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.
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