Latest News  

TELUS International Europe: Improving customer satisfaction in the airline industry – lessons from Southwest Airlines

At a time when the airline industry has been plagued by one PR disaster after another, it may come as a surprise to learn that airline customer satisfaction has actually reached its highest level ever, according to JD Power

2017-10-31 21:07:07





Grégoire Vigroux
Vice-President Marketing Europe at TELUS
International


Each year, the global marketing company releases a report ranking customer satisfaction for North American airlines based on a number of factors, including cost and fees, in-flight services, the check-in process, reservations and more.

One carrier to thank for the impressive trend upward is Southwest Airlines, who took the top spot for customer satisfaction among the low-cost airlines for 2017.

Southwest Airlines has built its impressive brand around being different from the norm, offering a personable and friendly service to customers during even the most difficult times. We asked Rob Hahn, customer-relations business consultant at Southwest Airlines, to share some of the secrets of how the company continues to use a great customer experience to drive overall business success.

Q: How would Southwest describe its brand character?
A: Our company purpose is to connect people to what is important in their lives through friendly, reliable low-cost air travel. That's in the back of our minds as we're serving our customers each and every day.

Q: How does Southwest set a standard tone for communication?
A: We want to have a fun-loving attitude instead of a stiff corporate structure when we're interacting with our customers. [It's about] having a conversation with them versus telling them, "Here's the policy, here's the information."

Q: How does Southwest empower employees to take control when difficult situations arise?
A: In the airline industry, there are so many things that could go wrong — or so many things that could go well — during a travel experience. When [our employees] are helping a customer, they look at how they can make things right, and make it a win for the company.

We give them tools to make those decisions on their own. Our customer relation representatives — social or phone — are trained on all of our systems. They are the escalation points and can handle anything that a customer throws our way. We really try to be that one-stop shop where we can handle the customers in a hurry and we don't have to send them to another team or another department. We train each of our representatives on our systems, our policies, how we speak to our customers, and on the different channels through which we interact with them.

Q: What's your strategy for dealing with the inevitable challenges, delays and frustration that occur during travel?
A: Regardless of the situation, the first thing you want to do is be transparent with the customer and let them know what's going on and show them what we're trying to do to fix it.

During a tech outage [last July], our VP of communications was doing Facebook Live chats. We had a live running blog with updates on what was happening. In this case, social media played a big role for us get the word out about what we were doing.

That was a really big win, though it was a challenging situation.

Q: In a challenging situation like the outage, how does Southwest keep from transferring passenger stress to staff?
A: I think a lot of it is in the way we hire. We hire folks who are passionate about providing customer service. They know that, in customer service, sometimes there are upset customers. Finding that right employee, who really has a passion to create resolutions for that customer, I think that really helps.

We all know that customers are not frustrated with us, but with the situation. So it's important to look beyond that frustration and how can we fix the situation for them.

Q: Is there a point when Southwest will choose to disengage with a customer?
A: We [always] try to work with the customer. People can be very heated, but our folks are very good at getting to the root of their problem so we can get it fixed. We don't have anything where we say, "O.K. we're cutting the customer off."

If there is something that feels like a road block that [our staff] can't get through, then we can escalate it to a supervisor or another leader to try to help the customer. But we're here to help, so we really want to stay with the customer and get their situation solved.

Q: How important is a sense of humor when communicating with customers?
A: A fun-loving attitude is one of our principles. We encourage employees to not take themselves too seriously; to have fun with our customers and with fellow employees. That's really unique about our company and about all of our employees.

For example, when our flight attendants do their safety briefings — there are certain regulatory requirements on safety briefings — but besides those requirements they'll crack jokes and sing songs, which gets the customers' attention. There are a lot of different things that are normal airline-industry jargon and we can find a way to make them more fun. We give our employees the choice to do that, if they want to.

We [want to have] fun with our customers and have conversations that are not just a boring back-and-forth. It's about having that Southwest heart and leaving customers feeling good about their experience.

Keep up-to-date with the latest thinking about BPO, ITO and Contact Center solutions. Each month, TELUS International, a global provider of contact center outsourcing and BPO solutions, shares insights on the latest customer service trends.

