Most likely you’ve flown Southwest Air, and if you anything like me, I LUV them because of price and convenience of scheduling on flights under 500 miles. I like Southwest, and indeed sometimes I love them because the get me home on nights when sometimes I never expected to sleep in my own bed because they’re flexible. Okay. They also do the cattle call boarding style which sometimes I don’t mind, but sometimes I really do – like when I’ve been on the road, and I’ve run to the airport and I am kind of starving from the whole day and they have…lanes of numbers and peanuts. I’ll be fine…oh; I forgot to send that email to the client. Now I am forced to make a personal decision: to choose between getting home and sending that important email.
If given a choice I want to get a glimpse of that violet hued mood lighting on sleek, cool but warm and friendly Virgin America. I would take great seats and cool colors, and good food (at least for purchase) and WiFi any day over brown and orange colors, and relatively unsexy uniforms and cattle call lines – because I got all of what I needed (price and route) and lots of what I wanted (such as something to eat after a long day) from Virgin America.
Virgin wooed weary travelers in the US market with the promise of entertainment and atypical libations like Absinthe. I, like any self-proclaimed hipster, would fly the same route for the same or lower price to get a feel of that Virgin touch. Or even the curious first time flyer that chose the flight because they were price conscious. What a perfect opportunity to start getting Southwest Air out of the first class cabin and into stowage: Virgin flew both brand aware and brand curious and those that just thought Richard Branson their hero or massive hot air balloon (I am pretty sure Virgin has those, too, by the way – that is hot air balloons). Virgin America flew people to their destinations beginning to end, with great experiences and great brand expectations met.
Virgin does very well across channels, too: online, offline, on the mobile handset, in the air - you can connect to satellite Internet. They sell consistently branded, highly market aware customer happiness and that allows them to come in and hoard a demographic away from a huge incumbent. Yes, granted they have very highly recognizable brand, but they don't rest their reputation in that it is also a source of customer expectations.
And sure, as we watched their books and record stores shut down, it saddened me to lose them and those great books they’d get into the music stores and the café and the great coffee. However I had another great brand who were picking up the slack nicely across two sectors - music (Apple’s iTunes) and books (Amazon.com). And I don’t miss Virgin for that any more, something new and better came and took my attentions away with a better experience.
04-08-2010 4:23 PM
Filed under: customer experience, benchmarking , customer service representative, contact center, customer loyalty, misdirects, customer service, outbound customer care: speech automation, customer care, customer satisfaction, IVR, cross-channel, multimodal, multichannel
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