After a recent business trip, I contacted Hilton Hotels about a possible problem with my bill. In response, I got an email that promised, “We take your feedback very seriously and will do everything possible to resolve your concerns in a satisfactory manner as quickly as possible.”
And then, after that hype, they added, “Please allow us 72 business hours to resolve this matter for you.”
Here’s the BIG question: does that mean three 24-hour business days or does that mean nine 8-hour hour business days (or up to 13 “calendar” days)?
Of course, I asked them in a return email what they were talking about. No response yet…that will probably take 72 business hours, too.
The truth is, we really don’t care how long your process takes; we just want it done. Now. That takes energy. In the 20th Century, you called somebody and they fixed the problem. In the 21st Century, we get “time excuses.”
Here’s an even more ludicrous example from the same trip. I made the grievous error of buying a snack on a United Airlines flight. The attendant swiped my card but…no receipt. I was told I could get that online.
Well, after ransacking the United website, no luck. So I sent an email to their euphemistically-named “Customer Care Team” asking how to find my receipt. They promised, “we will address your email and respond back to you shortly.”
They then explain that “shortly” is “generally within 10 to 14 business days.”
It takes the “Customer Care Team” more than two weeks to find their way around their own website? Of course, we know how long it should take The Friendly Skies to answer my question: less than five minutes.
But that’s five minutes of human energy. And by United’s careful calculus, their energy is much more important than my time.
As we used to say in geometry class: QED.