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May 22, 2012 SMELLS...SOUNDS...FORGIVENESS

From the remaining gray matter of Jim Huebner

YOU ASKED FOR IT “...I have hunted werewolves. I shot one once, but by the time I got to it, it had already turned back into my neighbor’s dog.” —Dwight Schrute

BRAND OBSERVATIONS OF THE DAY From my random collection of info sources, here are some highlights related to the brands of our times... • Thailand may soon allow brands to trademark specific sounds and smells, according to an article via BrandChannel in the Bangkok Post. This could be a real plus for some brands (Weber Grills, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Apple), but probably a measure other brands might want to avoid (Waste Management, Batesville Casket Co.) • Trouble forgiving and forgetting? Not with these brands. USAA, Costco and Amazon were rated by Temkin Ratings as the top three most forgiveable brands (meaning they can screw up and you’re apt to forget about it because you love them sooooo much!) EVADES OR AVOIDS? This showed up (below) in my LinkedIn Today headlines a while back. We all understand that there is a difference between “evades” and “avoids”, right?

Please tell me he’s getting some kind of royalty checks...

Brought to you by popular demand of a client, my mom, and some folks I met at a church potluck


...and straight from the HuebnerPetersen blog...!

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Southwest Airlines...opportunity missed Recently, I went to book a flight on Southwest.com, which was nothing new for me. I prefer the airline because their flights are on time, I actually like the “choose-your-own-seat” feature, and the people are the friendliest in the business. (Yes, friendlier than even the “friendly skies” folks.) But what started out as a routine flight reservation, turned into a missed opportunity for Southwest and a great reminder that taking care of the customer is always top priority.

their business. Therefore, the experience customers have online is critical to their success and to their brand loyalty.

After visiting Southwest.com and entering my flight search information, a message came up that said the site was down and to try back in an hour. I was busy and decided to wait a day or two. When I returned and entered the information again, I received the same message.

But more than that, you need to embrace problems like this as an opportunity to build even greater brand loyalty than before the situation occurred. How about offering to call or email the customer as soon as things are back to normal. Or better yet, offer that important customer a discount on their next flight for the inconvenience. That’s how you show customers that you value them. And that’s how you turn problems into opportunities.

At this point, I was really needing to confirm my travel plans, so I decided to call Southwest directly. A friendly man answered and after I had explained what had happened, he simply said, “Oh yes, we’re aware of the problems with the website. All I can say is just keep going back and trying.” Mildly frustrated as I had already tried “going back”, I then asked if I could just reserve the flight over the phone. The rep said, “Oh yes, but it will cost you more money to make a reservation over the phone.” And THERE was where Southwest missed an opportunity. According to Business Travel News Research, about 70% of all airline reservations are made online. These types of reservations are a core piece of

That said, what should Southwest have done? For starters, when your website is down and you are only taking reservations by phone, you certainly need to offer the same “deals” over the phone that you offer online—at least until the website is working properly.

(NOTE: Ironically, the prices Southwest quoted over the phone seemed high, so I decided to check around. I saved $200 flying Frontier, had great legroom (major issue for me), and a nice snack. Maybe this experience will cost Southwest even more than I thought!) Jim Huebner is President of HuebnerPetersen Marketing Communications.The firm was established in 1989 and specializes in helping make manufacturers heroes to their dealer and distribution networks through strategic brand positioning, integrated marketing, and front lines marketing services. You can reach Jim at jimh@HuebnerPetersen.com or on LinkedIn. © 2012 Hmmm by Jim Huebner

WORDS TO LIVE BY Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. –Proverbs 11:28


Jim Huebner Hmmm V7  

BRAND OBSERVATIONS OF THE DAY From my random collection of info sources, here are some highlights related to the brands of our times...

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