Right now, as I zoom over the clouds, I feel like I’m being taken care of and the feeling is surprising. Mostly because it is so rare. And rarer still, for this industry. I’m on a commercial airline flight to Atlanta. The carrier is Southwest. Ah some of you may be thinking it makes sense now. Southwest is unlike it’s bigger US based competitors. At Southwest their job isn’t just to fly planes. They care, they have fun and they take are of people.
It is hard for me to put my finger on why I’m feeling generally positive about the airline. It is the simple things I suppose. A reminder in my inbox to check in. Checking in is easy and easier still to get boarding passes delivered to my iPhone. A real person checked in my bag and chatted with me verses being directed to a kiosk and a frantic ticketing agent who grumps at travelers. The gate agent joked during announcements and was very clear explaining how the boarding process worked. And right now, as I type, the staff is zooming up and down the aisle with drinks, pretzels and peanuts. If I had to list what Southwest does that the others do not, they:
- Simplify each transaction
- Offer more touches with a caring human
- Pay attention to the details of the flying experience
Southwest, I feel, is on my side. They are taking care of me. I distinctly do not get that feeling when I fly the other giant airlines. Southwest is pro-traveler, the other giant airlines are pro-airline generating policies to get their fingers into my wallet.
Pro-member or pro-association?
The question to ask ourselves: is our association pro-member or pro-association? That orientation makes all the difference in the world to our members.
When the association is for the members, members:
- Feel taken care of
- Connect with the association
- See the value of the association
- Have a great experience
- Feel like they belong
When the association is for the association, members:
- Feel the defensiveness and in return feel defensive
- See the value of membership declining
- Get frustrated
- Have a hard time connecting
- Often don’t find a place to belong
Associations that are pro-members will thrive. Associations that are pro-association will continue to struggle.
- We undermine our member service every time we…
- Member service is larger than the member service team
- Member-centric not membership-centric [guest post on AssociationMarketer.com]