By: Jenna Langan
Katie Gatti and Michelle Agnew of Southwest Airlines shared the true meaning of being a people-centered airline brand at this year’s PRSSA national conference.
“If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of your customers, which in turn will make your shareholders happy,” claims Southwest Airlines CEO, Gary Kelly.
Southwest prides themselves as a very people-centered brand that is designed with customers in mind. With that being said, they offer not one, but two checked bags free, no fees to change flights and customer service that goes above and beyond.
When customer experience is designed with “people first” in mind, the brand follows.
In 2014, Southwest completely relaunched the brand.
“Revolve and stay relevant, that’s really important. Know what customers want before they know they want it,” Gatti said.
Southwest cherishes how social media can turn customers into brand ambassadors.
A lady with down syndrome named Tracy had the dream of being a flight attendant for a day, and one of the Southwest flight attendants made this dream come true. News channels told this story to the world.
A photographer reached out about going across the country to take a photo of the solar eclipse. Southwest made this happen right away, they had him meet the whole crew and the pilot even washed his window so he could get the perfect picture. This story also made national news.
However, despite all the good, things can still go wrong. From things like weather to discrimination-- safety is always the number one priority to Southwest.
Connecting with customers on an emotional level builds trust. Experts say goodwill and brand love you built is what helps in a crisis.
Southwest shared five words to describe what responses should be in the event of a crisis.