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Rommel Anacan

Welcome to my blog on MFI! This blog allows me to have an ongoing conversation with multifamily professionals like you. My focus is on helping you and your companies succeed by helping you optimize the quality of your relationships. If you'd like more information about me, my company and the ways that I can help you, please visit my website at www.RelationshipDifference.com

The Southwest Airlines Secret to Success-And How You Can Make It Work For You!

The Southwest Airlines Secret to Success-And How You Can Make It Work For You!

As a corporate trainer and motivational speaker I travel a lot for my business. In fact I like to say that I "commute via airplane." It has gotten to the point where I can identify what restaurants I want to eat in and where they’re located in a particular airport. I have also found myself wandering the gates of airports looking for a restaurant that I cannot find, and then realizing that I wasn’t in the airport I thought I was in!

And while I travel on a few different airlines, my favorite tends to be Southwest Airlines. At first glance this may sound weird to you, since Southwest is known as a “low-fare” carrier, they don’t offer you assigned seating, the seats are all the same; a flight attendant once told me, “It’s all first class here!” There is nothing fancy about what they do, yet Southwest consistently tops flier satisfaction surveys, and continues to do well in a highly competitive industry.


I think Southwest continues to succeed because of these factors:

  • They know what their customers want
  • They give it to them
  • They allow their people to have fun

Let’s look at all of these items.

The first 2 they know what their customers want and they give it to them. Southwest customers want low fares, free check-in bags, decent snacks, points that are easy to earn and redeem, free in-flight entertainment and a friendly crew. (Well, at least this is what I want!) So, Southwest gives it to their customers.

I remember the first time I lined up for the Southwest “cattle call” boarding process, my thought was, “How janky!” But now as I have watched just how efficient the Southwest boarding process is compared to other airlines, it makes sense. I’m willing to give up a seat assignment for the other elements of the experience, because it’s pretty much what I (and other customers) want.

I flew another airline not too long ago and to watch the inflight entertainment meant I needed to download an app, and then download a viewer and open it through a browser I don’t often use. After ten minutes I still couldn’t watch anything.

On my most recent Southwest flight I just turned on my laptop and clicked on their website and voila-I could watch Alfonso Ribeiro (remember him??) on multiple episodes of “Unwrapped 2.0!” Super easy.

Southwest is famous for the aircrews that sing and dance and joke their way through the pre-flight safety briefing-and I love it that they do it. In the past that was always such a boring, corporate, sterile presentation that no one wanted to watch-and now many other airlines have infused some personality into their own safety briefings (I will give a shout out to Delta who does do some funny ones!)

The point isn’t the funny demonstration-it’s that the culture of Southwest allows their employees to be who they are. I have flown on many flights where the crew didn’t do anything funny or out of the ordinary-and they’ve been just fine as well. I love that they allow their people to infuse themselves in their work-it’s what makes it less like work and a little more fun.

In your leasing office, right now, what is one thing you can do to ensure that you are:

  • Giving your residents/customers what they really want?
  • Infusing some fun and personality into what you do?

It really is worth it!

(This post was originally featured on www.PMStaffing.com)

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great post...and I must say "welcome to my world." I will add to your experiences a couple of mine. Like going to the wrong hotel room, trying to unlock the door, because that was my room number the day before in a different city. And I love American like you love Southwest. At 2 million miles, i get to sit where I choose in advance and think that the service is great. I hope you love what we do as long as I have have loved it!

  Anne Sadovsky
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Anne! So great to hear from you! Thanks for reading and sharing! American is my second go-to airline, but I am nowhere near 2 million miles! One day they will let me in the Admiral's Club. (=

  Rommel Anacan
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As a fellow "frequent long distance commuter" (How many times have you said to someone late for a meeting or class that you made it from across the country and they couldn't be there on time due to traffic??? really???) I have many of the same observations. My height does not permit me to like flying on Southwest as much as you seem too. I need more legroom than what their "hardware" allows.

I am impressed by one thing that I've seen occur more often by someone in a Southwest uniform than any other airline. I'm impressed by the amount of authority that their employees have in solving problems. Other airlines must call over a redcoat, ambassador, manager, or supervisor to provide a fix. Southwest seems to give their employees the ability to problem solve quickly, efficiently and often without any escalation; either in frustration level or in "passing the buck to a higher position cause they have the authority to do what needs doing".

I think the most amusing pre-flight performance I've seen happened on a Delta flight recently when the video screens for the aforementioned funny video was broken. The announcer proceeded to do the entire speech off the cuff as if we were on the Millennium Falcon, with our Pilots Han and Chewy; the attendants in the aisles had trouble going through the motions as they were laughing too hard. I love watching people have fun doing what they have to do.

  Paul Rhodes
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Paul-thank you for reading and for commenting! As a huge Star Wars fan I would've loved to have seen the Star Wars bit! Safe travels to you-and I'll see you at an airport somewhere I'm sure!

  Rommel Anacan
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Interesting connection between the job of a leasing agent and that of a flight attendant that I hadn't thought of before! Presentation, integrity, and enthusiasm for the job make a huge difference in satisfaction for your customer, whether they are on a flight or one of our residents. In the multifamily industry, we often try to present ourselves as what we think is desired from a resident. Your advice shows that genuine personality makes more of an impact than a boring presentation, which is such a great point!

  Gainesville Apartments
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you! I used to tell the folks I managed and now the clients that I train that most apartments look alike, the experience is the same for most prospects. Everyone seems to have a "sparkling pool" etc. so the way that they can stand out is for who they are, what they're like, as you mentioned, their personality. I mean, when you work in "beige" all day, you gotta bring some color to the office, right? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!!

  Rommel Anacan
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I liked your conments about southwest

  Jose Etcheverry
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I love this comparison, Rommel! Like Anne, I am an American Airlines junkie, but Southwest is my second. (Got you both beat with 4 Million miles on American!) I think it is very important for our teams to have fun at work. I have created a "cheat sheet" to go through the paragraphs of the NAA lease, that incorporates some humor, too. For instance, when talking about that returned check fee, and all the other fees a returned check will trigger, I just tell residents to write the hot check to the grocery store, because it's a lot cheaper! People remember things when they laugh. You are a terrific speaker, Rommel. Happy travels! VS

  Vicki Sharp

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