May 4, 2016 : 1-minute read

Competitive Edge

I spend a fair amount of time on the road. I have priority status with two airlines (United and Southwest) and three hotel chains (Hilton, Marriott and Starwood). In fact, I’m on a plane right now heading home from New York. 

I hate travel. It’s become such a hassle. Too much wasted time in lines at airports, too many people flying on too few flights—which are usually completely full. Don’t even get me started about my rant on TSA. 

But at the end of the day, there’s one airline I like the best: Southwest. Not because I think they do the big things better than anyone else: They fly the same routes, using the same planes for about the same price. I like them because they get the small things right. They take the hassle out of reservations, out of the boarding process, out of using frequent flier miles and out of changing my travel plans at the last minute (something I do a lot). They even manage to smile at me at the airport—even when I don’t feel like smiling back.

Bottom line…they really understand me. They took the time to reverse engineer not what makes them more efficient but what makes me a happier customer. They focus on my biggest pain point. Don’t get me wrong—travel still sucks. But Southwest manages to make it a little less painful and a little more fun.

At the end of the day—it’s not B2B or B2C. It’s about how people do business with other people. 

I wonder what lessons we can learn from them?