Sunday, November 26, 2006

Customer Service is Key

Yesterday I was sick and stuck sitting at home watching all of the awful TV that goes on on Saturday afternoons. I found a show called "Airline" that is a series of mini-documentaries about issues at airports with Southwest Airlines. I watched three episodes and it cracked me up the whole time because each incident showed one of two things: either an idiot passenger or Southwest Airlines being idiots.

One incident in particular involved a flight that from Ft. Lauderdale that was landing in Buffalo with passengers connecting to Cleveland. The flight from Ft. Lauderdale was delayed and the passengers missed their connecting flight. Not the worst thing to happen, but Southwest REFUSED to do ANYTHING to accomodate the passengers to get them home. It was Sunday and the next flight that had seats available was Tuesday. They wouldn't put them on another airline, get them a rental car to drive home, or even pay for a hotel! They wanted these people to sit in the airport for 2 days, and when the people got upset, they called security on them!! It was ridiculous!

The thing that killed me about this situation is that reaccomodation is a HUGE opportunity for airlines to gain customer loyalty. You can gain a customer for life simply by showing that you are making every effort to help them out. But yet, these workers chose to actually say the words "Its not our problem" and when the customers offered suggestions of very reasonable things that would make them okay (hotel room, rental car, refunds so they could rent a car themselves), the airline refused. And the airline industry wonders why the public thinks they have poor customer service....

There were some good incidents on the show too. A lady's bag fell off a cart and was drug 100 ft, shredding nearly everything inside of it on her way home from a trip. That customer service agent called another agent in Vegas where she came from and replaced all of the souveniers that the customer had, plus some extras. Good job Southwest. I guarantee that that lady will always fly Southwest when she can. Just a little bit of customer service will go a long way.


Lindsey said...

Did you participate in the Puking Festival too??

Emily said...

Yes I did. It was miserable.