Posts Tagged ‘Southwest Airlines’

When You Care About Your Customers, it Shows

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Road Warrior Support Another Way Southwest Airline Cares About their Customers

Road Warrior Support Another Way Southwest Airline Cares About their Customers

I’m sitting here at Bradley Airport in Connecticut waiting for my flight. I’ve spent probably 1/5th of my life the past twenty years waiting in airports. Okay, maybe it just seems like 1/5th of my life. It has been a considerable amount of time. I’m pretty much set up to be productive wherever I am – that is IF I have access to a power outlet.

On my wall of shame in this department are the United concourses in O’Hare. I have had the misfortune of being stranded in O’Hare more often than I care to remember. I have scads of frequent flyer points to allow me to lanquish the hours away in those swanky airline clubs – but for some reason whenever I get into O’Hare – wherever I have the most recent membership tends to literally be a mile or so walk. Since the ONLY reason I’ll hang in the membership club is if the flight is delayed AND I need to get some juice to my laptop lifeline, I typically opt for plugging in near my gate. Strangely enough – in the United Concourse a plug for the laptop is next to impossible to find. In my last adventure through there, I managed to find one outlet in a remote hallway between United Concourses.

Lets fast forward to today. I’m enjoying my wait for a Southwest Flight sitting in a nice club chair in their gate waiting area with a plug conveniently placed just to my right. Across from me are two bars set up with space for six road warriors. This is an airline that cares about it’s customers. Yes, they have unique boarding policies, and if you like to fly first class, that option is not available. HOWEVER, I swear they have a comfortable amount of room in their planes. You don’t have to choose between the obscene price of first class or the cramped cattle class of coach when you fly Southwest. And I swear Southwest pays attention to the needs of business travelers more than anyone else based on how they schedule their flights between the cities where business travelers frequent. I’m not sure how the other airlines pick their routes – might have something do to with the hub and spoke commitments they made years ago that have nothing to do with how business travelers move today.

When a company sets up practices and policies based on the comfort of their customers it shows. And this is what Southwest Airlines does consistently. This is what I have and continually strive to do with Cheetah Learning as well. It does appear we succeed at that based on these random customer surveys people do on my company from time to time (GSA did a survey a few years back that showed Cheetah Learning had a 96% customer service approval rating). But it has to be a continual focus as what people need does change over time. I’m sure when the United Concourses were designed, having readily available plugs for road warriors was not something in high demand. Now, not having those just well, doesn’t give you that oh so loving feeling from the airline.

For Cheetah Learning, we’re working on enhancing how quickly our students find new project opportunities after finishing their latest project and find good people to help them on their projects as well. I’ve started a group on Linkedin for Cheetah Alumni so that we can share ideas and opportunities. We do find that our students are in high demand because of a proven ability to reach their goals, FAST. Helping them better connect with each other in a way that is easy to do, shows we care about them as well.