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Evelyn and Kim

October 18, 2012

The leaves are falling as I write this, but not where I am. My current location is 14F on Southwest flight 3852 on October 17, 2012, from Las Vegas to Providence. When I entered the terminal in Vegas, the Halloween decorations caught my eye and caused my smile. I grabbed this Instagram shot and posted to Facebook, “Southwest does it right.”

Technology Services World had good content, but no eggs. Otherwise the food was pretty good, especially the evening hors d’oeuvres in the Expo. The last session I attended was on customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS) by Jeff Bornheim of Carestream Health. They have invested significantly in their customer experience to differentiate themselves from larger competitors like Philips Healthcare and McKesson. One of Jeff’s slides was titled “Attitude Matters,” as in the attitude of the services employee working with a customer. The Carestream data showed a 107 point gap in NPS between customers experiencing an employee having a good attitude versus those experiencing a bad actor. While showing the slide Jeff said,

“It doesn’t cost anything to have a good attitude, and it’s 100% within our control.”

I was B27 to board in Southwest lingo, which means I was number 87 to board, give or take a few families with small children. A thin, frail and elderly woman was in front of me in line as we slowly approached the jetway door. The woman handed her boarding pass to the Southwest attendant and slowly began her decent down the square tunnel. “Evelyn, do you want to go to Providence,” Southwest’s Kim said gently. Evelyn turned and wore a look I’ve seen on my Dad’s face when he’s not feeling his best. Kim checked for Evelyn’s information and discovered her flight to Sacramento had already departed. “Let’s see if we can get you on the next one.” The elegant old woman looked at me more embarrassed than confused and said, “this is the first time this has happened to me.” I smiled and said, “It’s OK. It happens.” Kim found a flight and asked a male co-worker to help Evelyn to get to her new gate. The guy jumped up and did just that. As Kim took my ticket, I said, “You handled that beautifully.” She smiled and said, “poor thing.”

Like Jeff said, “It doesn’t cost anything to have a good attitude,” but it leaves an impression, and has a huge impact on your customer loyalty.

I hope Evelyn got home OK.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 23, 2012 11:19 am

    Love this story. I’ve also had great experiences on Southwest.

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