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It’s On

October 1, 2010

Hello. I would have liked to kick off my new blog with a cheesy classic, “How I spent my summer vacation,” except I didn’t have one.  Oh, I took some nice, long weekends, but I deferred a week long version with my son to mid-November, after three business trips between now and then. I strived and succeeded to book them all on Southwest Airlines.

Why solely Southwest? Three reasons:

  1. They make it easy.
  2. They make it fun.
  3. They genuinely care.

Easy: Southwest has a great, easy to use website, and for a typical computer user, on-line check-in 24 hours before departure guarantees you a good seat. Oh, and since Southwest hubs their operations largely in secondary, “regional” airports, it’s easy to get in and out of them.

Fun: Southwest makes it a point to hire fun people. While some flight attendants on other airlines often robotically recite safety directions prior to takeoff, Southwest employees seem in competition with each other to entertain their customers. One memorable safety rundown about oxygen masks went something like this:

“For those of you traveling with children… we’re sorry. Put your mask on first.

For those of you traveling with more than one child… pick your favorite.”

Passengers were howling with laughter, so what started as a typical cattle call boarding process morphed into a stress relieving comedy sketch.

Care: About three years ago, my son and I were departing Orlando on the last day of our vacation. Kyle had been having some physical problems, and a carpet ripple tripped him in the terminal. In seconds, two Southwest employees were helping us and in about two minutes, they had EMT’s there making sure my startled boy was OK. That “service” astonished me. There’s probably no Southwest process for handling such a rare situation, but the customer service “attitude” of the employees made the experience unforgettable. As a result of that great customer experience, I will ALWAYS try to fly Southwest and I’ll encourage everyone I know. I’m a “net promoter.”

In Services industries, it’s the people who create the experience for customers and each experience is critical to future success. At Kronos, we earn a large percentage of our revenue from existing customers.  If they were not enjoying positive experiences and realizing continuous value from us, chances are many would leave and our healthy business would be less so. One Accenture survey cites “69 percent of consumers switched one or more companies due to poor customer service,” and “the vast majority of consumers (89 percent) share negative service experiences with others.” Good and bad customer experiences have a huge impact on the success of an organization. We’re working every day to continue making great customer experiences a major competitive advantage for Kronos.

What customer experiences (good or bad) do you tell people about?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim Wennerberg permalink
    October 6, 2010 12:23 pm

    As a business traveler, Southwest has become my first airline to check. Unfortunately, they are no longer always the lowest cost option– sometimes by a significant amount. (Yes, I consider luggage, etc.) The old addage that “good service is free” may be true, conversely, “putting up with mediocre service is free for me to do”. If my employer or my family can save a couple of hundred of dollars on a flight it is worth it for me to forgo the great customer service of Southwest Airlines.

  2. October 7, 2010 10:25 am

    Good point, Kim. I debated whether to discuss price, but for me, the convenience and quality of service trumped the small price difference in this case. I think that’s true in general. People are willing to pay a premium for premium service if the service is important to them. However, with the expectation set for a “premium experience,” it had better be one.


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