About the Episode
Perks don’t matter to the customers, what matters is if you deliver what you promised to them. Make sure to deliver what you promise, or it will catch up to you.
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- Timing is most important when traveling
- Consume the information that helps you
- Customers want the core function, not the perks
- Always deliver your best in anything, if you don’t it will come back and bite you
- Your first priority is to deliver the core value of your company
- Stick to what works.
- Do what your customers expect of you
What shakin’. Hey, I’m Rick Jordan, and today we’re going all in. We had some pretty significant weather impacts and the flights, I was actually on a flight too, had to, and had to change my flight coming back from New York to Chicago just to make it in time before this big thing hit. And that was interesting. Okay? But no one got hit as hard. I mean, all the airlines, United, Delta, American, and even Spirit, right? Frontier and all that. Nobody got hit as hard with their schedule and, an impact on their flights as Southwest did. And even many, many days later, still Southwest has difficulties trying to get back on track and even to the point where the FAA has gotten involved to investigate this because they’re saying it’s unacceptable and they think they’re violating, the terms of their customer agreement. I don’t know if you knew this, but when you purchase an airline ticket, you’re actually purchasing a contract between you and the airline.
You should read the fine print sometime. It’s pretty, it’s pretty interesting, but it’s actually a contract. It’s called a, I think it’s like a, a, a passage contract or carrier contract or something like that. But, it is, a contract between you and the airline when you purchase this airline ticket, when you purchase the fair. It’s really interesting and there are a lot of things, that kind of slip into the fine print. So take a look at that. But here’s what I’m looking at, right? Because so many people, and I don’t get this because I’m just gonna flat out say this, I hate Southwest, but I hate Southwest because they’re not really aligned to me. I’m not their customer avatar. I’m not the one that they typically go after, you know, and there are a couple of reasons for that. I’m, I’m primarily a business traveler.
That’s it, right? So what I like to do is spend, since I spend so much time in airports and planes, I like to try to spend as little amount of time in airports and planes as possible because, the less time I spend in those airports and on those planes, means the more I can get things done. And it just takes a big chunk out of my life. Can’t wait for that day when there’s a corporate jet, okay? Because it’s gonna save me like a whole third of my life, I swear. So if I have to fly Southwest, I always purchase the upgrade to the A-one through 15, you know? And the only time I ever will is if, it’s just a timing thing. Like if there’s no other flight option that makes sense for a timing thing because timing is most important to me when it comes to flying timing, getting in at a specific time, getting out at a specific time, that way I can make meetings, make events, I can speak.
There are just a lot of things because my schedule is so tight that timing on flights is my primary when it comes to searching for where I need to go and who I need to fly on. Now, typically it’s been ununited. Okay? And, and that just kind of happened throughout the pandemic just because, they were the ones who fit the timing criteria the best at the time. Well, even with the reduced flight schedule. But now Southwest is having these huge difficulties and I don’t like them. And what I saw this, I saw this explosion coming for years, okay? Because everyone says that they’re so customer focused, they’re so focused on giving customers what they want, right? And they were the ones for real, you know, and I, I credit them with this. They were the ones that completely changed the industry when it came to no-change fees.
Cuz they came out years ago and said, you can never, you’re never gonna have to pay a change fee. You can always change your flight whenever you want to just pay the difference in fare. So then other airlines followed suit and it just made sense, right? It really just made sense because it made it convenient and it’s what customers wanted. And when customers have certain expectations, those are the things you absolutely wanna deliver to them because they’re human. They just make sense. They’re common sense. And that one made sense too. Now, over the course of the last two years, I saw this coming, no, no joke because, I read Wall Street Journal all the time. I, I, I consume, uh, business Insider, all of this information I consume during my breakfast every single day. And I would encourage you to have a breakfast routine.
