Southwest Airlines: A great model for customer service

10 December 2012

I’m flying home now from my trip to visit my parents in Washington state. I’m flying Southwest, which is always my first-choice airline. Getting to Walla Walla can be a bit challenging and this time I flew Southwest to Spokane, rented a car and drove the three hours to Walla Walla. This morning, I was set to drive back for my return flight, which was to be at 2:40 p.m., flying via Las Vegas.

At 5:45 a.m. I was awakened by a text-message notification. To my consternation, it was Southwest, telling me that flight was delayed by an hour. I knew that meant I’d more than likely miss my connecting flight to St. Louis, since my layover was just an hour.

So I planned to try to get to the airport extra early, in case that was helpful, and I braced myself for long, tense hours in the airport today and the likelihood that I’d end up spending the night in Vegas.

Instead, just as I was getting ready to leave for Spokane, I received a phone call from an actual human with Southwest Airlines. She told me about the delayed flight (turns out it was because of fog in Philadelphia this morning) and the likelihood I’d miss my connecting flight. Then she offered to put me on the 1:40 flight to Denver, which would get me home by 9:20 p.m. (The original itinerary had me arriving home at 10:55 p.m.) When I book this itinerary, I chose not to fly through Denver because of the unpredictability of the weather there. But the weather there today is fine and I jumped at the opportunity.

That meant i had to make a beeline for Spokane, but luckily the call had come in time. I drove through heavy fog, which is no fun, but I got to the Spokane airport at 12:45 p.m. My boarding passes were waiting and I only had to wait at the gate for a few minutes. The flight left on time and I have an hour layover in Denver. The flight isn’t crowded and it has wifi. Life is good.

Thanks to Southwest’s amazing customer service and extra effort they made to ensure their customers wouldn’t be stranded, what was looking like a very stressful day is turning into a relatively stress-free one.

This is why I choose Southwest whenever possible. The customer experience is superior to that of any other domestic airline.

This is how they differentiate themselves:

  • They make the customer experience fun (or as fun as possible given the circumstances).
  • They go the extra mile for the customer.
  • Their seat selection and boarding process is simpler and more straightforward than other airlines. (I love the general boarding on Southwest.)
  • They don’t nickel and dime the customers. (Other airlines charge extra for checked bags and for what they consider premium seats.)
  • They aren’t super serious. They actually tell jokes.

All of these customer service attributes are things that I like to think I do for my clients. Next time I’m faced with a customer-service quandary, I’m going to ask myself, WWSWAD? (What would Southwest Airlines do?)

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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