Preemptive Excellence

July 19, 2019
Read time: 2 mins

Have you ever appreciated fantastic customer service while going through a particularly rotten experience with the company? Someone here at MRA recently has and it serves as a great reminder that we should all try to be proactive when dealing with situations that are going from bad to worse. Here’s the story.


It was a dark and stormy night. (It actually was). Because of this, a fully occupied, direct flight from Boston to Milwaukee was delayed for an hour at take-off - with no air conditioning. When attempting to land in Milwaukee they couldn’t because of the strong storms, so they were diverted to Chicago Midway. Passengers were warned there would be some turbulence. Well, the turbulence was so intense that half of the passengers got sick. Like throw up sick. Once at Midway, they needed to change planes and ended up sitting there for three and a half hours. Only to have the airport close due to the weather. They eventually did make it to Milwaukee - but were seven and a half hours late, angry, queasy and exhausted.

While this nightmare of a flight was all thanks to Mother Nature, Southwest was on it. Before passengers even landed, the airline emailed everyone on board a personalized letter with their sincerest apologies for a rough flight, explaining that isn’t how they intend their flights to go. As a token of their sincerity, each passenger received a voucher for a free flight to experience Southwest in a better way the next time they flew.

Wow. Talk about being proactive. Before people had the chance to vent about what happened, the airline took steps to calm the nerves of the rattled passengers, admitting that wasn’t the best experience, apologizing and wanting to make it better. And it wasn’t even their fault.

Customer service. It can make or break a company, especially one (like an airline) where there are many other options. Does your company have a plan for proactive customer service?