At the weekend myself and my husband decided to take advantage of being so close to LA and took a trip to Disneyland. We had looked online a couple of weeks ago to try and see if we could get a reasonable deal, although we weren’t sure we would be able to during the holiday season, but we were delighted to find Southwest Vacations and booked a great package that included flights, hotel, shuttle bus tickets and park passes. The website was easy to navigate and book through, and the tickets arrived in the post within the week.
Being from Ireland we had never flown with Southwest before, but had heard that they were a low fares airline similar to Ryanair, an Irish budget airline. We discovered that like Ryanair, Southwest had free seating onboard, however that seems to be where the similarities ended. The staff were unbelievably friendly from check in – which took a grand total of about 2 minutes – to onboard service – the air steward whispered over my sleeping husband’s head, so as not to wake him, when asking me for my drink order. Our flight arrived on time and our bag came out quickly. All in all a pleasant experience.
But it was nothing compared to our return journey . . .
In order to get a full day in the park, we had booked a 9.40pm return flight on Sunday, however flights were being delayed due to bad weather on the west coast that evening and our flight was going to be delayed by a minimum of 1 hour, with a high likelihood of it being delayed further. However, an earlier flight which had been delayed was now due to leave a 9.45pm, so we went up to the desk to see if there was any availability on that flight. The woman at the desk was extremely friendly and said she’d put us on the standby list. About 10 minutes later her colleague handed us new boarding passes and we boarded the flight, arriving into San Francisco without any fuss . . . and (!) . . . our bag was waiting for us on the conveyor belt in SFO . . . we were unbelievably impressed given how little time the baggage handlers must have had to move our bag.
Overall we were extremely impressed by the service, especially given the ‘low fares airline’ tag, as we had been expecting a ‘low fares airline’ service. We will without question fly with Southwest again.
It goes to show that just because you are offering an economy service, doesn’t mean you can’t provide first class customer service. And, if all your employees work together to provide a consistently good experience for your customers, then you can’t fail to make a good impression.
All businesses should put customer service at the top of their 2011 priority list. Making your customers your number one priority will help keep your business going through the hard times.
Have you had a great customer service experience? Are you providing a great customer service experience? Please share your stories in the comments section below.