Lessons from the Southwest Airline debacle!!!

The Southwest travel fiasco that effected thousands of travelers and cost the airline over $800 million in compensation claims has been well documented. On a micro level the issue that caused their problem is a mindset that is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” They are using outdated software and technology that doesn’t allow effectively communicate with their planes and flight crews to reposition them to minimize flight cancellations. The Southwest brand which was highly respected has been tarnished, at least in the short term. Time will tell if their loyal customers of which I am one will give them the opportunity to regain their confidence in Southwest. The dynamic of customer loyalty and retention is ultimately controlled by the consumer of your product or service. They decide when and how long they will remain loyal. Today all businesses are technology driven. The consumer expects a smooth, efficient and fast experience. Retailers face the same challenge, especially those using antiquated technology. You’re a dinosaur that will become extinct if your technology can’t meet customer expectations. If as a retailer you can’t meet these consumer expectations your business is in peril. The life blood of a retail business is repeat customers. You need to ask yourself the following questions and based on your answers develop a plan to address your deficiencies.
1. Are you accessing your current technology and making investments to meet to new retail paradigm?
2.Do you offer your customers a seamless online shopping experience?
3.79% of customers make purchases from their mobile devices. Is your website optimized for mobile transactions?
4. Are you using digital marketing tools for the acquisition, engagement and retention of customers?
5. Is your in store check-out process efficient and do offer digital payment options?
6. Do you communicate with customers post sale with relevant information and offers?
Brick and mortar retail is still a strong preference from most consumers but they want an optimized shopping experience.