Saturday, March 3, 2007

SKY High Reputation!

I came across this picture and found it funny when I read it, but in all seriousness it is very true. With a bad reputation, a company may be at risk of losing their customers. Once a reputation is lost, it is hard to re-build, or in some cases can it be rebuilt or in other words, dry-cleaned?

Southwest has worked very hard to keep their company's good reputation. They earned a good reputation and now the challenge is sustaining it. My public relations professor has taught us that good reputations result in many things such as better job candidates, positive press coverage, and customers coming back. Southwest works around the clock to make sure their reputation is not stained.

Southwest Airlines is one of the world's most profitable airlines and it all travels back to their well deserved reputation. Southwest has developed a reputation revolved around their company's identity and what they stand for, which is amazing customer service and cheap airfare. The laid back airline ensures that their customers will fly and have a good time, customers can always expect an atmosphere made up of high spirits and entertaining employees.

Customer service comes first, profit comes second. To communicate their reputation, Southwest has developed a Customer Service Commitment page on their website, which explains everything customers need to know about flying with Southwest and how the company operates. The airline has no hidden secrets, within the Customer Service Commitment the company shares everything for the convenience of the customer to maintain a good reputation.

May of 1988 was a very significant year for Southwest's reputation. During this time, they were the first airline to have ever won the Triple Crown. The were awarded this because the company had the best on-time record, the fewest customer complaints and they were the best baggage handlers. In the year 2007, 19 years later, Southwest has won the Triple Crown award thirty times, proving to keep a good and stable reputation.

I am sure many of you are aware of the 'Frequent Flyer Program,' but did you know Southwest Airlines was the first airline to give their passengers credit for the amount of trips taken as opposed to the amount of miles flown? This program enables customers to travel and get rewarded, the total trips traveled eventually adds up to a free ticket. The start up of this type of Frequent Flyer program was very reputable for Southwest. It was just brought to my attention that Southwest was NOT the first company to start the Frequent Flyer Program, it was started by Western Airlines in 1980.

What do other people say about Southwest's reputation? Well, one thing is for sure, there are not many people complaining about the company. Southwest's website states that, "Southwest Airlines has consistently received the lowest ratio of complaints per passengers boarded of all Major U.S. carriers that have been reporting statistics to the Department of Transportation (DOT) since September 1987, which is when the DOT began tracking Customer Satisfaction statistics and publishing its Air Travel Consumer Report." Southwest strives to keep their identity of satisfying consumers and by the looks of the Department of Transportation statistics, the airline is doing a great job.

There are challenges to keeping a great reputation in the airline business. It is an industry that could change for the better or worse at any given moment. Take for example JetBlue, one minute they had a great reputation and the next one of their jets was stunk on the runway for hours at a time and they experienced their first public relations nightmare. Their company went about handling it very professionally and developed a Passenger's Bill of Rights to ensure the incident will never happen again. Planes often experience technical difficulties resulting in delays, weather conditions also result in delays or cancellations, and the fact of the matter is anything could happen unexpectedly in the airline business. Southwest always needs to be prepared for the worst to make sure they can handle it the best possible way to help sustain their reputation.

Southwest Airlines works hard at keeping a good reputation. The company strives to get their customers to their destinations on-time for the lowest possible fares. They want to have a good time satisfying their customers, and this is why customers keep on coming back to fly.

3 comments:

Jim said...

Sorry - The first FF program was created by Western Airlines in 1980 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frequent_flyer_program . AAmerican AAirlines came up with the first well known FF program, AAdvantage, in 1981.

Megno said...

Oh, I am sorry... I forgot to mention that Southwest was the first frequent flyer program to give credit to the amount of trips a person takes, and not soley on the amount of miles a person flies.

Da Prof said...

Thanks for the credit in your blog :)