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Southwest Airlines crowned the best customer service provider

SouthwestAirlinesEarlier today I received this note from a friend, Evan Crist, and just had to share:

We were traveling from Denver to Phoenix for some fun in the sun when Southwest Airlines lived up to their reputation for spontaneous entertainment and pleasing service. (I love the line, “If you are not pleased with our service, we have six emergency exit rows throughout the plane. Please locate the one nearest to you!”)

Approximately halfway through the flight, Nancy, the flight attendant, came on the intercom and announced, “We have a very special guest today. Spencer is five years old today. Spencer could you please join us at the front of the cabin?”

As Spencer made his way to the front, a bashful little girl who appeared to be eight years old or so emerged from behind Nancy toting a flute.

Nancy explained, “Spencer’s sister, Elisa, would like to play ‘Happy Birthday’ for her brother on the flute.”

Elisa sporadically blew her best ‘Happy Birthday’ song and the cabin clapped. Then the whole cabin, led by Nancy, sang the birthday song to Spencer—again to his delight.

Next, without any fanfare, Nancy placed a crown on Spencer’s head. The crown was made of clear Scotch tape, Southwest Airlines peanut packets, and red plastic olive skewers.

As King Spencer pranced down the aisle proudly, I noticed the crown—an unnecessary, spontaneous, free, yet brilliant example of customer enthusiasm that cannot be mandated but cannot be overvalued.

No doubt, Spencer ate his crown before his parents retrieved their bags but he won’t soon forget that flight. Neither will I.

I bolded Evan’s observation above because it illustrates the theme of the previous post, That little extra

It’s true. When you break it down to its fundamental components, exceptional customer service really is optional and free! (Or, at least no more than the cost of some peanuts, olive skewers, and Scotch tape.)

If employees choose to perform like Nancy, the flight attendant, (and it’s supported by the corporate culture), their company may also be crowned the industry’s best customer service provider—just like Southwest Airlines.

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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