Thursday, 2 July 2009

Customer Service - The Southwest Way

Southwest Airlines are famed for legendary customer service. More importantly allowing it's team members to have fun whilst at work and expressing their individuality.

Would your team members be allowed to do this?


Rui de Miranda said...

Loyalty provides to keep and raised the clients to work with/for. In order to achieve that, one of the main task of all management, is keeping motivated all the teams to provide always a good effort in work for continuous improvement and enjoyment in job inside our company.

If one customer is happy, gradually this message passes to all market providing to increase our working volumes.

If our team, being professional, motivated and willing to grow, all is possible.

Manfred Gollent said...

Making sure the leadership creates an environment where people can motivate themselves, understand the value of their contribution to the common goal and focus on those things that makes your customers come back again for more. This will also create new customers as loyal customers become your most effective sales people. Developing customer loyalty is the ticket (not only at Southwest).

Anonymous said...

I think that is fabulous. Too many organisations are so hellbent on a corporate image that this makes customers feel excluded. The customers clearly enjoyed the experience.

Anonymous said...

I used to fly DELTA and their cabin crew would have some fun with the Safety Instructions, so much so that I still remember them, but sadly DELTA added so much process that had to followed that all initiative has now gone out the window, It is sad that management has no idea of how to run a business all they seem to know how to manage a business and as we all know there is a significant difference between the two. The Southwest folks do know the difference, keep having fun Southwest.

Anonymous said...

Customer loyalty has long been a focus of my efforts. In today’s economic downturn this concept has turned into an even more significant approach to our daily business to solidfy repeat customers in a resource challenged world. It is not one item or one piece of information, rather it is the sum total or the entire organizational culture that inspires loyalty of both team mates and the customer. Without loyal team mates, you'll never build loyal customers.

I’m not real keen on a rapping or singing airline attendant, however that may work for others. But what I do like is the effort that he is taking to make this flight a memorable experience and attempting to build a bond (relationship) between passengers and the crew.

In my various roles as a support manager where customer contact usually came as a result of an issue or problem, I’ve often coached my teams to put themselves into the customers’ shoes for a moment to imagine what it might be like at the other end of the phone (or keyboard). Taking a few extra steps to build a relationship goes a long way to strengthening the bond and increasing the knowledge that ‘our team can resolve the issue’.

I’ve also encouraged my team to take a no boundaries approach when dealing with customer issues. This is especially critical in today’s highly integrated, complex infrastructure where competitors routinely must interface with one another. When done carefully in a professional manner such as describing problems with a competitor’s product or configuration, an appreciative customer has responded with not only a thank you but repeat business down the line. It is amazing how often I’ve received feedback such as “…because you helped us quickly when our system went down, I’m recommending our next upgrade replace XX’s systems” and so on.

Another aspect of customer loyalty that is often overlooked is simply the relationship. I urge my technical folks to forge that relationship even if there is only a slight chance they may talk to that person again. Note- in the techie world, often this aspect is more challening to build and I advocate coaching and training sessions to get it right.

Monitoring calls, I’ve heard “…a couple of weeks ago I spoke with XX. Do you know her?” Then I know it works! The voice at the other end of the phone has built a bond with one of our team mates regardless of department or location. In the grand scheme, that caller may one day be a manager, director or owner of a company that requests our product by name.

It’s not about the destination, its about the journey and all we experience along the way.

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