The White House held a forum with dozens of CEOs last week, and the topic moved to customer service. The government was trying to learn how to be more customer-friendly, and they were particularly interested in what Southwest Airlines CEO, Gary Kelly, had to say.
Now I know many of you are thinking such things as “it’s about time!” or “isn’t that an oxymoron – government customer service?” But one particular reaction might be “why would a government agency turn to an airline for advice?”
The answer is the same reason why an airline would turn to NASCAR – the stock car racing league – for advice.
You may have heard the story of the airline that was trying to improve the speed and efficiency with which it “turned” planes at the gate. So where did they go to determine how to improve? They went and met with NASCAR pit crews to observe, talk, and learn about how they could do so much so fast so effectively in a 5, 10, or 15 second pit stop.
Kelly suggested at the forum that to satisfy customers, “It’s more important for us to be on time and have great employees…than offer frills.”
In other words, do what you do with great efficiency and great attitudes, and that’s more important in engendering customer loyalty than offering a perk or two.
The next time you’re trying to get better, to learn, to grow, don’t just look at yourselves or at an organization just like you.
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