Insights

Nice Guys Finish First

According to the old saying, “Nice guys finish last.” Southwest Airlines has defied that axiom for years. In an industry that is the poster child for a bad economy and despicable customer service, Southwest is on track to have its 37th consecutive profitable year.

With other airlines singing the blues and charging for everything from baggage to peanuts, how does Southwest continue their remarkable story? This article in The Motley Fool suggests it’s by sticking to core values and focusing on the customer experience. As the story points out, even the company’s ticker symbol (NYSE:LUV) seems to personify the approach toward travelers..

Having another profitable year doesn’t mean it has been easy. Southwest is faced with all the very real challenges of other carriers. The difference is in the choice to sacrifice short-term profits for long-term brand loyalty. They refuse to charge for bags, have employed a new customer centric boarding system and have embraced an emerging business traveler segment.

Listen to Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly’s message to his shareholders, “Our objectives remain: enhancing the overall Customer Experience; appealing to more business travelers; and generating more revenue per flight.” By putting the discussion of revenue last in the list, this is one nice guy who is finishing first.