’s a Second Cup, Star Bucks and a mom & pop bakery/deli all at the same intersection. The bakery/deli offers free wi-fi with your regular purchase. The Star Bucks and Second Cup charge for Wi Fi.

    Guess which business isn’t being muscled out by the competition?

    Here’s a hint: it’s not the first two.

  • 9. jghalo  |  January 22, 2009 at 11:14 am

    somtimes extra services can be offered for free or cheaper than market price, if they are considered in clients servicing and care, even if they are loss or no profit is made, but they will return good profits on a long turn as they will gain more loyal clients and the more they gain the more they will sell their initial products/services which will bring them real PROFITS.


  • 10. Char James-Tanny  |  January 22, 2009 at 11:21 am

    What’s funny is that the higher-end hotels (which charge much more for rooms) charge for Internet access, while the less expensive hotels include it in the room rate. And those hotels are still nice…I’m talking places like Holiday Inn, etc. I’ve gotten great deals and free Internet, and they are my first choice when looking for a place to stay.

    What’s weird is that I typically get better service at those hotels, too. You’d think that the reverse would be true…

  • 11. maggielmcg  |  January 22, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I never thought about it like that but you are so right, Char! I guess luxury hotels figure guests have already shown they’re willing to spend money by virtue of the fact that they’re staying there in the first place so figure they may as well bilk them for all they’re worth. 😉

  • […] these, you might be tempted to see what kind of cash you can extract from customers at every turn. Bad idea. But, ensuring that members don’t bail on you when they’re attempting to complete an […]

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