Related articles: www.telusinternational-europe.com /
www.telusinternational.com


0 COMMENTS ^ Go back to Top
WRITE A COMMENT ^ Go back to Top
 
Your email address will not be published.
Nickname
Email
Comment
Validation Code
   
 
 
NEWS
SAP becomes first European tech company to create ethics Advisory Panel for Artificial Intelligence

SAP announced its guiding principles for artificial intelligence (AI) and its creation of an external AI ethics advisory panel – the first European technology company to do so. The panel, comprised of experts

 Read Full article »
DB Global Technology marks five years of activity in Romania

DB Global Technology, Deutsche Bank's technology center in Bucharest, celebrates five years of activity in Romania, the company announced.

 Read Full article »
US giant Apple officially registers company in Romania

American technology producer Apple officially registered a company in Romania, Apple Sales Romania SRL, controlled by Apple Distribution International and Apple Sales, both companies being registered in Ireland

 Read Full article »
Oracle Corporation registers 9.2 billion USD in revenues for 2019's first quarter

Oracle Corporation announced fiscal 2019 Q1 results, with total revenues of 9.2 billion USD, up 1 per cent in U.S. dollars and up 2 per cent in constant currency, compared to Q1 last year.

 Read Full article »
UiPath raises 225 million USD Series C Led by CapitalG and Sequoia

UiPath, the leading Enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software company, has closed its series C funding raising 225 million USD at a valuation of 3 billion USD. The round was co-led by existing inves

 Read Full article »
Xerox launched sales and marketing program for its partners

Xerox has launched in Romania the Xerox Global Partner Program to help its partners diversify their sources of profit and strengthen their customer relationships in the context of the growth of small and medium

 Read Full article »
Local IT services and software market marks under expectations growth in 2017, ANIS says

Domestic software and IT services market in 2017 rose only 2.1 per cent over the previous year to reach 975 million Euro, a growth rate under expectations, according to the most recent study conducted by ANIS s

 Read Full article »
Bitdefender secured direct presence in Australia by taking over local peer SMS eTech

Romanian security technology company Bitdefender said on September 11 it has acquired Australian peer SMS eTech, as part of its strategy of globally expanding in the consumer and enterprise segments.

 Read Full article »
Romanian employers forecast the strongest hiring pace in more than ten years

Fourth-quarter hiring plans are the most optimistic in Europe, on a par with Slovenia, and among the top 5 most optimistic globally, according to ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the October – Dece

 Read Full article »
Oracle Academy expands offering with personalized learning resources and AI curriculum

Oracle Academy announced new curriculum offerings and learning modules to advance computing education globally.

 Read Full article »
 
 
MOST READ ARTICLES
» ROMANIAN OUTSOURCING AWARDS FOR EXCELL...
» Molson Coors started to grow its busin...
» French energy operator Total opened su...
» Capgemini to open new office at Suceav...
» Leoni to open new SSC in Cluj, cut job...
» The Outsourcing industry announces its...
» Luxoft expands Asia Pacific presence w...
» Genpact's COO: Staying ahead of the cu...
» Olga Botusan, Stefanini: There is a hu...
» LeasePlan to open service center in Bu...
 
EDITOR CHOICE
Vivek Bakshi, keynote speaker at People in Shared Services & Outsourcing Forum on October 18, at Bucharest

As a GM for the European Delivery Centers (Romania and Poland international locations) tasked with leading the growth and profitability of one of the most dynamic industries with a focus on customer service is

 Read Full article »
Tom Hobson, at People in Shared Services & Outsourcing Forum on October 18, at Bucharest

People in Shared Services & Outsourcing Forum brings in new top speakers starting with the Global Operations & Business Transformation Executive Tom Hobson, GM of ADP Romania.

 Read Full article »
People in Shared Services and Outsourcing Forum takes place on October 18th in Bucharest

Outsourcing Today, the integrated communication platform of for the business services sector, together with The Diplomat-Bucharest, kick off the autumn series of events on October 18, at Caro Hotel Bucharest, w

 Read Full article »
The outsourcing industry needs early and better educated graduates

In terms of development of business shared industry in Romania, the industry might face a need of doubling the current pool of employees, estimated now at roughly over 120.000 people, according to number estima

 Read Full article »
Francesca Postolache, PwC: In the digitally transformed work and living environment, it is essential to keep up with the present and future

It is important to educate and develop ourselves, in the digitally transformed work and living environment and to keep up with the present and future. We need to develop the ability to adapt for the future, say

 Read Full article »
Latest News  
 
about us | newsletter | contact | members area | GDPR policy
Copyright © 2015 by Diplomat Media Events Design by Diplomat Media Events