Chegg Southwest Airlines Marketing Paper |

Chegg Southwest Airlines Marketing Paper

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Southwest Airlines Marketing Paper
Southwest Airlines was founded in 1967, long before many of the technologies of today
were created. (Southwest Airlines) The company employs many different technologies to meet
customer needs including various forms of social media, a user-friendly website, and an easy-to-
use app. Southwest has been praised over and over again for its social media tactics that help
them connect to customers on a personal basis. These technologies help Southwest earn many
high rankings in the airline industry. For example, research done by the Temken Group revealed
that Southwest had the highest customer experience ratings of all American airline companies for
the third year in a row. (Tempken Group, 2018) In addition, TripAdvisor ranked Southwest as
the top airline carrier in the country. (2018 Travelers Choice, 2018) There is no doubt that these
rankings are influenced by the company’s top-notch social media and web strategies.
Social media is one way that Southwest engages with its customers. The company has
public accounts with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Their Facebook page alone
has over five million followers, more than double that of any other American airline company.
(Dua, 2017) Southwest has also posted more posts on average on Facebook than any other
airline. (Dua, 2017) A quick glance at the company’s Facebook page reveals posts almost every
day, with each posting garnering thousands of likes, shares, and comments. Posts range from
shared passenger posts, to stories about the company and its employees, to weather advisories.
There are a mix of positive and negative comments, and most of the negative comments are more
related to in-flight experiences rather than the actual post’s content, as can be expected with
company pages. The company replies to many of the posts, offering links to things like its lost
and found page or company policies, and sometimes the posts just canter back to the commenter
in the playful way the company is known for. Storytelling tactics are also used by the company
to gain meaningful connections with its customers. Many of the company’s posts focus on
individual passengers and employees rather than the company as a whole. One example is a
video shared from a passenger where a flight attendant leads the plane in singing “happy
birthday” to a child and announcing his surprise trip to Disney World. Another video interviews
two flight attendants who are married and work together at Southwest. These glimpses into
individual’s experiences with Southwest are an excellent example of positive social media
The company reports that it receives up to 3,000 Twitter posts per day directed at the
company. (Kerley, Lloyd, Luna, & Cook, 2017) So how does Southwest manage all of those
messages? The company’s “Listening Center is located in Dallas, Texas and employs around
forty people to monitor social networks for buzz about the company. (Kerley, Lloyd, Luna, &
Cook, 2017) According to one study, Southwest Airlines has the second-fastest Twitter response
time of any American airline with an average time of six minutes and thirty-six seconds.
(Hethcock, 2018) The company is known for being extremely personal on their social media
pages instead of employing canned responses like many other corporate social media pages. For
example, one Southwest social media employee live tweeted a basketball game after a passenger
complained that the in-flight Wi-Fi would not stream the game. (Blackburn, 2018) The company
also rewards its employees for going out of their way for customer using a program called “Kick
Tails” which gives points that can be redeemed for prizes and money. (Muphy, 2018) Not only
does the company rewards their workers for social media, they also stand behind them when
others talk badly about their employees. For example, Southwest reported a passenger’s tweet
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that made negative racial comments about one if its employees. The company then followed up
with their own tweets about their inclusive work atmosphere. (Tennant, 2018)
Negative social media attention is always a concern for large companies. Southwest,
however, handles the attention well unlike other airlines (for example, United Airlines, who is
constantly criticized for its delayed responses to posts). The company’s social media strategy
was tested in April of 2018 when Flight 1380 emergency landed in Philadelphia due to engine
problems. (Hoopfer, 2018) The incident was reported via social media from passengers before
the flight even landed. One passenger used Facebook Live to stream the entire thing while
another tweeted pictures of the mangled engine. (Kezar, 2018) Southwest had to react instantly.
Within ten minutes of the landing, Southwest began posting updates to their social media pages
about the incident and responded to posts from followers. (Kezar, 2018) In the days following
the incident, Southwest continually updated its pages to inform followers of developments in the
