Friday, May 23, 2008
Posted by Alan Childress
Carolyn Elefant at MyShingle is asking whether certain billing practices make lawyers look, to their clients, like airlines are looking now when they announce new charges for certain practices like checking your second piece of luggage or using unfavored ticketing methods. Her post is entitled Real Life Marketing Lesson: Are You Charging Clients Like American Airlines? It is not so much focused on the ethics of this -- she is not denying one may have spent some time doing the things she talks about -- as on the client relations aspect. Look for good comments on how to show the clients you respected them this way (by soloist Susan Carter Liebel), and Ed Poll's accepting her baggage analogy but wondering whether it is really just understandable "unbundling" by the airlines.
All I know is that the classic "unintended consequences of social action" in this case meant that I shoehorned my second bag into the USAir overhead bin last Friday and held everyone up for three minutes because I was not going to pay that $25. Sorry. I suspect many other customers did and will do the same. So is it really better for the airlines and passengers if normally-checked bags now get moved to the overheads? Do we not have overhead-bin-overcrowding already? Can you possibly force a bag into that hole without thinking of Ben Stiller arguing with the flight attendant with chopsticks in her hair in Meet The Parents?
Taking the cue from Carolyn here, I suspect that the new policies will not, long run, mean extra revenue to airlines but rather longer load times, more disagreements over acceptable carry-on, and increased frustration all around. If that does not lead to extra revenues and especially profits, what is the point? And she is saying: same goes for law billing.