Posted by Becky Carroll on August 17, 2007
Marketers work hard to connect products to emotion. Color, sound, and even smell are among the many tools used by the marketing artist. When we can actually make a connection to something deep in the human psyche, we are more likely to remember that product or event.
Southwest Airlines does a lot of things right in the midst of a very difficult time for airlines. Their flight attendants use a good sense of humor when welcoming passengers onto planes. They author a blog to engage in conversation with customers, such as this fun entry from one of their pilots describing what it is like to set customer expectations through the plane’s PA system.
This past weekend, on a flight home from Chicago, I saw Southwest personnel doing one of the things they do best: treating people as people.
At pre-boarding time, I saw a young girl, about age 9, getting ready to fly alone. Her escort (probably Mom) was in tears as she saw the girl onto the jetway to board the plane. As we boarded the plane a few minutes later, we noticed the young girl huddled in her seat and sobbing into her hands.
Fast forward about 30 minutes. Southwest flight attendants were taking drink orders from the passengers. Shortly after that, we got a little “snack box” for the trip – delivered by our young solo flyer! The flight attendants had noticed her emotion and had engaged her in helping to pass out the food. The girl was cheerful now that she was busy with an important job, and she was graciously thanked by the crew over the PA system.
I think I smiled the rest of the way home.
Using empathy really does matter, whether we are dealing with customers, employees, or each other. Taking consideration of the feelings and needs of others makes campaigns and initiatives more effective. Mixed together with a little kindness, you have a successful recipe for marketing, customer service – and life.