CEO http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9534/all en-US How I got two CEOs to listen to my complaints http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-two-ceos-to-listen-to-my-complaints <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-got-two-ceos-to-listen-to-my-complaints" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/YoUBc3geGtImOGLk8rkemGoeplQrZos0QxWrjNsEdKc/mtime:1301029924/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/911383_83110087.jpg" alt="CEO briefcase cigar pen" title="CEO briefcase cigar pen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here’s a shining example of how Wise Bread writers not only read each others stories, we also follow the advice. And in my case, it worked like a charm. I’m two for two, and I plan to keep on going whenever I have a problem. What I’m talking about, ladies and gents, is the good old-fashioned complaint letter. </p> <p>Several months ago, Margaret Garcia-Couoh published a <a href="/the-letter-always-wins">great article </a> about writing a physical letter to contact a company. Before that (long before, one of the first article I ever published) I <a href="/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">wrote an article</a> outlining how to complain. And after experiencing two really cruddy examples of customer service, I decided to combine the two.</p> <p>First, Firestone. Here’s a very, very abbreviated version of my experience. </p> <p>I had a complete oil change/tire rotation coupon for Firestone for $14.99, so I made an online booking. First, my GPS couldn’t find the store because the address on the website was wrong. I missed my Monday appointment but called and said I’d be in tomorrow, booking the same time slot. When I brought the car in on Tuesday morning at 8am, there was no record of my appointment. So, I came back bright and early the next day, only to be told the store didn’t have a filter for my car (seriously). I offered to go pick one up myself, and was directed to a local Wal-Mart…who don’t stock VW Passat filters. So, I had to come back again the next morning, where my oil change was finally done…but the coupon wasn’t accepted. I had to pay $34. Oh, and I needed new tires too, which were going to cost me $800 if I bought them at that location. </p> <p>I could go on, but you get the picture. Four days and a whole lot of wasted time and money for a simple oil change, and not even the discount that was promised at the end of it. I was annoyed. No, I was fuming. So, I did what I usually do in this situation and sat down to write an email. Then, I stopped. I recalled Margaret’s article and decided instead to write the letter in my word processor. I signed it, put it in an envelope and personally addressed it to the CEO of Firestone, Mr. Mark A. Emkes. </p> <p>A few days passed, and nothing happened. After a week, I had forgotten about it. That was until I got three phone calls from three different Firestone employees; one assistant to the store manager, one store manager and one district manager. The CEO had clearly lit a fire under someone, because all three were extremely eager to rectify the situation. I had the cost of the oil change refunded, and the store also agreed to mount and balance any new tires that I bought for free (which I got from TireRack, great savings there). Result. One very happy camper here. Maybe this mailed letter idea was legit? </p> <p>Well, a few weeks later I got the chance to test it again. My wife took a trip to California and rented a car. She called me after she had driven only a few feet from Deluxe Rentacar and said the car didn’t feel like it was running correctly. She then asked what the tire pressure was supposed to be. I didn’t know the exact specs for a PT Cruiser off the top of my head, but I said 32psi was a rough estimate. The tires were at 10psi! How they let her drive off in this amazed me, but she filled them at a nearby garage and drove off. When she brought the car back, she had left a brand new pair of children’s shoes, complete with box and receipt, in the back seat. They cost $45 and she was naturally upset, but her friend said they could go back to the rental place and pick them up without missing their flight. So she called Deluxe Rentacar, said she was on her way back and could they have the shoes ready and waiting. This is when an exceptionally rude woman said, and I quote “there are no shoes in that car. And anything that’s left in the cars is fair game.” Fair game? What? So, my wife called me and I, in turn, called again on her behalf. I got the same, rude “fair game” message, which seems to me like another way of saying finders keepers. I was not happy. </p> <p>Once again, the complaint letter I mailed did the trick. I wrote to the CEO/owner/president of Deluxe Rentacar, a very nice man called Mr. John P Hennessay, who called me shortly after receiving the letter. He was very apologetic and also wanted to know the names of the people involved, so that he could rectify their behavior. He assured me it would never happen again, and also refunded the cost of the shoes to the credit card my wife used. If she does go back to L.A. soon, I know she’ll be happy to use Deluxe Rentacar again.</p> <p>If you’ve had a bad experience yourself, I think it’s well worth the time and effort to mail your letter (be it printed out or handwritten) to someone high on the food chain. And if you’re not sure where to get that information, my favorite source on the internet is the <a href="http://welcome.bbb.org/">Better Business Bureau</a> . Type in the name of the business, the address and it will spit out a bunch of information for you. You’ll get names of the principles, the corporate mailing address and all sorts of other good information (you’ll also get an idea of the company’s track record at resolving complaints).</p> <p>Also, no-one wants to receive a whining, bitching rant, so make your letter polite. But, make sure you point out everything that happened that caused you distress. It’s also good to add in some praise of the things the company has done right, if not now then in the past when you’ve used them before. Remember, CEOs and business owners are people too, they deserve to be treated with respect, especially if you’re looking for a favorable result.</p> <p>Follow this advice, the <a href="/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">advice</a> in my previous article and the wise words of <a href="/the-letter-always-wins">Margaret</a> and I’m sure you will get the same great results that I did. Corporations want your custom, your repeat business and your patronage, and it’s a lot easier to keep a customer than to try and get a new one. It’s in their interests to keep you happy, you just have to make them want to keep you around. If they already think you’re a lost cause, your letter will almost certainly go in the that special in-box known as the garbage can. Best of luck. