Merging two companies into one is often a challenge for customer service. With this in mind, Southwest Airlines is taking a proactive approach in ensuring all of its customers receive consistent care from the company through the integration of Southwest and AirTran. To that end, the airline is coordinating service for AirTran customers to a single location, right in the heart of Atlanta. This new center will initially offer service to AirTran customers only, but care will be expanded to Southwest customers in the near future.
About the New Atlanta Call Center
The new call center, which will be located in the AirTran Corporate Center in College Park, will feature more than 300 desks to handle inbound customer calls. The center will consolidate offices currently located in Savannah and Carrollton, as well as the current facility in Atlanta. All of the employees from Savannah and Carrollton will be offered jobs at the central facility, according to a press release from Southwest Airlines.
The Atlanta call center will be the seventh Southwest Airlines Call Center in the United States. Other locations for the centers include Phoenix, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Chicago, Houston and Oklahoma City. The Atlanta location will be the first in the Eastern Time Zone, allowing the company to better serve customers in this area. The new call center will open in May 2013, and current centers are scheduled for closure on July 31, 2013. This overlap will allow for a smoother, seamless transition for customers as the new location gets up and running.
Southwest Airlines considers its Customer Support and Service employees to be important customer “touchpoints,” according to Vice President of Customer Support and Service Jack Smith. Currently, the airline has more than 600 employees working in their centers in Georgia. This consolidation is designed to allow for more efficient service of AirTran customers initially, although employees will also begin working with Southwest customers in the near future. The new office will take care in honoring the history of AirTran, while bringing Southwest’s reputation for stellar customer service to the forefront, Smith explained.
About Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines has become the gold standard for customer service in the airline industry today. Established in 1971, the company was committed to offering budget-friendly air transportation with first-class service to all customers. Today, the company is recognized for offering customers free checked bags and no-fee transfer options: a unique feature in an industry currently littered with add-on fees that serve to frustrate customers.
Despite their low prices, Southwest does not scrimp on customer care. Customers enjoy spacious leather seating on Southwest planes, with free Wi-Fi connectivity on many flights. The company runs more than 3,000 flights daily, with many non-stop options throughout the U.S. AirTran is a nice complement to the current offerings at Southwest, with coast-to-coast and near-international flights available.
To ensure customers enjoy a smooth transition during the Southwest-AirTran merger, the airlines are both honoring frequent flyer miles and rewards for both airlines’ rewards programs. Customers may also book flights for both Southwest and AirTran through AirTran’s website.