TLDR: Southwest Airlines is a value airline that boasts award-winning customer service. The key to their success lies in their commitment to delivering a stellar customer experience, no matter what.
This focus has paid off big time – not only have they been able to keep costs low, but they’ve also grown into one of the most successful airlines in America today. You can also ensure that your company becomes synonymous with great customer experiences by emulating Southwest Airlines’ strategies for success.
Southwest has become one of America’s most-loved airlines by putting customers first every time. They’ve made it clear they’re committed to providing customers with friendly service at every turn, whether online or in the sky.
Find out what makes Southwest Airlines a cut above the rest, and how brands can emulate these strategies for success. You might not think that an airline could offer much in terms of lessons on improving the customer experience, but we promise you – they do!
Empower Your Employees to Be Who They Are
Companies can only build strong connections with customers when they allow their employees to feel comfortable being themselves at work. People who feel comfortable in their skin are happier, more productive workers.
Southwest Airlines knows this to be true. They’ve invested time and money into creating a culture that nurtures authenticity among their employees instead of “programming” them to fit a specific mold.
This means their employees can focus on providing exceptional service in the way they see fit instead of worrying about whether they’re “acting the right way.”
When your employees are empowered to provide great customer experiences, you’ll no longer have to worry about them sounding fake in conversations with customers. They’ll be more likely to provide genuine responses and go above and beyond to deliver personalized experiences for customers.
Be Responsive When Issues Arise
One of the most frustrating things for customers is when their problem isn’t addressed right away. That’s why Southwest Airlines is known for their excellent customer service – they always answer customers’ questions or complaints quickly and efficiently. They also have multiple channels for customer service that include phone, email, and social media.
This is important because it shows customers that you care about them and respect their time. When your customer service team is quick to address issues, they’ll be more successful at resolving the problem and building trust with the customer.
Keep an Open Channel of Communication with Customers
Speaking of responsiveness, communication shouldn’t just be a “response” or “reaction” to what customers are saying; it should be proactive.
Southwest Airlines makes sure to always communicate with their passengers in different ways to stay connected and make sure they know what’s going on before, during, and after a flight. That includes dedicated social media channels, a regularly updated YouTube channel, a newsroom, and a magazine.
On top of that, they also have an email newsletter that goes out to customers regularly. This is important because it shows customers that your brand cares about them even when they’re not buying from you. Plus, it helps you stay on top of mind as you stay connected with customers.
Don’t Make Your Customers Jump Through Hoops
The moment customers start feeling like they’re running errands for your company is the moment their experience starts to go downhill.
Southwest Airlines is known to be extremely simple and easy for customers because that’s what they believe their customers want. Customers know that Southwest won’t “nickel and dime” them when it comes to baggage or seat fees, like some other airlines.
The experience is all about simplicity and efficiency. There are no unnecessary steps in the journey–from booking a flight through an app in “just a few easy steps” to their efficient baggage process. There’s just convenience at every corner.
Simplification is essential because it shows customers that you respect their time. When your customer experience has too many layers or requires customers to jump through hoops, you’ll end up losing them.
Stay Engaged with Your Data
Data is key for growing any business, but it’s crucial for customer service. That’s why Southwest Airlines is known to stay on top of its data with constant analysis and feedback loops. Using speech analytics, Southwest’s customer service team can track what customers are saying, why they’re saying it, and get more context on their experience.
This is important because it allows them to answer customers’ questions better and build loyalty through the customer journey. Data can be used for more than just tracking what your team is doing; it can be used to track how customers are interacting with you, so you can take steps to improve their experience each step of the way.
Display a Kind, Positive Attitude with Customers
Lastly, it’s essential to always be positive. Customers want someone to empathize with them and take their frustration seriously, not brush it off as something minor.
Southwest Airlines is known as a positive brand that’s always encouraging its employees and customers through positivity. This encouragement isn’t just about how they interact with each other online; it’s also about how they adapt to the customers’ journey.
For example, if there’s a delay or unexpected event during a person’s travel experience with Southwest Airlines, their customer service team doesn’t just apologize. Instead, they take action by asking passengers what they can do to make it up to them, whether that means offering snacks or switching the passenger onto an alternative flight.
It takes more than one step to create a great customer experience. There’s no simple formula to follow, but some essential elements will set you up for success. When you look at what makes successful companies like Southwest Airlines so successful, you’ll start to see that all it takes is a few tweaks to their current strategy.
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