Many of us saw several viral videos[1]in YouTube in which stewards that work for Southwest Airlines company in the USA perform the service, and ‘perform’ is a correct word here. But really few of us understand why this is happening.

Southwest Airlines (SA) is famous for its unique corporate culture, there even exists a book written by the company’s Head of Marketing, that reveals all the secrets of company’s corporate culture, HR policies and Marketing based on CRM[2]. The main principle of SA CRM is the following: if company’s employees are really happy working in the company, they will broadcast it to clients naturally and sincerely, without any external stimulus. At first sight, the ‘secret’ does not seem unobvious: companies should provide their employees with exceptional working conditions and they will succeed as SA does. So, if we’ll read the whole mentioned book (not only the foreword), we’ll understand that the answer is not on the surface.

Many Americans dream about working for SA but the company has large and long recruitment system. Newcomers have to pass several steps that check not only their intellectual skills but also personal traits and life approaches and values. Thus, very small percentage of applicants manage to get SA job offers. Definitely many big companies have complicated recruitment system too, but when we talk about SA, we should make it clear that an applicant may be accepted if he or she suits an exact profile.

There described many examples of various situations that illustrate people of such profile. The one that comes to my mind is about spontaneous celebrations or breakfasts when there is a newcomer in the department. This really sounds like a good idea but the will to make this celebrations is very deep and natural – they want to make this party and do not feel any doubts or laziness or anything else. 

The case of SA does not show us that great CRM is possible to be built only if an employer recruits people ‘sorting’ them by define employee portrait. Many other companies and other business spheres have their own peculiarities that may not be covered by strict employee profile. But definitely the quality of CRM depends on companies’ employers satisfaction with work and this factor can be influenced by an employer.



[2]Grubbs-West, L. (2005). Lessons in Loyalty: How Southwest Airlines Does it: an Insider’s View. CornerStone Leadership Inst.

6 комментариев

  1. The example of SA is not unique. Marriott hotels have the same principle. Top management organizes trainings for all employees. All staff from waiters in hotel’s restaurants to managers can (and even must) participate. These trainings are divided into 2 parts. First one is a lecture about history and values of the company. Second one is a feast. Employees can feel like guests: dress up, be served by waiters and taste luxurious dishes. So that they understand what guests can think or feel. Because of this staff understands clients needs better and do their work with enthusiasm. Furthermore, employees notice preferences and habits of guests and then put them in the database. So that when certain guest arrives to the Marriott hotel first time (but he or she was at another Marriott hotel before) he or she gets great service according his or her preferences and habits.


  2. Your example, Anastasia, is very good. Thank you for considering CRM and corporate culture in terms of customer service. However, I would like to note such an important point that in order for CRM to be useful to the company, it must meet its needs. From the point of view of the company, the choice of a specific CRM system should be made taking into account the corporate culture. What I mean — when implementing the CRM system, at the stage of company analysis, a deep study of not only business processes, but also the study of the corporate culture itself is required. This question can be studied in the source, which I will also attach with this message. The authors are just exploring a related issue.


  3. Both Anastasia gave very interesting examples of corporate culture based on CRM. Indeed, if a company decides to implement CRM, it means that it has decided on a strategy for building customer relations and is ready for future changes that will affect the entire structure of the company, it is illustrated by the example of Southwest Airlines. They have a very well-built customer relationship strategy. However, it is imperative that employees of all organizational levels — from shareholders to performers — participate in agreeing on a CRM strategy, and this is the only way to achieve the most balanced strategic decision. When introducing CRM, the approach to building relationships between company employees and its customers is updated. It is happening because of appearing the communication between the client and the organization. The effectiveness of such communication depends on the representative of the company, so it is important for the employee to understand how to interact with the client in order to obtain the necessary information about him and convince him to use the services of the company.


  4. It was very interesting to read this article, especially good idea was based on the consideration of the practical case. Also, very interesting comments that perfectly complement this topic. Even from the examples that were mentioned in the article and its discussion, it becomes clear that organizations need to improve their corporate culture, since its influence directly affects the success of CRM implementation. But this requires considerable resources of the company, so it is more feasible in larger companies. I also consider it important to add that the concept of corporate culture develops not only from internal structures, but also from external ones. This can be explained by the fact that a favorable atmosphere inside the company is not possible with unfavorable external factors that affect the company. It will also be interesting to study the history of Zappos on this topic. Leave a link to the description of this case.


  5. Southwest Airlines (SA) in the United States is a very well-known example in management. I want to talk about another topic before bringing it into the field of CRM. In management, different organizations are divided into many colors, and Southwest Airlines is the closest green organization to teal. This represents the company’s corporate culture freedom and gives employees a space to speak. This is SA’s unique corporate culture. This particular culture has led many people to take this company as an example. This echoes the corporate culture of SA mentioned earlier in this article, which has promoted the good development of CRM. If the company’s culture is healthy, like SA and Marriott hotels, then employees will naturally be willing to work hard for the company and get better service.


  6. Хуэйлинь Чжоу:
    The above post describes in detail the mechanisms of internal corporate culture using the example of Southwest Airlines (SA). One cannot but agree that an employee who is satisfied with his work will also effectively communicate with consumers.
    The relationship between corporate culture and CRM described above is quite rare in the market.
    Thus, the author cited only an isolated case; there are not many conclusions in the work for a common purpose. Although the fact is clear that the corporate culture and connection with the company’s CRM is a new trend for business. The Southwest Airlines case study reveals in detail the factors that influence the building of a CRM with a “human face”, because satisfied employees make satisfied customers.


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