The paper "Customer Service Product Analysis of Southwest Airlines" is an outstanding example of a case study on marketing. Southwest has always been known for two main things namely; it has a humorous corporate culture and has consistency in profitability for more than three decades. The customer service delivery strategy of the airline is unique on its own, but it is particularly critical to understand what the role of the airline’s managers has been in shaping this strategy in order to be able to do a comprehensive analysis of its customer service strategy. Besides all these, there is the role of employees in every success story since the enrolment, hiring, selection, promotion, and training of personnel is extremely valuable because it is what determines whether employees will be able to fit into the corporate strategy of the company. This paper looks at all the above aspects in evaluating customers’ service provision at Southwest Airlines.
Southwest began its operations in the year 1971, but its entry was painful and slow, due to a court case brought before a Texas-based court to stop its incorporation by now non-operational “Braniff and Texas International Airlines”, to the effect that there was not enough demand to sustain 3 interstate airlines in the market at that time. The court cases did slow Southwest Airlines, but they did not stop it from taking off; in fact, they only strengthened the airline and made it resolve to survive (Chambers et al 1998). Later on, a price war competition saw Southwest fight a bruising battle against the two in the same market in which they sought to stop it from establishing itself forcing it to come up with an operating model strategy to enable it to survive.
The airline did survive; from a culture marred by “rock bottom” fares to one characterized by humorous marketing put together around a “Luv” premise as the airline developed a reputation for amusement and quality for itself. The image of humor is deep-rooted in the culture of the airline, to the extent that it can be observed in everything “Southwestern”. Humour can especially be witnessed in the convenient gags that the airline’s employees throw at each other to occupy themselves. Creator and long-serving CEO of the airline Herb Kelleher saw to it that this culture became strengthened overtime with his love for organizing company parties one after another. Southwest employees were aware of the fact that their CEO loved them and the company too.
When Gary Kelly, an accountant, succeeded Keheller, he had voluminous shoes to fit into; but he took it in stride. It is said that on the day Kelly took over from Keheller, he showed up dressed in a Halloween party attire as a make-up from the “musical hairspray, complete with an oversized dress and colossal hair”,; an image that made employees at the airline certain that he was one of them (Larcorte 2009).