Word of Mouth Tip #23: It’s more fun to work at a company people love to talk about

It’s more fun to work at a brand, big or small, that is dedicated to earning the respect and recommendation of their customers.

It’s more fun to believe in what you do — to know that at the end of the day, if you were able to turn a few strangers into happy customers, and a few happy customers into loyal fans, then you did something right.

And it’s a lot more fun when your employer supports you in doing this, empowering you to make it happen.

How a word of mouth supergenius does it:

Southwest Airlines is one of our favorite word of mouth brands. In an industry where generally the only people more frustrated than the customers are the employees, Southwest is admired inside and out.

Check out this classic love letter Southwest Airlines’ Paula Berg wrote after leaving her beloved employer of 10 years:

68 REASONS WHY I’VE LOVED WORKING AT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

  1. This puddle.
  2. The response you receive when you tell someone that you work for Southwest Airlines.
  3. Free flights.
  4. The People – There are times when I pass folks in the halls that I don’t even know and am overwhelmed with the feeling that any one of these people would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it.
  5. Bags Fly Free – It just feels good to work for a Company that tries to do right by its Customers.
  6. The Freedom to move about the Company – I love that several of our VP’s began their careers on the frontline – loading bags, working the ticket counter, and servicing aircraft.
  7. On business trips with colleagues, I can look around the dinner table and think, “There’s no one else I’d rather be with right now.”
  8. Halloween – how many people can say they’ve seen their CEO in platform boots and a cod piece?
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  9. Having a team of Schedule Planners on hand to “optimize” our Halloween performance schedule.
  10. The view from the deck.
  11. Having a personal weather man to let you know when to head home or hunker down to avoid bad weather.
  12. Lunch in the cafeteria always feels like a high school reunion.
  13. The Button Man (sometimes known also as The Magnet Man) – because every Southwest event needs a souvenir.
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  14. Hearing the Southwest Choir practice in the atrium behind my office.
  15. Casual Dress.
  16. Hand-written notes from Colleen Barrett.
  17. Kisses from Herb Kelleher.
  18. That Warrior Spirit.
  19. Parties in the hanger.
  20. Rapping, singing, flipping, and beat-boxing Flight Attendants.
  21. Aviation bloggers and enthusiasts.
  22. Employee lanes at the airport.
  23. Eight percent 401k match.
  24. Best corporate blog three years running according to PR News (…and if I do say so myself).
  25. The Culture Committee.
  26. There is no shortage of peanuts or peanut references.
  27. There is never a dull moment.
  28. The Spirit Jr. Costume.
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  29. This photo.
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  30. Texas – From the hospitality to the maverick spirit, and all the folks that call you honey, sugar, and darling.
  31. Southwest swag – like the Southwest Airlines lint roller, the Cargo koozie with the crab arms (“we ship your catch”), the flip-flops that leave the Southwest logo imprinted in the sand, and the Southwest bike (one of these days, I’m gonna get my hands on one of those bikes).
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  32. Fred Taylor and Proactive Customer Service.
  33. Employees first, Customers next, Shareholder’s last.
  34. 36 years of profitability.
  35. Profit sharing.
  36. Free parking in the Employee lot at the airport. With the upcoming renovation of Dallas Love Field, this option in no longer available. And, technically, being that I wasn’t actually an airport Employee, I was never really supposed to park back there anyway. But, oh the good ole days! (NOTE: To the owners of the red Camero and the black Porsche that are still parked over there, you better move your cars ASAP or you’re gonna get towed!)
  37. Crazy email strings – Like the one a co-worker accidently sent to hundreds of people that revealed highly confidential information about a new city. Doh! Or the one that someone intended for a few friends, but accidently sent to the entire company, asking what they wanted her to pick up for a Bar-B-Que. Everyone responded. Not everyone thought it was funny. I think you know where I stand on this one. It still makes me giggle.
  38. Weekly emails from Carla looking for her missing mail cart (…I love you, girl!).
  39. Daily emails announcing that there is queso, Bar-B-Que, or birthday cake in the breakroom.
  40. Parking next to a Boeing 737.
  41. That new plane smell.
  42. Driving into work with the planes taking off on the runway along Denton Drive. Sometimes I want to race them, but the potholes and my less than favorable standing with the police always stop me.
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  43. Stuart Thomas’s abstract Halloween costume illustrating RASM and CASM.
  44. Countless “Wanna Get Away” moments – like the time I took a fly ball to the chin at the Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards softball game and had to come to work for a week with a black and blue goatee. Or the time that I split my pants from seam to seam and walked around all day in chaps. Or the time I walked into a plate glass window escorting Jim Wimberly to a photo shoot.
  45. The joy of looking up someone’s phone number in the online Company Directory and discovering a ridiculous employee photo.
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  46. The “no drinking before 5p” rule.
  47. The Freedom to be yourself – In 2002, while working in the Customer Relations Department, I went nearly three months without washing my hair, just for fun. In the third month, my supervisor called me in to his office and gently suggested that I may want to “keep our Customers in mind.” I love that it took that long.
  48. Secret project codewords like Sockeye, Wyatt ERP and Tipper.
  49. The crossword puzzle in Spirit Magazine.
  50. Brainstorming sessions in the Magic Factory.
  51. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride from Headquarters to Dallas Love Field on the Southwest shuttle bus.
  52. On any given day you might see a live Texas longhorn, NBA Legend Bill Walton, the Stanley Cup, or a margarita machine on campus.
  53. The Southwest cans of water. I mean really…how cute are these things!
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  54. Doug Lawson – our resident “Viv Engineer” who, among other things, studies the movements and behavioral patters of animals (like ants, bees, and herds) and applies that knowledge to algorithms that make our airport operations more intuitive and efficient.
  55. Linda Rutherford – without Linda, there would be no blog and no Emerging Media Team.
  56. License plate frames that say “my other car is a Southwest 737.”
  57. Bob Jordan’s Mustache.
  58. Sitting on a plane and listening to the folks around you talk about how much they love Southwest Airlines.
  59. Amazing people like Bill Owen, Anne Hancock, Brian Lusk, and Carole Adams, who, for me, will always epitomize the Spirit of Southwest.
  60. Dallas Love Field – just 15 minutes from my apartment to the gate.
  61. Lunch at the PR table.
  62. The view from the window seat.
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  63. Getting a thumbs’ up from Gary.
  64. Chetto Drafts in the Landing.
  65. James Tibbons and this video.
  66. The Southwest Communications Department – I’ve spent nearly every work day for the past six years with the same group of people. They know me as well or better than anyone, and they have loved me, nonetheless.
  67. My very good friends, who have taken care of me when I was sick, had me at their homes for holidays, allowed me to loaf on their couches when I didn’t have a television or a home, and were on call to bail me out of jail if I were ever arrested.
  68. Bloody Marys on a plane – they’re just better up there.

Much LUV, my friends.

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Comments

  1. paula berg

    Aw…thanks for sharing guys! I haven’t read this list since I created it in December, but reading it now really makes me smile, as I’m sure it will for years to come! Leaving Southwest was no easy decision. I was there for nearly 10 years, I love the company and everything it stands for, and my colleagues were (and still are) more than just friends. For me, this list captures a very special time in my life and, I hope, the spirit of this very special company.

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