Sticking with Customers Makes Them Stick with You
Overcoming adversity is a hallmark of the Southwest Warrior Spirit. In July 2016, we experienced a technology outage that disrupted our operations for the better part of three days. It was extremely frustrating for both our Customers and our Employees.
We immediately turned to our six communication goals to address the situation: honest, transparent, quick, genuine, progressive, and omni-channel. This is how we kept Customers and Employees up to speed on a stressful and changing situation.
We tapped the power of social media, using Facebook Live video streaming to reach Customers and address media inquiries. Our live stream featured Leaders who were forthright and proactive in talking to our Customers. The result: We saw the first signs of a significant positive sentiment.
We were live earlier discussing our technology challenges. What you'll find in the stream: – Rebooking information- Current state of our Operation- What caused yesterday's outage- System recovery
Posted by Southwest Airlines on Thursday, July 21, 2016
Through it all, we worked hard to maintain our Southwest Spirit. For example, when a young lady in San Jose couldn’t get home to her parents in time to celebrate her birthday, Employees threw her a birthday party in the airport to lift her spirits.
As we told our Customers and our Employees, there is no victory lap to be had for a situation that bred disappointment and shook the trust Customers have in Southwest. But during a situation such as the outage, “Love Above All” remained the theme as we worked to get our Customers back in the air.
Our efforts to keep Customers informed and to resolve the issue as quickly as possible likely contributed to Southwest ending the year with the lowest number of Customer complaints, 0.47 per 100,000 enplanements, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In the first two days of the outage, our Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures customer willingness to recommend a company’s product or services to others, dropped to 95 percent below the summer 2016 average. Within a week after the event, it rose to only 5 percent below the average. Notably, within two weeks of the outage, our NPS had strengthened to 11 percent above the average. Our Customers seemed to appreciate how hard our People were working to serve them in adverse conditions.
For the full year 2016, Southwest achieved an exceptional Net Promoter Score of 69.3 percent.