Say I offered you a pill. This pill allows your company to be the most profitable in your industry. This is a great achievement, because you are raking in the big bucks while some of your competitors are struggling to even stay afloat.
You if you take this pill, you must also consent to being the absolute worst. Your customers will hate you. Consumer Reports will rank you the worst option in your industry. You will be the punchline of jokes made by late night hosts. Would you take the pill?
Obviously, since you've read the very title of the article, you know I'm talking about Spirit Airlines, which currently has a 1.5 star rating on Yelp, and an entire Twitter handle devoted to how much people hate them. They were recently identified as the most profitable airline in the United States.
This race to the bottom mentality is one that is taking its toll on numerous industries, finance notwithstanding. Many people feel that banks have too many fees - and that feeling is spilling over to credit unions.
On the flip side, airline darlings Virgin America and Southwest "lag financially." What gives?
The practice of nickel and dime-ing isn't a new one. It's especially evident in industries where there is little competition, like air travel. Unfortunately for many banks (and credit unions) who engage in gouging their members, there are plenty of options for a savvy consumer looking to switch financial institutions.
MSN Money conducted a poll to discover what exactly it was that people hated about their banks. Their results were pretty much as expected:
- High fees 22.9%
- Role in the bailouts or foreclosure crisis 15.2%
- Poor service or unfair fees for small customers: 13.2%
- Executive salaries being too high: 12.4%
- Unclear or surprise fees 9.1%
- Inability to resolve mistakes quickly 4.5%
If you haven't done so recently, it's worth the time and effort to conduct a survey of your members to see what they really think of you. Some of these can seem inconsequential to you, but may be having a large impact on your perception with your members.
Is the Spirit Airline business model one that you see becoming more common in the next few years? Let us know below!
DeAndre Upshaw is a former Young & Free Texas Spokester. He's a marketing professional living in Dallas and a Beyonce enthusiast. DeAndre is the host and executive producer of The State of Awesome. Follow him on Twitter and check out his personal website.