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Southwest Airlines- You Can’t Buy This Kind of Loyalty.

Last week on my way home from a meeting in the Bay area, I received notification that my SWA return flight was cancelled. Of course, I was mildly distressed as I quickly realized I had been booked on a 737 Max. I was all too happy to re-book.

During the flight out, I read the in-flight magazine feature honoring Herb Kelleher.

I was incredibly impressed as he seemed like a larger than life personality with keen business sense and a real passion for building a solid company by treating his employees, customers and vendors well.

I was unable to book through normal channels and wound up cancelling my original flight and rebooking at considerable expense. I was fearful that I’d have to absorb the additional cost.

I experienced the “Southwest Way” upon my return. My call to Southwest customer service lasted all of 3 minutes. There was no negotiation required, just a explanation. The customer service agent quickly acknowledged that the Southwest website and call center were overloaded and they couldn’t handle the incoming traffic. I was promptly made whole on my ticket. It was one of the easiest and most pleasant interactions I had last week.

I have over 1 million miles on another global carrier. I can assure you that Southwest has gained my trust, confidence and satisfaction 10X. They are my domestic carrier of choice hands down.

Here are a couple of my favorite leadership tru-isms from Herb Kelleher that ring true with us at Mettacite:

  • We hire for attitude… it’s easier to teach a skill than train somebody to be a decent human being.

  • Your people come first and if you treat them right they’ll treat our customers right.

  • There’s a difference between micromanagement, which deprives people of initiative, creativity and growth and micro-knowledge which aids in executive decision making and leadership.

Herb Kelleher believed it was SWA’s culture of commitment that gave SWA a competitive edge.

Tell us: What defines a great relationship for your company?

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