We use Customer insight to improve the Customer Experience.

2010 ONE REPORT  >  people  >  Customers  >  Customer Insight

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We LUV to hear from our Customers.


Customer Insight

In order to continually enhance the Customer Experience and our Customer Service efforts, we must engage our Customers and solicit their thoughts and feedback on a regular basis. We want every Customer to LUV flying with Southwest Airlines, so we take the time to regularly listen to Customers’ suggestions, read Customers’ comments, conduct surveys and focus groups, solicit feedback though social media venues, and track industry results. We then use this Customer insight to improve the Customer Experience.

Net Promoter Score

In our ongoing efforts to gain Customer insight and improve the Customer Experience, we contact Customers daily, via e-mail to ask them about their recent travel experience with Southwest Airlines. No surprise our response rates exceed industry norms as our Customers are eager to share and identify the purpose of their trips; disclose how likely they are to recommend Southwest Airlines; and rank their checkin, gate, inflight, arrival, and overall experience on a scale from one to ten.

From these survey results, we calculate our Net Promoter Score (NPS)—the percentage of “Promoters” (those who are likely to recommend Southwest Airlines) less the percentage of “Detractors” (those who wouldn’t recommend our airline). A high NPS indicates a strong competitive advantage, which is why we set a goal of 65 percent NPS in 2010. We reached or exceeded that goal every month in 2010.

Survey results are published internally via our Customer Experience Dashboard, so that work groups and Employees can continually evaluate and improve their contribution to the Customer Experience. In 2010, we saw significant improvement in our Customers’ satisfaction with the checkin experience, helping our Employees see that their hard work to improve that experience in every city we fly was recognized. By getting to know our Customers better through this daily survey, we can identify our successes and areas of improvement in a timely manner, so that we can keep Customers coming back to Southwest Airlines whenever they need to fly.

Customer Brand Survey

In addition to NPS, we use monthly and biennial brand monitoring surveys to track our progress toward brand satisfaction. Monthly monitoring provides a pulse point, while the survey allows us to dig deeper into particular metrics to get a more complete view of our brand awareness in the marketplace. The biennial survey is conducted by a third-party partner using respondents, not just Southwest Airlines’ Customers, located in the majority of the markets we serve. The brand survey questions asked are consistent, allowing us to make good comparisons over time. However, we also add targeted questions that are relevant for a particular survey period. For example, we took extra effort in 2010 to obtain information about the importance the traveling public places on airline fees and their recognition of the Bags Fly Free® campaign.

In the 2010 survey, highlights include:

  • Our Bags Fly Free® campaign has very strong brand recognition, and most survey respondents understand that they can only book Southwest flights at southwest.com.
  • Brand commitment1 continues to increase with both business and leisure travelers.
  • Our brand consideration, ranking Southwest Airlines as the first airline that passengers consider flying, continues to grow in the markets we serve.
  • Not charging fees ranks very highly as an attribute associated with airline selection. Flexibility in travel plans is also important to prospective Customers.

In summary, we are winning Customers by offering freedom from fees, our market share is growing, and new and loyal Customers continue to LUV flying with Southwest Airlines.

U.S. Department of Transportation Performance Metrics

Like our domestic passenger airline counterparts, we file monthly reports with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics and other DOT departments regarding a number of Performance statistics from our operations. This includes information regarding number of Passengers flown, fuel consumed, and baggage fees. It also includes information regarding Southwest Airlines operations as they relate to the Customer Experience. This information allows us to compare ourselves to our industry counterparts, so we can continually strive to provide our Customers the best Customer Experience.

Comparison of 2009 and 2010 Performance Results

compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, Aviation Consumer Protection Division

2009 2010
Consumer complaints per 100,000 enplanements  0.212  0.272
Percentage of reported flight operations arriving ontime 83.0 79.5
Number of mishandled bags reported per 1,000 Passengers 3.43 3.43
Passengers denied boarding per 10,000 Passengers 1.29 1.24
Number of incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of animals during air transportation 0 0

Looking Forward

At Southwest Airlines, we value what our Customers have to say and seek out ways to monitor and measure Customer satisfaction. In 2011, we will continue to regularly engage our Customers and request their feedback. With this Customer insight, our Employees can better provide the highest quality of Customer Service.

1 Brand commitment refers to the strength of the relationship with our Customers. The metric we track is a total percentage of respondents who indicate that Southwest Airlines is their favorite airline and they will go out of their way to fly with us or that we would be one of the first airlines they would consider.

2 Leading U.S. Department of Transportation customer satisfaction ranking out of 18 airlines evaluated.