Difficult to do business with

5 Aug

How long do companies survive when they are difficult to do business with? Even worse, how long will they survive when they were innovative and easy to do business with and then decide to be difficult?


My favorite airline is American Airlines. My dad flew for them for almost 25 years so I naturally prefer to fly them. They have decent airfares and they’ve been first with some big marketing programs, like frequent flyers. They even developed the 800lb gorilla of ticketing software, SABRE. Their website is pretty decent to pick flights from, especially if you’re trying to use those frequent flyer miles. I have over 1M miles on American and no more than 50K on any other airline.

So then why the decision to make it difficult for Kayak customers to purchase AA tickets? They sent me the email yesterday telling me that they’re ending their association with Kayak. But they don’t tell me why it’s good news for ME. Just some marketing blather as they try to spin this as good for me. Ridiculous. Especially when Kayak shows the AA and Orbitz fares side by side and the Orbitz fares are the more expenive one.

So, Kayak makes it really easy for me to find the flights I want and then shows me that the AA flights I want are cheaper on AA then elsewhere. But AA is concerned that I might choose Orbitz and a more expensive ticket for the same flight? So not only are they difficult to do business with but they think I’m stupid. Thanks for the memories, AA.


2 Responses to “Difficult to do business with”

  1. Trish Bertuzzi August 6, 2008 at 6:29 am #

    Excellent post Michael. Sometimes companies just don’t think it through.

    We recently finished a win/loss analysis for a client. We found that 32% of the deals they thought they had lost were still in play with their competitors. The primary reason they had been booted out was because their sales process was so rigid that they frustrated the prospects that were trying to buy from them!

    Lesson learned? A well formulated sales process is a must-do but you also have to listen to how the prospect wants to buy from you and give them what they need and want on their schedule – not yours.

  2. Michael Kreppein August 6, 2008 at 7:48 am #

    Trish, Amen to that. I wonder if the sales reps already knew their company was difficult to do business with and were happy that management finally got the message, even if it took an outside consultant to deliver it.

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