case. It is tough to find anything negative about Southwest’s social media strategy, except maybe
that they do not reply to all customer complaints. This would likely be impossible and mostly
inefficient, however.
The website for Southwest Airlines is known for being extremely user-friendly. Because
Southwest prides itself on being a low-cost airline, the passengers are typically people like
college students and less-frequent travelers who are simply looking for a way to get from point A
to point B, rather than complex business travelers who want frills and perks. A simple approach
to technology seems to work very well for this reason. When you first open the home page you
are greeting with a simplistic layout that allows to you search for flights without wading through
tons of text and moving parts. A potential passenger can book a flight with a few simple clicks
and without trying to be sold additional accessory items like other airlines. The home page also
includes the phrase “Low fares to over 100 destinations” at the top. This begins to tell the story
of why customers should fly with Southwest without bombarding them with information. If
potential customers are still not convinced, they can visit a page called “Why fly Southwest?”
linked at the bottom of the home page. This page lists things like their rewards program, the lack
of baggage and change fees, and customer appreciation, among others. (Why fly Southwest?,
2018) There is little to complain about on the company’s website, except that it may be too plain.
The website offers little in the way of pictures that could add to the customer experience.
In addition to its social media pages and website, Southwest also uses an app to make the
booking process easier for their customers. The app is free for anyone to download and offers
loads of perks for the customer. Customers can search for and book flights, manage their rewards
account and check their flight status. In addition, the app serves as a digital ticket that passengers
can use at the gate, rather than keeping up with the paper version. (The Southwest Mobile
Experience, 2018) Just like the website, the app is designed to be extremely user-friendly and has
minimal text or graphics. Negative reviews of the app are scarce. One company who specializes
in app reviews found very few changes it could make. The only things listed were too many
upsells on the home screen, an unintegrated hotel-booking process, and lack of flight
notifications. (Bhagwandin, 2017)
As you can see, Southwest Airlines is an industry leader in technology when it comes to
customer service and satisfaction. The personal connections Southwest builds with its customers
on social media give it a leg up in the industry and help maintain a positive image in. consumers’
minds. The user-friendly website and app give customers a hassle-free booking experience and
efficiently communicates the company’s value propositions without over crowing the page. All
of these things add up to a successful technology strategy for Southwest Airlines.
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Works Cited
2018 Travelers Choice. (2018). Retrieved from TripAdvisor:
Bhagwandin, S. (2017, December 13). Southwest Airlines UX Analysis: Taking App Engagement
to the Skies. Retrieved from Leanplum:
Blackburn, P. (2018, March 22). LOOK: Southwest Airlines employee live tweets March Madness
game for Xavier fan. Retrieved from CBS Sports:
Dua, T. (2017, March 17). 5 charts on airline engagement online: Southwest rules with biggest
footprint. Retrieved from Digiday:
Gallo, C. (2018, March 28). How Southwest Airlines Uses Emotional Storytelling To Connect With
Its Customers. Retrieved from Forbes:
Hethcock, B. (2018, January 11). These airlines respond to your Twitter rants and raves the
fastest. Retrieved from Dallas Business Journal:
History. (2018). Retrieved from Southwest Airlines:
Hoopfer, E. (2018, April 17). One dead after engine failure on Southwest flight bound for Dallas.
Retrieved from Dallas Business Journal:
Kerley, D., Lloyd, W., Luna, N., & Cook, J. (2017, November 21). Behind the scenes with
Southwest Airlines' social media 'Listening Center'. Retrieved from ABC News:
Kezar, K. (2018, April 17). The social media effect: How companies like Southwest are challenged
to stay nimble, accurate in emergencies. Retrieved from Dallas Business Journal:
Muphy, J. B. (2018, March 24). At Southwest Airlines, Employees Love the Kick Tails Program.
Here's Why. Retrieved from Inc.:
Southwest Airlines. (n.d.). Retrieved from Facebook:
Tempken Group. (2018, April 2). Southwest Airlines Earns Top Customer Experience Ratings for
Airlines, According to Temkin Group. Retrieved from Cision:
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AFTER ANTI-MUSLIM TWEET. Retrieved from Newsweek:
The Southwest Mobile Experience. (2018). Retrieved from Southwest:
Why fly Southwest? (2018). Retrieved from Southwest:
WXZY. (2018, April 9). These are the best airlines in the United States & world. Retrieved from
WXYZ Detroit:

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