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I just received a birthday card from Southwest Airlines, complete with cute 3-D glasses to look at the card. Can you imagine any other airline sending a birthday card to a customer?
Steve Yastrow posted this on 04/06/05.
Yes, possibly one. Jet Blue. Don't know for sure, as I have yet to travel w/ them. But from what I hear, that would be the only other one. Glad it was a good experience. I love Southwest and fly them any chance I get.
Posted by Tony May at April 6, 2005 11:39 PM
When they eliminate the herd-like procedure of boarding A, B and C and assign seats in advance they have my vote.
Who could possibly care about a birthday card and WHY do they have your birthday on file?
I flew SW 100+ times and they are way over-rated and often over booked. On these cheap flights, the only thing that matters to me is a few precious inches extra leg room, not being stuck in the dreaded middle seat if I don't show up 1 hour early and getting from point A to point B without having to go to point C.
Birthday card â€“ who frigging cares? In their defense: online boarding passes, but everyone does that.
Posted by Tom Q at April 6, 2005 11:56 PM
I do care about Birthday card, dear Tom Q, whether I am the owner of a single person business as if I am the CEO of an international airline: details do matter, details in fact, are everything. Or what do you think is life made of?
Posted by Omara at April 7, 2005 12:05 AM
Yes, there is somewhat of a "herd mentality," on Southwest, but you can also look at it, in a refreshing way, as an "everyman" flying experience ... in contrast with the "you coach shlubs better not try to use the first class bathroom" crap you get on other airlines. (I think that calling the class bathroom restrictions a security measure is like claiming you wear a toupee for sun protection.)
Posted by Steve Yastrow at April 7, 2005 12:05 AM
Glad the card was taken positively, and not as something cold generated by a computer.
When is (or was) your birthday? Are we late for the party?
Posted by Gabriel Salcido at April 7, 2005 1:49 AM
Funny. I agree with all of the above comments. My personal SW peeve is the talkative stewardess who thinks the intercom is a standup comedy platform.
It seems the discussion digressed into airline preferences because your initial post reads "All airlines should send birthday cards." However if I read you again, it seems that what you are saying is, "Who else would do this? Isn't it just perfectly Southwest." It is. As is their commitment to their goodness (and people) in allowing a TV show to tape both their lesser and greater moments. Everyman. That's nice. Quidam.
PS - Wierd thought. Doesn't SW appeal to Marxist ideology, even though they are winning the Capitalist's game?
PPS - Happy Birthday!
Posted by Paul Davidson at April 7, 2005 2:21 AM
HAPPYY BDAY, STEVE.
Posted by jens at April 7, 2005 4:40 AM
Happy Birthday, Steve.
Sure, I can always imagine.
It would go like this:
Here at ...... we believe we're Something Special in the Air. Well, today,
you are something special, too.
Happy Birthday from all of our family at ....... Airlines. We hope you will fly ....... Airlines again soon.
Posted by Jason Kerr at April 7, 2005 6:38 AM
Yes Omara, details do matter, details in fact, are everything and when flying, the details that matter are: a few precious inches extra leg room, not being stuck in the dreaded middle seat if I don't show up 1 hour early and getting from point A to point B without having to go to point C.
And again Steve, why does SW even know the date of your birthday? I sure hope they don't know mine!
Posted by Tom Q at April 7, 2005 7:45 AM
Belated b'day wishes Steve. Do you fly first or biz or economy ?
Btw, B'day cards are wonderful - more special in these e-card times!
Tom Q - you are so paranoid. However, you retain the right to keep your DoB confidential.
Posted by Mahesh at April 7, 2005 9:24 AM
Astounding. None of you offered a thought on Tom's question. The problem, first, is not listening. The second is that this is the common denominator in so many other issues. Speaking out against what is wrong, rather than saying who else is doing right - or offering suggestions of how to fix said problem/challenge. Does no one care about that anymore? Am I that much of an idealist?
Who ELSE would do this, besides Southwest?
Posted by Tony May at April 7, 2005 9:29 AM
I can see both sides of this argument ...
I worked for the National Health Service in the UK for 35 years and one Christmas a few years back an e mail came from 'on high' - The Secretary of State for Health no less - asking that all staff to be wished a happy Christmas ....
Nice thought - awful way of doing it
The cynical people thought this was crass and a total waste of time - an empty gesture ...
My take on it was .... the well intentioned Secretary of State was way off the mark - wishing people a happy Christmas via a bland e mail is just about as silly as it gets when you are communicating with one million people in your organisation.(Yes that is correct 1 million people work in the NHS)
He was clearly badly advised ...
I agree with Omara that we should 'sweat the small stuff' - the detail is hugely important ...I remember with great affection those senior people in my career who, for instance, remembered the names of my three kids ...
Regardless of whether they are wonderful managers (they usually are) I have the greatest respect if they genuinely remember the 'small stuff' about their staff....
I have never flown South West Airlines but a birthday card from Virgin would not surprise me at all ... Richard Branson usually gets it right ...
Warm regards - great discussion
Posted by Trevor Gay at April 7, 2005 9:41 AM
MIDWEST Airlines is outstanding - they may send a card. I've flown them from D.C. REAGAN to Milwaukee a few times - ALL large leather seats, newer planes, clear individual TV, on-time, class staff.
