Frequent Flyers

During last week’s Black Belt class we discussed the five types of customers and it reminded me of a case concerning frequent flyer programs. In Dec 2013 Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg from Minnesota sued Northwest Airlines for breach of contract after the airline said he had abused their frequent flier program and dis-enrolled him (and his 100,000+ miles) from their program. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court…you may remember it.

The airline contended even after they gave him many concessions over the past few years he only wanted more. During a six-month period he filed 24 complaints (to include his baggage coming out after other passenger’s bags) and continually asked for compensation over and above Northwest’s guidelines.

This case highlights that not all customers are created equal. Below is a breakdown of the five types of customers.

customer types

Living in fabulous Las Vegas we know all about important customers; casinos call them “whales”. A Whale is the term for high rollers who could potentially lose millions dollars in a weekend. In fact there have been cases when a “whale” had a winning weekend that literally wiped out corporate quarterly profits. One person wiped out corporate profits…that’s big!

No matter if it’s a Vegas casino, an airline or your company….some customers are more important than others. We don’t want to keep “tin” customers; they take up company time, complain constantly, purchase little and are simply not worth the time and effort to maintain their business. On the other hand we definitely want to focus efforts on delighting gold and platinum customers…which customers do you focus on?

Note: Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Airline. I’m normally not on the side of the airline vs. the individual; however in this case I was pulling for the airline.

Flying high, Erik