In the Trenches: Should We Drop the 'Dork'?
When I first started Cranky Concierge, I wanted to stay away from traditional titles. So, although I did name myself president of the company, I also gave myself the title of chief airline dork. A recent email from a client made me wonder whether the latter is something I should now change.
The idea behind the “dork” title was to show that those of us who work here are really airline people. We’re the kind of people who love and understand the industry — exactly who you want on your side when you fly. The title also flaunts the more playful side of the company. I didn’t build Cranky Concierge to become a big, stuffy corporate entity. We never take ourselves too seriously, which, of course, is different from taking our work seriously.
For the most part, the “dork” title gets chuckles from people, and it starts a conversation. It never seemed to be a hindrance until I received the recent email. The client, who had come to us via a partner travel agency, wrote:
When you are dealing with travel agency referrals, you might consider dropping the chief dork nonsense. You do not look professional.
Like I said, nobody had ever complained about it before, so I was naturally skeptical about whether “dropping the chief dork” was worth considering. But the client does have a point when it comes to agency referrals.
Every travel agency caters to a different kind of client, and this particular partner has a fairly formal “personality.” The agency has even suggested that we change our company name. My response then was the same as it is now: If the relationship becomes large enough to justify the extra work, I will be more than happy to create a private-label service with a different name to cater to the agency’s clients. But that’s a big-picture solution if and when our relationship grows.
Meanwhile, removing the “dork” from the signature file on any emails we send to the agency’s clients is pretty easy to do. But should we do this? Is it worth changing how we represent ourselves, or should we simply let our work speak for itself? I’m always open to revisiting any issue, but I’m hesitant to make a change based on one person’s feedback.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.