Southwest Airlines is my favorite airline! In the past ten years I have been on somewhere around four hundred Southwest planes. One year I was on one hundred planes in a one year period, so they sent me a companion pass. That meant that someone could fly anywhere with me for free anywhere I went. Pretty cool! In all of those flights, I have had maybe a dozen flights that I would consider to be late ones, more than a few minutes. And of those, only a few really late. For the most part, the Southwest team always treated me well. A couple of people have had some bad days, but compare that to the other airlines that I’ve been on, and you would see why I love Southwest!
Yesterday I posted about my Mother-in-law’s accident to keep a bunch of you up to date. We found out about it while we were on the slopes back in my hometown in Tahoe. Needless to say, we were in a bind. We really didn’t have much info, and we needed to get home quickly. Now imagine this: we are in Tahoe, needing to fly out of Reno, two days before Christmas, with six people. We had seven, but one of them, Anna Watkins, had to go home early and was actually at the airport at that time with a canceled flight due to freezing rain. She said that the airport was a mess with canceled flights.
Debbie got on the phone and called Southwest and explained the situation. They told her about how bad it was in Reno, but that they would see what they could do. A few minutes later, all six of us were booked on a flight leaving in three hours and they said they weren’t going to charge us the fees that are attached to a flight change like that. YOU’RE KIDDING ME!!! We rushed to get packed, changed out of all of our ski clothes and equipment, loaded into a transport, and headed for Reno.
Now, there’s no doubt that God was watching out for us! But it’s great when His kids work out the process. They totally didn’t have to do that. We would have understood that it was a crazy time to make a request like that. That getting us on plane that we hadn’t booked, during Christmas, in freezing rain, is one of those impossible situations for companies to help with. But this is Southwest Airlines, and they laugh at impossible! (And they love my bags!)
As a leader, your reflection is in the actions and reactions of every team member working for you. If you have a team that takes care of customers like Southwest, then you get loyal customers like Chris LoCurto. (That’s me) It is a sad day when I’m going somewhere that they don’t have the flights or schedules that I need, (like OKC from BNA!) ’cause that means I am flying a different airline with a track record of letting me down. Can Southwest take care of every issue that comes up with the tens of thousands of people who fly them every day? Heck yeah! Okay, of course not. But they sure were there when it counted for my family! That’s the true meaning of customer service! Try it today with your customers…your team members…your family! See what happens.