Happy Employees Means Happy Customers

Southwest Airlines is known as the company that loves its employees – and their customers. But, how is this achieved? How can they have such happy people working for them and flying with them? It starts with their mission statement

Mission:

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

To Our Employees:

We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

Recently, one of my clients, the CEO of a service provider in the healthcare industry, made a realization about his staff. He came to the conclusion that employing people who like what they do will help him become more profitable. He understood that miserable employees who don’t really want to be at work may cost him money in the form of dissatisfied customers who have been mistreated by employees who would rather be in the dentist’s chair than at work.  About 9 months ago, when I first started working with my client, he would often say to his employees, “you want a fun job? I hear Disney is hiring”.  He was under the impression that work environments are supposed to be tough and stressful  with little room for “niceness”.

What prompted the turnaround? My guess is that he was mistreated by a Customer Service Representative. He may have realized that once a customer is mistreated or ignored he will not return to do business with your company again if he has a choice. Eventually, most customers have a choice. Many CEO’s create mission statements and post them up in the company lobby. However, how many truly internalize the values implicit in most mission statements? My guess is not many.

I’ve also attached a video of former President, Colleen Barrett of Southwest Airlines:

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