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-two-ceos-to-listen-to-my-complaints">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-a-good-and-memorable-first-impression">Making a good and memorable first impression.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-stuff-i-try-never-to-buy-new">The stuff I try never to buy new</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-senior-discounts">Big List of Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs General Tips business CEO complain Firestone letter service Thu, 18 Sep 2008 20:54:53 +0000 Paul Michael 2439 at http://www.wisebread.com How much money should a CEO make? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-should-a-ceo-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-money-should-a-ceo-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/wRnLf-5tgjU9h0uaVfCh4Q1kEzzNi7qIZGUg3IUm8Ag/mtime:1301029889/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fatcat.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, to be the head of a large American corporation... can you imagine what <a href="http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/070829-executiveexcess.pdf">life must be like at the top</a>?&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>In 2007, the CEOs of large U.S. companies&nbsp;were paid in one day what the average US worker makes in an entire year. With an average pay of $10.8 million annually, over 364 times the pay of the average American worker. (Looking at median pay, however, brings the pay ratio closer to <a href="http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33935_20070322.pdf">179 to 1</a>.)</li> <li>CEO pay has increased 45% in the past ten years. Contrast this with the fact that the federal minimum wage increase, which just went into effect, gives bottom-rung workers roughly 7% less money, in real terms, than they were making a decade ago.</li> </ul> <p>Is this fair? Is it just?</p> <p>I myself am ambivalent on the issue. On one hand, in a capitalist society, there really isn't any limit to how much money a person can earn, technically. And there are many cases in which the CEO of a company actually conceived of and founded the company - shouldn't such an individual have the right to make oodles of money from his or her ideas? After all, some of the biggest companies in the world were started in someone's garage or home office.</p> <p>On the other hand, many of the CEOs at big US corporations did not build the company from the ground up. They might be immensely talented individuals, but do they deserve to be paid over $10 million a year, to say nothing of stock options, and perks like use of the company's jet?</p> <p>What about poorly performing CEOs? And severance packages? How much should companies pay a CEO to leave? According to the Kellogg School of business, leaving a company can be as lucrative as heading it up. Look at the severance packages for the following ex-CEOs:</p> <ul> <li>Robert Nardelli (Home Depot) - $210 million</li> <li>Michael Ovitz (Disney)&nbsp;- $140 million</li> <li>Stephen Hilbert (Conseco)&nbsp;- $72 million</li> <li>Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard) - $21 million</li> </ul> <p>Is this money well-spent? Anyone who runs a small business in middle America would tell you that it doesn't seem logical to give more money to someone who is performing poorly just to make them go away. Can you imagine firing, say, someone who works for your home cleaning business because they've done a terrible job, and offering them several thousand dollars to never work for you again?</p> <p>There are a number of economic factors that play into these scenarios, usually involving risk and&nbsp;stock volatility&nbsp;(a good but oddly apologetic article on the issue can be found <a href="http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/index.php/Kellogg/article/are_large_ceo_severance_packages_justified">here</a>). Compensation packages are often meant to help protect the reputation of a departing CEO. According to the Kellogg School, &quot;Research also suggests that companies offer incoming CEOs a greater amount of ex-ante severance pay when requesting a confidentiality agreement.&quot;</p> <p>I'm trying to fathom what this really means. As someone who has signed countless confidentiality agreements without ever getting access to the coporate jet, what gives CEOs the impression that their discretion can be bought? When Fiorina left HP, her compensation package included &quot;financial counseling&quot;. What kind of counseling do you need when you're walking away with $21 million? <em>Put it mostly in savings?</em></p> <p>Publicly-traded companies are run by corporate boards who&nbsp;determine&nbsp;a CEO's pay and benefits. Board members are usually experienced leaders from other large corporations whose expertise is called upon. However, many corporate boards comprise members whose individual goals often include becoming CEOs of major US firms themselves, so it is in their interest to provide lucrative (or excessive) compensation packages to the chief executive officer.</p> <p>This has raised the question as to who, exactly, should decide how much a CEO makes? What if a company's employees had the right to vote on a compensation package for their leaders? Should a company's shareholders have a binding vote? Should there be a cap on how much an individual can earn?</p> <p>I have no easy answers, but the question has been weighing on my mind as of late. What do you think?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-should-a-ceo-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-higher-pay-at-your-next-new-job">How to Negotiate Higher Pay at Your Next New Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-besides-salary-to-negotiate-at-work">10 Things Besides Salary to Negotiate at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">10 Important Signs That Your Job Sucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-your-salary-with-this-simple-strategy">Double Your Salary With This Simple Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-choose-these-10-cities-if-you-want-to-retire-comfortably">Don&#039;t Choose These 10 Cities If You Want to Retire Comfortably</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income CEO companies cost of living Fortune 500 pay pay raise pay scale salary Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:47:04 +0000 Andrea Karim 2301 at http://www.wisebread.com