I took my family on vacation last week. Vacations are great because they break up our daily patterns and expose us to all sorts of new situations and opportunities to learn and grow.
In this case, I picked up a pattern I want to share with my fellow business owners and salespeople.
When I travel on business, I never check bags, so imagine my surprise when we showed up at the curbside check-in and I was told that our family’s luggage would cost an additional $180 to check … a cool $360 for the round trip.
We had procured some pretty good ticket prices, so I was not so much concerned with the airlines collecting a few more bucks, as I was with the sneaky way they went about nicking me.
Meanwhile, I had rented a car through a “special” for a week at around $200. Imagine my surprise when I stepped up to the counter and looked at a contract for over twice that much, courtesy of a line of hidden fees ranging from a security deposit to gas surcharges, etc.
The airline and the car rental company won this round, this “battle,” so to speak, but they lost the war.
I will do my very best to avoid each of them in the future, and will certainly alert all my friends, to drill down on these details as they plan their trips.
As for us, as business people, hidden fees are a sign of desperation and of utmost disrespect for our customers. They are at the exact opposite on the spectrum of building trust, loyalty and long-lasting client relationships.
On the other side of the coin, complete transparency and clear, concise pricing are not only an indication of integrity, but can also be an important differentiator against an increasing tide of “gotcha” operators.
Any company that focuses on ways to exploit its customers through surreptitious means cannot be trusted at any level of its organization.
As business owners and salespeople, we will win over the long term by taking the high road relative to our precious customer relationships.