Thousands of US companies suffer from this neurobehavorial developmental disorder. It is characterized by a persistent pattern of aloofness, sloppiness, lack of concern for appearance and an acute obsession with the bottom line over the value of the customer. 

 

Though previously regarded as a Department of Motor Vehicles standard operating procedure, it has since been discovered to be spreading rapidly in airlines, banks, car rental agencies and even some beloved department stores. 

 

It’s a silent killer. 

 

Just this week, a frequent flyer (me) experienced an outbreak of ATDDD. It began as a simple thing. Maintenance issues on a plane. But it was apparent that they (United) had been suffering for some time. 

 

Signs they have full blown ATDDD. 182 passengers arrive at their destination 3 hours late, the flight attendant makes the announcement, “I know most of you had connections, well, all your planes are gone, please see a customer service agent when you disembark.”

 

Customer Service agent greets us: “Welcome to Denver, all of your connections are gone so you’ll have to go to the Customer Service counter.”

 

Me: “So we’re stuck here for the night.”

 

Agent: “Looks that way.”

 

Me: “Will you be getting our luggage to us?”

 

Agent: “Um, no. That takes too long.”

 

Me: “But you just said that we are ALL stuck here – can’t they just offload the entire plane.” 

 

Agent: “Yes, but it will take hours to process. But you can get an overnight kit at the customer service counter.”

 

Overnight kit contains: cheap black comb. razor. ketchup packet filled with shave cream. toothbrush and toothpaste.

 

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The cure: Know your target audience. Know the competitors FOR your target. Make them irrelevant. Surprise. Delight. Empathize.

 

United airlines does not get that they don’t fly planes, they fly business travelers. Women AND Men. If our destination is for “business” we most likely don’t want to sleep in our clothes, wear yesterday’s hair and make-up on stage (while being filmed) to speak about becoming a tattoo-worthy brand. 

 

Anytime you hear “we can’t do that” or “it’s our policy” or “we’ve always done it that way” you may have symptoms of ATDDD. 

 

Seek help.

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