Messing with your client’s expectations

Had an interesting experience on my flybe flight a couple of days ago. As I was checking in, the ground staff asked the usual question: “Would you like a window or an aisle seat?”. I thought about it for a split second and selected a window seat. After all, it’s nice to watch the ground fading in the distance and watching the clouds is always soothing. The ticket got spat out of the machine with the assigned seat: 4B. The flight attendant explained that the flight wasn’t full, so I would be able to move to the window seat once I was on board. I got to the plane, boarded and found out that I was sandwiched between two other passengers, one with the window seat, the other in the aisle.

I usually tend to be pretty objective, but I was pretty miffed with the whole experience. I checked in with no preconceptions, however my expectations had been elevated through the check-in process, only to be quashed at the point of delivery. And this is the sort of thing that makes a lasting impression on a customer. Flybe could be spending millions on advertising, but at the end of the day it’s the experience at the point of delivery that makes all the difference for the customer. The situation where a customer is promised something and the company fails to deliver points to a problem in their systems or training procedures. Fixing these will potentially have a lasting impact on millions of customers.


  1. What I find even stranger is that nobody acknowledge at flybe that they had got it wrong. We all make mistakes but a simple explanation would at least give the impression that they are concerned.

  2. Amazing isn’t it. The way these business’ run under the perception that their clients are mindless drones and they can get by without actually talking to them!

  3. It’s great to deal with a company that is realistic about their service.

    “Our seats are uncomfortable and you will be sitting between the fat guy and the woman with dodgy hygeine”. And we lose approx 5% of all baggage.

    How good would you feel if you got a window seat by yourself with those sort of expectations?

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