Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this


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