Southwest Airlines: Innovation or…Ho-Hum?

May 1st, 2009   •   no comments   
Some Think I Must Be Out of Touch

A colorful notice of, I think, a generous voucher.  When none was expected, I was quite surprised. Isn’t that a good thing?  Some of my colleagues think not.

The story is familiar: last weekend we boarded the plane at Chicago’s Midway.  Midwest violent  weather (which I still miss in California) constrained the take off and we sat on the tarmack for almost two hours.  I slept quite peacefully, thank you.  Was this delay the fault of Southwest Airlines?  I didn’t think so. 

So, when the well-worded (and perfect grammar and spelling, too) notice of a voucher arrived hand-signed (yes, I know it’s digital), I was impressed and…thought it was an event worthy of mention.  (OK, I like Southwest’s perky culture, too; I am prejudiced: this is true.) 

My call to obtain permission to reprint this email was promptly returned (what’s wrong with these people?) and when I asked for permission, this Assistant Manager, Adrienne, put me on hold for about two minutes.  I’m surprised she didn’t have to go to “legal” for approval. 

When I shared this with one of my newfound consulting colleagues, his response was:

“Yes, good customer service, but giving a voucher is not that unusual. I would hardly call it innovative. They do this all the time for various reasons. That’s why they have voucher forms printed and voucher procedures. Routine, really. Not innovative.”

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