I had to cancel my digital-only subscription recently to a major newspaper (I’ll call it the Main Street Journal) because the price wasn’t worth the short amount of time I was visiting the site.
Of course, while everything about the experience up until then – the signup, the access, the account settings – were 100% digital, there was no way to cancel my subscription digitally, thus requiring a call into the call center to ask them to cancel the subscription, which included the requisite plea from the beleaguered rep on the phone telling me what a great deal I was losing. Sometimes in situations like this, just for fun, I’ll ask a question just to hear what the answer will be. I did that on this call, and the following conversation ensued:
Me: “By the way – why can’t I cancel my subscription online?”
Rep: “Because you can only cancel by calling us”
Next story: it has become popular among hotels that book rooms via travel sites to add on a “resort fee” or some other nonsense despite the travel site suggesting that their fees cover the entire room charge. I asked a question to a clerk while checking into a decidedly non-resort hotel about this, and had the following conversation:
Me: “What is the resort fee for?”
Clerk: “It gives you access to our free internet…(becomes embarrassed)…I think all the local hotels do this now”
Neither of these stories are particularly surprising to you or I. But let me ask: what are you doing that everyone else in your industry is doing that you shouldn’t be doing?
Life is short. We are here to make an impact, and to leave things a bit better than we found them. And yet the siren songs calling us to lower standards of behavior are strong, particularly when “everyone is doing it”.
Perhaps today you can think of one thing that everyone in your industry is doing, and build a reputation for being different by actually being different. It’s not easy, but as noted philosopher Jimmy Dugan once said:
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great”.
Also published on Medium.