Fly Southwest and Learn A Thing or Two

Southwest has been my preferred airline for some time now.  Yesterday I flew to VA from LA on Southwest and was reminded of a few things I like and have learned from them about how to be a business.

  • Walking down the tunnel to the plane are life sized pictures of employees with big smiles or high fives, sending me off or welcoming me back. TRANSLATION -Makes me feel like they care and want my trip to be great.
  • I fell down in the airport running to the gate and really smacked my whole body on the tile floor. Once I got on the plane, the flight attendant noticed I was in discomfort, hoisted my heavy bag up into storage, and constantly checked on me to make sure I was okay.  She didn’t know what happened, but she was attuned to my needs.  That makes for a special employee.  TRANSLATION – Either do it yourself or hire great people that “get it” and will notice the needs of your customers.
  • They know their USP (unique selling proposition)  No baggage fees  TRANSLATION– Duh!  Why are we paying other airlines money to carry our bags when SW will do it for free?
  • They give out food on the flight!  Yes, that’s right, GIVE!  And if I want, they will give me extra crackers or go search to find the other kind of crackers I like better.  TRANSLATION – Obviously this cost a lot of extra money, but SW takes care of their customers.  Those little acts of kindness never fail to go unnoticed.  It is appreciated.  And every time I fly, I notice that they give me something that none of the other airlines do! That effective branding is creating loyalty.
  • They entertain me!  Their flight attendants must go to through training to learn how to entertain.  Seriously, they take mundane tasks like buckling up and turn it into a funny stream of conversation that has everyone laughing on the plane.  I’ve seen them lead the entire plane in song, and in one big exercise move or stretch.  TRANSLATION “Don’t just tell them, show them.”  Entertaining makes flying a fun experience I won’t forget.  It isn’t shoving me into a seat that has no leg room (ok, I really don’t need leg room, but still…) it is once I get on that flight I know that I am special and the flight attendant will do everything to make this flight fantastic for me!
  • I could probably go on and on extolling the virtures of SW Airlines, but just trust that you will hear from me again on how one low cost carrier has managed to carve out an amazing niche for themselves, highlighted their usp, taken the extra step to ensure the customer is happy, and has planned ahead with thoughtful decision making to turn a profit.  Why would you fly anyone else? TRANSLATION – by making me so happy, I SHARE with everyone I know, just how great this business is!  Now that’s good business!