You know, if you don’t think that you eat B or that you don’t eat breakfast, you know what? Fasting, if you’re doing 16, eight, or something like that, cool, that’s fine, skip it. But set aside some time to consume information about what’s going on in the world, especially as it pertains to you because it’s gonna level up your knowledge, uh, of just the inner workings of everything in life. It really will. You know, and, I use Apple News, I use Google News, I have a curated to my liking to find these things. But Wall Street Journal is by far one of the best subscriptions I’ve ever had in my life. Cuz it, it, it’s, to me it’s for the most part unbiased. And right down the middle, it just likes to report the facts. And what I saw over the last two years with Southwest is this perfect storm starting to brew, not this bomb cycling.
The bomb cycling was just the catalyst to push it over the edge. But I saw this perfect storm starting to brew. While other airlines were very much concerned about the well-being of their staff, even amidst pilot shortages and, and, and crew shortages and all this, these other things, they would reduce their flight schedules so that they could try the best that they could to not overwork their employees. Southwest was the exact opposite. So while on the front-facing side, they were saying, Hey, we’re gonna do all this stuff for our customers and everything on, on the employee-facing side, it’s like it, they were slave drivers. They continuously overworked their people to the point where there were lots and lots of complaints from all of them. And that’s what happened now because they had such shortages o of the crew and they were overworking them.
And there are actually laws that are in place from the faa, from the federal government that says how long pilots can fly, how long crews can man aircraft every single day. They ran into this issue because they were so tight on this because they were overworking their people so badly that they struggled for several, several days after the actual event occurred. Now they’re in a position where they cannot take care of their customers. All of a sudden no longer change fees apply because it doesn’t matter, right? Customers don’t care about the perks of no change fees anymore. They don’t care about that. They get two bags checked for free because that is something that Southwest doesn’t, and nobody else does. They don’t care about that stuff. Why? Because Southwest could not deliver the very basic function of its business, which was to get its customers from point A to point B on time.
You know what? Screw on time. They couldn’t even get ’em from point A to point B. They even canceled all flights until New Year’s Eve canceled all flights, until New Year’s Eve in southern California. We’re talking lax, we’re talking San Diego, and we’re talking all the surrounding airports like John Wayne and Orange County completely canceled ahead of time as they’re trying to catch up. Pretty stupid, you know? Now let’s get back to why I don’t like them. I hate not having a seat assigned, again, I’m not their avatar, but that’s something that matters to me. Do you know? And then, uh, people, I, I started looking up comments and forms. It’s like, why do people fly Southwest? Literally, what I Googled, why do people fly Southwest? And things that I talked about just now came up like they don’t have any, uh, change fees. It’s like, well the entire airline industry has that right now.
Thank you, Southwest for leading the charge on that. That made sense. As we talked about, they don’t have seat assignment fees, right? Well, no kidding, because you actually don’t get a seat assigned. You know, they’re, they’re spinning that in marketing as a positive. I see that as a negative because I want a seat. Come on now. Who doesn’t want a seat? Who wants to walk through the aisles? And then the only thing that’s left is a middle seat? You know what? So that means that I pay to get an upgraded boarding position or I buy their business class right there. There’s a song A few years you ever heard by Alanis Morissette, right? I’m sure you have the song. Ironic. Look up the remake of that. And she talks about, you know, isn’t it ironic it’s like first class on a Southwest plane. It’s really hilarious.
You should watch it. I think it’s what James Cordon does, you should watch it. It’s, it’s super funny. But that’s legit what it is. It’s like you’re paying all this money that matches the price. Cuz they, they’re saying they’re a budget carrier, they’re a low-cost carrier. Their prices are the same as everybody else. Now that may be the case before, but they’ve raised their prices and they were inconsistent about that. It’s like they pulled the wall over people’s eyes with all these perks that are out there. People don’t want perks. They want the shit to work. They want the very basic core fundamentals of what they expect from you as a service provider to continue to be that way. Period. Who cares about the perks? Who cares about all that other stuff? You, you know what? To get a seat assignment on another flight, I’ll pay the $25.
