Monday, July 24, 2006

Southwest Airlines

If you are trying to be all things to all people you might learn from this example.

From the book, Nuts, the story about Southwest Airlines, here is an example of how the CEO and founder focused on his best customers.

As I recall the story, a little old lady by the name of Mrs. Smith was unhappy with the service she received while flying on Southwest Airlines. So she wrote a letter to the customer service department. In her letter she complained about the way Southwest does not pre-assign seats (it is first come, first served), the humor of the staff, and generally everything about the way Southwest operated.

First the customer service representative drafted a reply, which was reworked by the customer service manager, which was reworked by the VP which eventually landed on the desk of Herb Kelleher, the President and CEO.

Most complaints did not get that far – but no one could get the reply just right. Everyone had been tripping over themselves to apologize for the way they operated.

The reply from Herb was, “Dear Mrs. Smith, We will miss you.”

Learning Point:
Everybody is not your customer.

Figure out who your customers are and treat them like gold; say goodbye to the others.

George Torok
Host of Business in Motion

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