I wanted to provide you all with an update on how things are going since we launched the All-New Rapid Rewards program last week. To say it’s been a crazy past week and a half is an understatement, and I know you all have experienced and expressed your frustrations with the launch of the new program and the challenges we have faced with the rollout.
If we were a sports team, you could say that we’ve been in a slump the last week and a half. It happens to even the best teams, and when it comes to Customer Service and meeting and exceeding our Customers’ expectations, I feel that Southwest is the best in the game. Like a slumping sports team, we have heard all about it from our fans, which is to be expected and certainly fair. The truth is we haven’t lived up to our standards or expectations for delivering Customer Service this past week and a half. For that, we sincerely apologize. I can tell you that we have been working around the clock to recover and get back to our winning ways. We are seeing improvements, and each day is better than the one before.
One of the biggest challenges we have experienced, that we know has a bigger impact on you, is our higher than normal call volumes, as well as unusually high e-mail inquiries. Unfortunately, that has meant that your wait time to speak to someone has been longer than normal, and at times, you have been unable to get through. Likewise, it has taken us longer to respond to your e-mails. Fortunately, we have seen steady improvements since the launch, and we are hoping to be back to the level of Customer Service you expect from us soon. Please trust me when I tell you that we do have all hands on deck working around the clock to answer your calls and e-mails. Combined, our Customer Service Representatives have worked thousands of hours of overtime, and we have brought in temporary Employees to help.
Additionally, as with anything new, there is a learning curve to becoming familiar with the changes on the web site, so our Members naturally have questions about where to find certain features and how to navigate the site, which can be frustrating. We know there is opportunity for making the new account screens more intuitive so you can more easily find your information. A few of these have already been implemented, and we continue to work on further enhancements. Last week, we posted a blog and video with answers to some frequently asked questions about how to navigate the web site, so I encourage you to check that out if you haven’t already.
With regard to functionality on southwest.com, most all functionality is working as designed. Yes, we are still experiencing a few bugs here and there, and we have only one main outstanding issue we are working diligently to address. Members who are using Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) are unable to login to their account. We are aware of this issue and are working to fix it as soon as we possibly can. I’m including a link to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 if you are interested in upgrading: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/worldwide-sites.aspx, and again, we are working to fix this on our end as quickly as we can so that those with IE6 can login to their accounts.
Again, we are seeing improvements across all fronts, and we are working as hard and fast as we can to get back on track. We know you expect a lot from Southwest Airlines, and we’re sorry we haven’t been able to live up to your (or our) expectations.