With the recent economic issues, and nearly all business sectors taking hits as the economy still drags through the recession, I wonder if it’s the opportune time for companies to try new ways of doing business.

customer experience way of thinkingIf you’re struggling as it is, and especially for those companies that have seen the writing on the wall and are facing closure, isn’t it worth it to try one last ditch effort at making it in their line of work?

The airline industry had quite a bit of time in the headlines for the financial problems they faced. The problems haven’t gone away, the media has just gotten tired of reporting on that and are currently in the financial sector market. I read a recent article about the airline ticket pricing business and felt maybe, just maybe, things could change if they changed their ticket pricing rules.

Sure, millions have been spent in designing models to determine how, when, and for how much tickets should be sold, but one thing I always ask myself and ask of ideas: What has come of it? In the airlines’ case, not much. Still the same stale business, with consumers ever more frustrated and feeling just plain not satisfied.

Jon Bonné, with MSNBC, explains it like this:

…the old models are breaking down. Price ratios between the lowest and highest fares have spread as far as 20 to one, which is a difficult split for anyone to explain. The full-fare traveler has become increasingly difficult to woo, in part because of the economy and in part because of low-fare competitors.

A new approach can be the key to continued success

The models for selling airline tickets are extremely complicated. Tickets are sold in groups, at different times, and for different prices. This leaves consumers second-guessing their choice of buying a ticket. “Will the ticket price be lower tomorrow? Will it be lower the day before the flight? It’s like pulling teeth if I have to change my ticket, maybe I’ll just wait….” and so airlines miss out on business, because people just can’t make a decision without a transparent process where they are informed.

It’s like buying a car. I can’t stand going near a car dealership because I never see prices on cars. Consumers often ask themselves, “How do I know that the salesman is not going to up the price on me? Do I really have to sit here and haggle with this guy about the price of the car?” And so many more people who maybe would have gone to the dealership and could have purchased a car stay away, far away.

Break the trend and find success

Companies are springing up doing the opposite. Small airlines have basic pricing on tickets. If the ticket is available, it’s the same price yesterday, today, tomorrow, a week from now. Book early and get the peace of mind. Car dealerships are beginning to offer, low-price guarantees, with NO HAGGLING (love Carmax for that, will go back to them over and over again).

Companies that are unsure about their economic future should seize the opportunity to break away from the mold that has been created in the business world. Consumers are now living in the information age, with a few strokes of the keyboard and clicks of a mouse, stores and stores on information is available to the consumer. People like to be informed, they like to know what to expect when going into an experience. Give the people what they want, it just works better that way.