By Mohammed Al Marzouki, an Emarati Writer.
There it goes, again, where I stand in a long line in front of the airline’s reception window at the airport to finish the procedures of my trip to London. Although I am traveling on the business class, but the laws of this company does not provide preferential treatment to those who travel with them on the business or first class despite the wide variation in the ticket prices. After waiting for a long time I was received by an airline employee with a surly face who took my papers and gave me a boarding ticket. Then I went to the airport to sit in a crowded cafe waiting for the flight departure date, as this company does not have its own lounge for travelers on business class.
At the boarding gate was another long line of passengers waiting to enter the plane, with finally and being tired, I reached out to my comfortable seat in the business-class cabin. After the plane took off, it was time for lunch, and since I’m a vegetarian, I made sure to contact the customer service before the date of the flight in an enough period of time to tell them, that I wanted to get a vegetarian meal during the flight, but the host apologized to me because my meal has been served to another passenger in the economy class. I was very angry of this awkward treatment, but what made my anger explode was that she returned after a short time, accompanied by one traveler from the economy class passengers, and she asked me to leave enough space for this passenger to share my seat during part of the trip, while she apologizes from me and clearing out that he is a passenger with me on the plane, and he has the right to, sometimes, share my seat!! So, I asked her whether I own the right to share the first-class passenger’s seat? She answered me with a smile, of course, and she left. I left my seat immediately and headed to the first-class cabin where I saw a beautiful lady in one of the seats. I went to her, and I told her “Excuse me, I want to share with you your seat throughout the trip” and without waiting the answer, I crammed myself beside her. She aroused upon my behavior, and the crew intervened to resolve the problem, but I refused to move out from my new seat, and I told them: I am a passenger on this trip, and I have the right to sit on any seat in any compartment. I tried to sleep for some time, but there was a loud noise coming from crowds of travelers in the front of the plane, so I asked the host about this noise, and she answered that there is a clown performing a comedy show for the passengers. I asked her whether this clown paid for the ticket, and she replied with amazement: Of course not, since many travelers with us traveling on board of this flight because of this comedy show, but I have heard that this clown gets a lot of money from the pockets of passengers and advertising companies.
The host came to us after a period of time and whispered to me and to my new colleague: I wanted to inform you that the first class and business class toilets will be crowded, because we allow the Economy Class passengers to use it as well. So, if you want to use it, then it is best for you to stand and wait in the line from now. When the plane landed and the doors opened, I was greeted by the host with a smile: Thank you for choosing our company, and we hope that you have enjoyed the trip with us.
The newspapers were issued the next day in London, carrying the title of a news “A passenger punches a flight host in his face because of his umbrage at the level of service, and in the news there was an interview with the abused host who said that the actions of this passenger were not normal, and that he had molested with one of the passengers during the trip”
This is a fictional story since airline companies do not deal with their passengers in this manner, and it is one of the best companies known for providing upscale and distinctive customer service commensurate with what you pay to purchase a ticket with them, but the funny thing is that a lot of communication companies, around the world, deal with their customers similar to this exotic way.
You enter a branch of Telecommunications Company in your country, where you stand in a long line waiting to receive the service that you want. You will stand in the same line with who came to pay his phone bill which worth only several dollars, and also will stand with you who came to participate in the top expensive data packages which worth hundreds of dollars. The participation will be sold for the usage of voice calls and data, and they will leave you the freedom to use the networks of the second generation or third or fourth at the same cost. It is even not necessary to be a participant in the data services so as to make your voice calls on a network of third-generation, as they will facilitate it for you and free of charge, and you’ll find a joint in the service of voice calls, who will share your seat in the available resources in the network of the third generation, which is supposed to be allocated to you to fully enjoy the smooth using of the data package, which you paid for it three times what he has paid! At the end, he will cram you in your seat to obtain all the fun of enjoying making his calls on the third-generation network! Can’t you see now after this comparison between the sectors, airlines and telecommunications, that the situation is very strange in the telecommunications companies, and they lose hundreds of millions of profits every year because of this policy. In a poll published recently about the most important issues faced by telecommunications companies of today illustrated that 20% of the subscribers of these companies were the cause of 80% of its total profits, but many of these elites are still deprived from any additional advantage to meet what they contribute to the profits of these companies.
What made airline companies rise high in the “customer satisfaction” domain and providing preferential dealings to those who were willing to pay more, while most telecommunications companies around the world still treat all their customers the same way and with the same policy? And why the airline companies were able to observe the economic benefit of this approach, which has enabled it to increase their profits and fill their comfortable seats on the business class, while telecom companies have not been able to see this benefit till now?
The telecommunications companies have missed the opportunity to introduce the concept of business class and first class in its classification of clients, when these companies, more than a decade ago, made the introduction of third generation technology to their networks to facilitate the accessibility to the world of the Internet via mobile phones, but they have dealt with this new type of participants as they used to deal with the old customers and users of the second generation who were totally dependent only on voice calls and text messages in their phone usage. And without any discrimination with this new type of participants who paid twice the cost of the average user, but when they enter any place of communication or when they call customer service center, they wait in long lines like the rest of the participants. Moreover, it was applied on them the same policy of cutting the service immediately if they were late in payment, but the subject is more complicated that the telecom companies have allowed subscribers of only audio packages to pass their voice calls over the third-generation networks to cram the new users in these networks without paying a penny for this service causing serious damage to these networks and poor service. The result was a disaster as many telecommunications companies of today are still moaning under the weight of the debt borrowed to pay for obtaining a license to use a third generation and to build networks, but they did not achieve the expected rate of return on the investment which will reach today at their best to only 30% of the total turnover, while it was supposed to reach the double amount of that figure if the idea of customers classification was introduced and provide services to them based on what they pay of money and not based on that they are “clients”. They must be provided with excellent service regardless of the value of their monthly bills.
Today, with the beginning of introducing the fourth generation in numerous communications networks around the world, the opportunity is still favorable for telecommunications companies to re-submit the idea of classifying the client and based on the size of his bill. The networks of the fourth generation offer very high speeds which enable the user to download large files from the Internet in a very short time. Therefore there is a chance that he consumes a larger volume of data, which means an increase in his monthly bill, and these speeds will enable telecommunications companies to offer new services, as for example, you will be able to take with you during a camping trip your 54 –inch TV and place it in front of your tent to enjoy watching the latest movies by using the fourth generation networks. This technique makes it possible for a lot of dreams that were previously impossible, but the question remains: Are the telecommunications companies going to repeat their previous mistake? Are they going to sell these new services at the same price of the third-generation networks’? Will they become as it is called in the world of communications as “Dumb Pipe” which will do the task of connecting the user to the final internet and take advantage of all the programs and applications that are available in the same price of the service currently provided on the third-generation networks? Will it be the plane, which allows the passengers to watch a clown on a journey, while this clown (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others) strictly refuses to share his profits with the airline companies. Are they going to treat the subscribers in the fourth generation with the same treatment to subscribers in the second and third-generation, or they will treat them as passengers of the first class and provide them with all the amenities and luxury offered by the airlines’ companies of today for this golden category of subscribers from the very moment of trying to book a ticket till the last moment of the arrival to home?
Many telecom companies in the world did not provide any distinctive side services provided with or above what is currently offered such as a “Dumb Pipe” of data to get more wasted money, and telecom companies around the world still lie at the bottom of the list of customer satisfaction, which includes companies specialized in service providing but complain that the yield on today’s data does not cover the high costs paid by building networks of the third and fourth generation? Who is blamed at this point? I leave the answer to you.