Southwest steps up for the special need of a customer with Joy


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One of the 12 types of purple goldfish is Special Needs.  Companies that do a little extra for a customer who needs a little help. One of my favorite examples of this comes from Panera and the story of Brandon Cook. That purple goldfish resulted in over 800,000 likes on Facebook.

There is one company that has popped up numerous times in this category. Their stock symbol is LUV. Yes – I’m talking about Southwest Airlines. Here are a couple of examples of how they’ve stepped up:

1. Holding a plane for a passenger going to see their dying grandson.

2. Recognizing the artistic efforts of a young passenger.

The most recent example comes from my good friend Kevin Snyder. Here’s the story in Kevin’s words:

This morning I was flying from Raleigh-Durham to Kansas City, but got off the plane in St. Louis (of course, thinking it was Kansas City!). I didn’t realize my mistake until I get to the rental car office and they didn’t have my reservation. Then the rental agent looks at my itinerary and says, ‘Dear, you’re in St. Louis, not Kansas City.” As I turn around, I see a Southwest plane taking off — likely that was my plane and I wasn’t on it!

I literally run back to the ticketing counter and scanned the screens to confirm that I did indeed miss my flight. Sweating and frustrated, I approach the Southwest ticketing counter and meet Joy – I wish I had gotten her last name. She asks, ‘How can I help you?” I noticed her eyes glancing at the sweat falling down my cheek.

I first admit my ignorance and stupidity to Joy about getting off the plane at the wrong airport. Joy didn’t even blink an eye though. Calmly, she just smiled and said, ‘I’ll get you on the next flight dear. Not a problem.’ She went to work on her magical computer and immediately handed me a boarding pass for the next flight. This process took maybe one(1) entire minute.

Kudos to Southwest for doing the little extra. Kevin made his keynote that night at the University of Kansas. He ended his post with the following message: “THANKS Joy and Southwest — I know who I’m flying next time!”

9 INCH Takeaway: Truly great customer experience does three things: 1. Gets customers to buy more each visit, 2. Gets customers to come back more often, 3. Gets customers to tell more people about their experience. Is your company empowering your employees to do the little extras? Are you remark-able?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here is Kevin speaking at a conference in Florida:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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