I appreciate SOUTHWEST too - they seem to treat customers and their associates with high regard - ZERO layoffs after 9/11 for example.
Happy birthday Steve - we are not getting OLDER - just WISER about airlines, markets, CAPITALISM, et. al?
Posted by Sean at April 7, 2005 10:07 AM
Thank You Tony May. Virgin Atlantic would probably send a card...Maybe Jet Blue.
Posted by Dogan Tekben at April 7, 2005 10:49 AM
You are having a relationship with Southwest airlines and you are receiving as well as giving in this relationship. So, how do you quantify this? How did Southwest Airlines allocate resources to this vs. meals?
I had a conversation with a recruiter yesterday that went like this..."You are going to be hard to place because you speak too much about relationships, etc and my "blue chip" companies like results. Oh my! Really. Maybe we need to send her a Southwest airlines birthday card and tell her there are two lifecyles, the product one and the relationship one, but you need the relationship to enable the sale.
So...why are managers so scared of the "relationship" word? Why does it bring up images of money pit?
Posted by Wendy at April 7, 2005 11:04 AM
Did they send you the card becaue you are " Tom Peters"
I dont knwo if an ordinary person would get it.
Happy Birth day anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Satish Shah at April 7, 2005 11:08 AM
Happy Birthday Tom. I ain't surprised for looking at your address it is clear who you are and what you. I certainly feel it is a good marketing ploy to sell their airlibe to you.
Jet Airways in India does the same to all its customers with a silver and gold membership.
Cheers and a good year ahead
Posted by Shantarama Sharma at April 7, 2005 11:21 AM
Oh thats so kewl. I like that personal touch /attention. One now, can't forget SouthWest correct ??
btw Happy B'day Steve !!
Posted by /pd at April 7, 2005 12:23 PM
Happy Birthday Steve. You should tell us the day and we will remember it for the next year. Still, you have not told us what was your impression about the card, did you like it? Was it pretty?
Posted by felix gerena at April 7, 2005 12:48 PM
It's probably because you're Tom Peters... lol.
Posted by anon at April 7, 2005 1:52 PM
The big question on a gimmick like a this is whether it increases customer loyalty in any way. If a computer generated birthday card has even a small chance of increasing loyalty then it is probably worth doing.
There is little to lose in mailing your customers a card, and Southwest Airlines is a great example of how much there is to be gained in enhancing and improving relationships with customers.
Posted by Tom Gruber at April 7, 2005 2:17 PM
There seems to be a misunderstanding. It was not Tom Peters who got the card, but Steve Yastrow (not a nickname of Tom). So, they didnÂ´t send the card because he was Tom Peters, right?
Posted by felix gerena at April 7, 2005 2:31 PM
You gave them your date of birth?
Give 'em your SSN too, Southwest might send you a check.
Posted by John at April 7, 2005 2:58 PM
Sure I can imagine it...lost en route, "bumped" in favor of a credit card offer for 15,000 free bonus miles, or delayed by mechanical issues.
An interesting touch, given the fact that SWA doesn't do very much to differentiate one passenger from another.
Posted by Justin Sullivan at April 7, 2005 6:19 PM
/pd, you are such a d-sucker, ALL your posts make me want to puke. You looking for a job in the TP Empire? Forget it, doubt they hire d-s.
Steve, send SWA your mother's maiden name and she may get a card as well. How Kewl!
Posted by Tom R at April 7, 2005 10:57 PM
Happy Birthday Steve!
Most of the chatter in other comments covers what I was going to say...on the positive side anyway.
JetBlue is the only other airline I could see getting personal like that.
Incidentally, I recently finished your book. Lot's of good stuff. I especially enjoyed the trends you identified on pages 28-29.
Posted by Michael Chaffin at April 8, 2005 1:25 AM
I like the stand-up comedy routines given by the flight attendants when they explain the safety features of the aircraft.
Posted by Erick Blackwelder at April 8, 2005 1:27 AM
Foxwoods Casino sends birthday cards. They are classy. They also send periodic mailings. There are other casinos in the northeast but we would not consider any others because of the great care they take to satisfy us. The fact that they are just starting a major upgrade to their facilities is just another plus.
Posted by Marilyn Jess at April 8, 2005 1:04 PM
Southwest is definately customer oriented - anyone who has gotten their companion pass knows that they definately do differentiate between their top flyers. Some would rather bring a spouse, partner, friend on the trip than gamble on getting up in first class (Executive Platinium isn't what it used to be on American).
Its interesting to note the complaints about seat sizes - Southwest's seat pitch is 32", compare that to coach at American (31"), United (31"), Continental (31"), Delta (31"), US Airways (31"), Northwest (31") (source: WSJ 4/05/05) Why do we love to hold on to warped perceptions of reality?
Posted by DanD at April 8, 2005 2:30 PM
Tom R - agreed /pd web logs like a major jerkweed dickweed low IQ fem lowlife - trying to lure people to his minimum wage mindset "website" & sending them spam e-mail ... something ...
Southwest is far too professional to consider - love the routes SWA flies from Albuquerque - like San Diego in 1 hour [2 hours net] and Seattle in 2 [3 net].
Posted by Sean at April 9, 2005 7:31 PM
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