As I move from the journalism world into a membership and non-profit focus, I suddenly look at experiences with brands a little differently. I was fortunate to work with Brooks Running as it launched its PureFlow2 shoes. They sent me a pair and simply asked me to share what I thought about them on social media if I wanted to. And to be honest, I wanted to. They’re great shoes for me as I continue to run a couple of times a week and a few races a year.
But my best customer experience came from the last couple of weeks with Southwest Airlines. I’ve been a fan for a long time. But since I started my new job, I’ve used the airliner a lot in the last six months. I tend to snag a seat near a window and enjoy the views. Every once and a while I get to use one of the free drink tickets they sent in the mail. While I was attending the SXSW Interactive festival this March, I couldn’t get the check in process to work for me since the online process wasn’t working and I had fully lost my voice. (It’s a problem I tend to have near the end of SXSW each year.) I mentioned my problems on Twitter and a customer service person made sure everything was handled for me.
— Jen Lee Reeves (@jenleereeves) March 11, 2013
@jenleereeves Your boarding passes are saved, since you have EarlyBird, but you’ll have to print them from the airport
— Verity Kugelmann (@SouthwestVerity) March 11, 2013
Pretty great, right? Well, that wasn’t even the best moment I’ve had with Southwest this year. It happened after I wrapped up a flight from Washington, DC. I had fallen asleep on the flight, packed up my stuff and headed out to my car and enjoy a two hour drive from St. Louis to Columbia, MO. I was a little groggy but ready to snag my luggage and get home. What I hadn’t realized is I left my iPad in the seat pocket. My iPad! And I didn’t even recall putting it there.
Later that week, I messaged my brother and told him I thought I left my iPad at his place. That’s because I had no memory of putting it in my bag or pulling it out on the plane. (I must have been really tired.) I wasn’t worried and didn’t even think about checking my Find iPhone app that I have attached all of my Apple products.
I assumed wrong. How did I find out? Because someone from Southwest emailed me. And the email was vague:
Dear (my email),
We have obtained your email information from an item found on Southwest Airlines. If you have recently lost an item while flying Southwest, please follow the link to fill out a lost report https://live.lostandfound.
aero/client/southwest/landing.. Once you have completed the report, reply to this email with the lost report number. do
Southwest Airlines Lost Article Recovery Team
That was the first moment when I thought that maybe, just maybe, that iPad was left on the plane. But this email was so vague, I thought it might be a scam. So I did a little research on how Southwest handles missing items. I tracked down the Frequently Asket Questions page on Southwest’s website and found a question about leaving something on a plane. It led me to a link that was identical to the one that was included in the email.
I filled out the form and emailed the person who had emailed me initially and shared my lost item report number. She confirmed Southwest had my iPad within EIGHT minutes.
Seriously? That’s amazing.
I sent Southwest my FedEx information and six days later (only because I wasn’t home for the first two deliveries), my iPad is back with me. Southwest even left me a note: