Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, first fostered the idea of Southwest being known as a Customer Service Company. And our Customers have come to expect our Legendary Customer Service from us at every turn—an expectation we love to deliver on—so we’re always looking for ways to take Customer Service to new heights.
Digital technology has opened up exciting new ways for customers to connect with companies. To help meet our Customers’ evolving expectations and enhance our Customer Experience, we launched a new way for Customers to connect with us in 2019—Live Chat, via the Southwest mobile app.
Using Live Chat, Customers can communicate directly with our Customer Support and Services (CS&S) Representatives to inquire about past or upcoming trips, get information about their Rapid Rewards® accounts, or ask questions about various Southwest policies and procedures—all without having to make a phone call! We first introduced Live Chat to select Rapid Rewards Members in January 2019, and they loved it so much that we expanded the feature to all Customers with Rapid Rewards later that month. So far, the new communication channel has allowed our hard-working Representatives to assist more than 200,000 unique Members in 2019.
Live Chat has been a huge hit, and we love being able to support our Customers in a new way—whether they are on the ground or in the air on WiFi-enabled aircraft. And while anyone with a Rapid Rewards account can use Live Chat, it has had a special impact on one Southwest Airlines Employee and her family.
What Live Chat means to me, my family, and the Deaf Community. I had the honor of working on the Live Chat project for about a year, and I loved every second of it. Live Chat was especially meaningful for me and my family because my mom, dad, stepmom, brother, and sister-in-law are Deaf, and I’m a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults).
“Quality access to customer service can be a hurdle for deaf people, and Live Chat is a great way to serve this community. In general, deaf people want to self-serve, but often have to rely on relay services and interpreters when they want to contact businesses. A relay service usually involves a deaf person using a webcam and sign language to communicate with an interpreter, who then relays the message to a business’ customer representative—talk about a game of telephone! With relay services, sometimes important details are lost in translation and they are difficult to use while on the go.
I’m proud to know that Southwest offers a service like Live Chat. My family and so many deaf people now have new means to connect with us—without having to worry about interpreters or messages getting lost in translation. By removing barriers that get in the way, we’ll be able to better connect with more people than ever.”
Dom Lacy, Live Chat User
“For me, I am always on the go, so being able to use the Mobile Live Chat feature is tremendously helpful. It also alleviates me having to resort to lengthy measures to communicate with Southwest. But even more important, as someone who is a staunch advocate for our deaf community, it is great to see Southwest look at all of their Customer engagement and think about designing a service that is inclusive by design. A great start!”
Mary Lacy, Live Chat User
“Recently, I went on a trip to Denver and I used Live Chat to inquire about my canceled flight. The Customer Representative that I chatted with was able to help me understand that my flight cancellation was due to a snowstorm, and I had been re-accommodated on the next available flight. In the past, I would have relied on other Customers in the gate area to help me communicate. In this example, Live Chat gave me my freedom back, as I was able to self-serve. Thank you, Southwest!”