Southwest Airlines is not an Atlanta-based company, but it does make its presence known at the busiest airport in the U.S. With plenty of passengers flying through Atlanta on a Southwest aircraft daily, service plays an important role in the quality of the experience people receive in this southern city. Fortunately, those who arrive or depart Atlanta via Southwest Airlines are likely to receive the first-class service that has made this carrier one of the top in the airline industry over the past few decades.
The 2012 Customer Service Hall of Fame
Southwest Airlines was recently named to the 2012 Customer Service Hall of Fame, compiled each year by MSN Money. This is not the first time that the company has been recognized by MSN – last year, Southwest placed sixth on the Hall of Fame list. This year the company took the 10th spot on the list. According to MSN Money, the airline boasts a service to more than 10 million customers in 42 states from coast to coast. The company also features customer service offices in a number of major cities across the U.S., with the most recent location opening in Atlanta.
Last year, Southwest acquired AirTran Airways in an effort to broaden its reach to more customers and destinations. The new customer service center in Atlanta is designed to make that merger as seamless as possible for both AirTran and Southwest customers. Call center operators are prepared to help customers with reservations for both airlines, as well as ensuring rewards from each company can be used for the other as well.
Southwest’s Customer Service Secret
While other airlines have struggled in recent years, both in terms of profits and customer service ratings, Southwest manages to rise above the crowd. The company consistently ranks in the top of the hierarchy for service quality and has remained in the black for the past 39 years. While part of Southwest’s appeal has been its traditionally low fares and lack of tack-on fees for bags and ticket transfers, the airline has also developed a name for itself in terms of customer service.
The secret to the company’s success appears to trickle down form the top. Executives with the airline have stated that they empower their employees to serve the customers, backing up their decisions in the interest of customer service. The company also recognizes exemplary customer service from individual employees throughout the corporate hierarchy, as a constant reminder to all Southwest staff of the important impact they have on customer satisfaction.
In addition to the recognition Southwest has received from MSN Money, the company has also received customer service accolades from Consumer Reports, the International Business Awards, Air Cargo World and the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Interestingly, the company has also been recognized as one of the best companies to work for in the United States by Glassdoor.com, G.I.Jobs and Fortune. It appears that creating a positive working environment for staff also translates to a positive experience for that company’s customers – much like many customer service gurus regularly advise.