If I don’t have status, I do have status cause I fly so much, but I’ll pay the $25 to get a seat assignment on a different flight. You know what? It’s actually 25 bucks just to get Southwest early bird check-in. And still, you don’t get a seat. They’re just bumping you up in the cattle call. That’s it. I really believe that Southwest has pulled the wool over people’s eyes for so long because when you actually get the deliverable on other flights, they’ve twisted this to make you think that you’re getting it. And now it’s caught up with them for the past several years. So I’m thinking of several different examples and lessons out of this that everybody who is ever in business or even in customer service or works for another business should keep in mind, eventually, the crap you spew will catch up with you.
I like that line that just came to me right now. Eventually, the crap you spew will catch up with you. It’s a lot easier to take the heat initially because people can be patient with that as long as you’re straight up with them and you can show a track record of these things. But once something comes up, once somebody finds one little hole in your service delivery or in your business, they will start to, they will start to dig and then they’ll find other things like exactly what I was talking about. But I saw this years ago, I’m like, and even throughout the last two years when I absolutely had to fly a Southwest flight because of timing or something else. And you know, I was always reminded every single time why I don’t, the first time I remember like two years ago I got on and the pilot couldn’t adjust his seat.
We had to get a freaking new whole damn airplane just because the pilot couldn’t adjust his seat back like half an inch. The thing was stuck right there. Great. That was phenomenal for me. Okay? Uh, another reason that, that I flew him, uh, I think it was a year ago for the last time, and reminded again, it’s like the flight was three hours late, couldn’t even book or switch to another flight because all their flights were so freaking full, right? And this is because of those crew shortages because they were overworking their crew. And now this cyclone hits this bomb cyclone, this weather pattern across the US, and their whole company is thrown into chaos. These things continuously mount up when you’re not playing above the table. And now it’s there. And my personal opinion is, I hope that they go down because they’ve been doing this stuff for years and years and years, and it’s stupid.
They’ve been, they’ve been saying they’ve been doing what customers want. But at the same time, when you compare it to other airlines, you know, and you may be right, you know, Southwest has no baggage fees, right? You can check up to two bags at any time. That’s great. You know what, the CEO a year ago said that we don’t think that that’s gonna stick around forever. And that’s because of fluctuating costs. It’s not something that’ll be there forever. You know, if you just get like, like the lowest tier of status, and this is for people that fly at least just even a couple of times a year, that’s it. You actually can check your bags for free on other airlines, but it still, isn’t worth getting a seat selection right then and there, which comes with your ticket. Unless you’re buying the stupid basic economy.
Don’t ever do that. That’s dumb. You know, just by the regular economy ticket, you get to select a seat on every other airline except Spirit and Frontier. Okay? I’m talking the big three, United America and, uh, Delta. You get a seat selection because that’s what people want. That’s what they expect. First and foremost though, they expect you to be able to get from point A to point B. I’ve seen other airlines bend over backward to try to rebook people, especially as it was over this weekend, to where it was just insane weather, and try to still fulfill. And Southwest just kind of threw their hands up in the air and said, Nope, we’re just gonna cancel flights. Sorry, we can’t do that there. There’s no way that we can catch up. You’re screwed. You’re stuck. And all these people got stranded. My lesson from this is one stick to what works if people are performing consistently. Go with that, right? Who cares about saving money when it costs you the end result? Did you hear me? Who cares about saving money when it costs you the end result? That’s what I’m throwing out there today. And that’s both on the customer side, but that’s also
On the provider side. So if you’re out there, if you have a business or if you work for anybody else, remember that your obligation, your ethical obligation, is to continuously deliver that core fundamental foundational service product, whatever it is, in a concise, in a condition that your customers expect. The parks might be able to differentiate you on, differentiate you on top of that. But if you fail in your core, your business is going under period. So do what your customers expect of you. Stick with your core business. That’s the only way for you to Go ALL IN.