Holding onto Customer Trust

We are quick to criticize sluggish corporate responses to crisis. We should be equally quick to compliment corporate responsiveness and responsibility.

Southwest Airlines got a scare recently when a hole was ripped in the fuselage of one of its Boeing 737 airliners, forcing an emergency landing in Yuma. No one was injured.

After the incident, the airline announced it would inspect its fleet, grounding 79 of its planes from flying. That decision resulted in a costly and inconvenient cancellation of nearly 500 flights over several days. Cracks were found in at least two more planes, which Southwest says will be repaired.

“Safety of our customers and employees is our major concern, and we are thankful there were no serious injuries,” said Mide Van de Ven, head of operations for Southwest Airlines.

The "put-customer-safety-first" response by Southwest Airlines reinforces why the airline has ranked number one in customer satisfaction for more than 15 years in a row, including again this year. (Not charging for checked bags makes passengers happy, too).

Passengers were undoubtedly inconvenienced by the flight cancellations caused by plane inspections. However, they also were reassured Southwest lived up to its reputation by treating a little crack as a big problem.

My family and I have a flight booked on Southwest in a couple of weeks. I won't be changing my reservations. Southwest earned my continuing trust.

Did they retain your trust?