Southwest built a loyal customer base.  So loyal that a competitive rush for checking-in for your flight became a thing.  

No assigned seats, discounted prices, free bags, fun employees, easy booking and superior customer service all made it a great airline to fly.  Southwest was convenient and inexpensive.  

Plus – last time there was an issue on a Southwest flight, all passengers including me received a Luv voucher towards their next flight – without asking.  That totally made me feel appreciated.  

Then – things changed. I won’t be stepping foot on a Southwest airplane anytime soon.   

Why?

Customer service declined – in fact it sucks – that and prices went up significantly.

The last time I flew them I had several issues.  Not one – several. The flight was delayed by fault of their own, the cabin temperature was very hot (the reason they gave Luv Vouchers to all customers on a previous flight), the seat was broken, the cabin smelled from fuel, and they ran out of ice.  When I voiced my concerns expecting to be greeted by the Southwest customer service I grew to love and share with others – I found a lack of accountability.  And pushback.  And a 55 minute hold time for the department I was told to speak with when my emails and social media posts went ignored.

When I did receive a response I was told that they don’t give Luv vouchers in these situations –  despite the fact they had in the past. They didn’t even bother to try and offer me something else to retain my business like drink tickets or an upgrade.  I was at times ignored, given the run around, and had to follow-up several times to get updates.  Not acceptable levels of customer service!  

Really, Southwest?  I’ve spent what feels like thousands of dollars on plane tickets with you and when I experience several issues, you can’t throw a $75 (that’s what they offered before without asking when I had only one issue) voucher towards my next flight for the inconvenience?  Not only does that show you don’t value my business in a competitive market, but, it also shows me your inconsistent processes and decline in customer service.

So I took my loyalty to JetBlue. They have reasonably priced tickets and I don’t have to stand in line to pick my seat.  Thus far their seats all have worked, the temperature wasn’t out of control, the cabin didn’t smell, the flights have all been on time, and, the service hasn’t sucked either. In fact, when I did have an issue with seats due to a last minute change, it was resolved at the gate with no arguments and an upgrade to extra leg room.

So, if you’re reading this, Southwest (actually, anyone who is reading this, pay attention!) once you set the expectation of excellent service, you can’t expect to provide less service for a higher price and retain your customers.  Customers have many options in today’s world.  If you piss them off or ignore them – they’ll go elsewhere.  

Just like I did. (Hello from the newest satisfied TrueBlue member!)

Want to learn more about how poor customer service impacts your business – and how to improve it?  Download our eBook – Bad Customer Service is Costing You.  

About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions – an Organizational Effectiveness & Strategy firm.  He helps clients in achieving success through people, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable. Organizations where people enjoy working and customers enjoy doing business. 

Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

__________________________________________________________________

*All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, publication, and all other use of  any and all of this content is prohibited without authorized consent of Tolero Solutions and the author.

DOWNLOAD: Customer Service eBook