Years ago, I remember reading a book called “The Lazlo Letters.” It was written by Don Novello who also portrayed the character, “Father Guido Sarducci” on Saturday Night Live. The book is a compilation of letters written by another of Don’s alter egos, “Lazlo Toth.” In it, Lazlo writes all sorts of letters to CEOs, Presidents, Congressmen, Dignitaries, etc, offering advice, soliciting same, or just offering some words of encouragement (like telling president Nixon, “I’ve been the president of several organizations myself, so I know how you feel!”). The funny part is… almost every single letter received a response! The book is a compilation of the letters and their paired responses. He wrote the CEO of the corporation who makes “Bubble Bath” and asked how he was supposed to use the product when it says, “Keep Dry” on the label! He got a response with an explanation and a full set of instructions.
People don’t write letters anymore. They send e-mail, or they call. If they bother to call but wait more than 30 seconds to get transferred to an actual person, they’ll hang up and e-mail. Well, I’m here to tell you that if a hotel screwed you, or an airline delayed you or a rental car company stiffed you… a written letter is the quickest way to retribution. If it sucks, WRITE or CALL! Experts estimate that less than 1% of travelers who’ve had a problem ever call to complain about it. Most companies would kill for those numbers. Imagine if Microsoft were to get a phone call or an irate letter from every single user who had trouble with their software. You think Bill Gates might eventually have to do something about it?
Faithful blog readers will remember that awhile ago, I had a flight attendant try to read my palm and tell me my future. I wasn’t interested, but she pressed. It bothered me enough, I wrote a letter. Well, I had pretty much forgotten the whole incident until I got a call this afternoon from a customer service liaison for the airline in question. She wanted some “details” about the incident. Apparently, whenever a Platinum flier writes a letter of complaint about a flight attendant, they have a “meeting.” Don’t get me wrong, I write good letters too for airline staff who do a great job. This time however, it really bothered me so I complained. Anyway, they asked me some questions, confirmed my flight confirmation number (another good reason to keep those, by the way) and offered me 7500 frequent flier miles for the trouble.
Need another example? Recently, I was delayed on the tarmac for an hour on a flight to
Now, I realize that frequent flier miles aren’t necessarily the best thing you might hope for, but its certainly better than nothing. In my case, I got the satisfaction of hearing that they knew the problems and they’re trying their best to fix them. The miles were a nice bonus.