The Blame Game

You love her
But she loves him
And he loves somebody else
You just can’t win J. Geils Band – Love Stinks

I absolutely hate the blame game.

Even more than my disdain for the word hate is my absolute hatred of those who partake in this ridiculous exercise of disservice through finger-pointing.

“The blame game” (in this context) occurs when business A points to business B as the owner of your problem — and vice versa — leaving you stuck with no resolution.

Here’s an example:

My mother-in-law flew from Cleveland to Gainesville on United Airlines. She arrived; her bag did not. United Airlines used Silver Airways for the last leg of her flight.

  • United says Silver Airways was given the bag and there’s nothing that United can do.
  • Silver Airways says United never provided a bag and there’s nothing that Silver Airways can do.

Tag. You’re it.

This is a classic example how the blame game fails for both companies. After United Breaks Guitars, I honestly expected a little more from the United Airlines.

So, when your luggage is lost, you’re powerless. You have no recourse; no method to recover your lost goods. You have limited avenues of assistance.

When you become the pong between two companies’ finger pointing — you end up with a negative impression of both companies.

One of these companies will be proven right; the other wrong. Customer disservice can cause even the “right company” to lose business.

In my consulting life, I often get calls for critical phone outages. Sometimes it’s something I can fix — more often it’s something I cannot.

With phone termination/origination, you’re often dealing with large carriers (like at&t) who (perhaps by design) make it extremely difficult to get a resolution to a problem; often blaming client systems for issues within the carrier network.

If I pointed my finger at a carrier and let my client handle their issue I’d be left without a client. Instead, I work with the client and contact the carrier together. This way, the blame game is never played.

At least, this is how I believe problems should be handled. It’s worked well for me. I’ve retained clients as they switch carriers. My refusal to play the game results in long-term clients.

Oh, remember the baggage? Ends up Silver Airways sent the bag to Palm Beach. Sadly, the way United handled it, I’m going to be very reluctant to use either airline when given a choice.

When you play the blame game, everyone loses.

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