United: Don't call us...

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Conundrum: If everybody was coming to you with complaints, would you try harder to be liked, or would you just make it harder for people to complain?

United Airlines has decided to take the latter route. The airline is shutting down its customer service call center this April with the explanation that, "people who e-mail or write us are more satisfied with our responses."

Yes, maybe it is easier for people to e-mail or write in many cases, but that's certainly not true for every customer. Sometimes, you just need to get someone on the phone; it's fast, it's more personal than an e-mail, and, if your call center is any good, it should be a piece of cake to get things done.

Eliminating the call center completely feels like cost-cutting trying to hide under a different name.

I know the airlines are are not the biggest money-makers in the world right now, and they need to cut costs somewhere. But the last thing an industry with low public opinion scores should do is cut back on CRM. I think this move will make it that much easier for competitors with excellent customer care (are there any airlines like that?) to steal those precious, and dwindling, fliers away from United.

Check out a longer story at MSNBC.

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