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    Southwest Southwest Presentation Transcript

    • Employee Communications: The Key to Efficiency, Loyalty and Survival
    • Background
      • 1967: First papers filed to create a new airline that would connect Houston, Dallas and San Antonio
      • Legal complications in creating the airline leave Southwest with little capital
      • 1971: Southwest begins service to DAL, SAT and IAH with $20 one-way fares.
      • Today, Southwest operates 550 aircrafts among 72 cities.
      • Most successful low fair, high frequency, point-to-point carrier
      • Largest U.S. carrier based on domestic passengers
    • Recent PR Challenges
      • Flight 1248 crash
      • Budget crisis
      • Weight regulations
        • Kevin Smith
      • Clothing Regulations
        • Too Hot to Fly
    • Southwestern: Building a Brand
      • Strengths: Southwest was a new company with an innovative and cost-effective business plan.
      • Weaknesses: Lawsuits left Southwestern with little capital, forcing Southwest to choose between selling a plane or firing employees.
      • Opportunities: Few affordable and convenient options available for flights between Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
      • Threats: Nearly saturated market, no reputation
      • Challenge: To develop a system that allows for 10 minute turnarounds between flights--a feat only possible with a strong flight crew
    • Plan development
      • Research:
        • What environments bolster teamwork?
        • What motivates employees?
        • What personalities thrive in fast-moving work environments?
        • How can one translate strong internal communications to exceptional customer service?
        • What are travelers seeking from an airline?
        • Primary: focus groups with employees and consumers, surveys
        • Secondary: research on how new airlines have branded themselves as successful organizations
    • Goals and Objectives
      • Goal:
        • To build an airline brand that leads in low prices, customer service and environmental initiatives
      • Publics:
        • American travelers seeking low cost flights
        • Southwestern employees and potential new employees
      • Objectives:
        • Create internal initiatives that build teamwork within first year
        • Develop a system that allows fast turnaround (10 minutes)
        • Develop a ranked customer service program that will increase repeat customers by 25% within first year
      • Strategies:
        • Choose employees whose personalities support an innovative team mentality
        • Hold customer service at the top of priorities, with refunds and acting upon customer complaints and reviews
    • Internal PR Initiatives: “Southwest Spirit”
      • Casual Dress
      • Competitive wages, benefits and profit-sharing programs
      • Internal Transparency:
        • “ Walk a Mile” program
        • Formation of the “Culture Committee ”
    • External PR Success: Online
      • First airline to establish a home page
      • First airline to use DING! Airfare service to notify consumers of exclusive offers
      • www.nutsaboutsouthwest.com won Best Corporate Blog for three years in a row
      • As of March 2011, southwest.com was the 2nd largest travel site and largest airline site in terms of unique visitors
        • Links air, hotel, car
        • Community travel forums
        • Active social media networks
    • Results
      • Southwest remained profitable as nearly all other airlines crashed in early 2000s
      • Best on-time performance, fewest customer complaints, fewest mishandled bags
      • Plane turnaround of approximately 20 minutes
      • Excellent customer service recognition
      • “ Best Places to Work”
      • Highly recognized environmental efforts
    • Reflection
      • Employee satisfaction translates to customer satisfaction
      • Transparency with publics increases trust
      • Strengths:
        • Strategic communications: able to build positive brand
        • Strong employee relationships
        • Strong customer loyalties
        • Creative crisis management skills
        • Leader in customer satisfaction
        • Efficient and user-friendly website
      • Weaknesses:
        • Make all policies, including clothing and weight, more readily accessible
        • Increased freedom internally can lead to unexpected employee behavior