Meet Chantelle: Queen of Customer Service (and how she got that title)


Anyone who does not love the Luv Airline, well, their love transmitter is busted. You road warriors know I'm talking about Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir). 

I had a thing that I could not handle on their website today. So, I called customer service and waited, and waited, and waited (5 minutes) and reached...wait, really?...a LIVE HUMAN BEING PERSON!

(the crowd goes wild) 

You know how you get a vibe from somebody? Even on the phone, you just kinda get this feeling that they're having a bad day, great day, nice person, stiff old goat, whatever? Well, this person, whose name I have permission to tell you is Chantelle, was sending out positive vibes. And I mean that to be heard in the coolest late 1960s, Donald Sutherland voice you can imagine: Positive Vibes, man.

It was so clear that she made my day better, and my day was dang good already. Chantelle handled my issue easier than I can swallow a slice of chocolate pie. She was professional, courteous, all that, but there was something else in her voice. So, naturally, I asked about it.

She closed with the standard script: Sir, is there anything else I may help you with today?

And I said, Yes. You know, there are two things really. First, I did not write down your name, and I'd like to know it.


Chantelle, I've been dealing with Southwest since forever. Without a doubt, y'all are the top to bottom friendliest company I've dealt with over all these years. And you, ma'am, you are the best.

Aw, well, thank you.

Aw, nothing. I've read Mr. Kelleher's book. I know you hire for attitude, train well, have a fun company culture, all that. I know about the stock returns. I know that one of the sweetest little sisters of my college fraternity has worked for y'all since she graduated college at age 11, and she says all good things (smiling at you, Leslie). But I have a question for you.

Okay, I'm here to help.

You must have some angry, even nasty callers. How do you stay up when someone tries to take you down? 

Oh. Well, thank you. Um (10 second pause), well, it's really just because I know how energy translates. 

[Picture me, listening, with stunned face plastered on like Geisha makeup.]

I know that I might have a bad call. In fact, my last caller was real mad. But if I take all that in, my energy will drop and I'll send the wrong tone to the next caller. 

I think of it like sometimes I'm the customer, and I've had that customer service call where the agent isn't as nice or as helpful as I wanted them to be, and it made me feel worse. I may not be able to do what everyone wants but I can be nice. 

And there we have it ladies and gentlemen. Chantelle, Queen of Customer Service and really smart lady. She understands that it's not about her, it's about the caller with a problem. It's about smiling, choosing to focus on good stuff, being nice, and creating your own reality. You read that right.

Dang, y'all, this lady works on a phone in customer service all flippin' day. I called at 4:00pm ON A FRIDAY, and she was so sweet I wanted to set her up on a date with my son. (Chantelle, if you are reading this, my son is a mountain climbing, emergency room PA in a city served by SWA, so...) (Son, if you're reading this, shut up, I'm trying to do you a huge favor.)

I know absolutely nothing else about Chantelle, but if she has a significant other, that is one lucky S.O. And if she has kids, they will be well adjusted and happy and not dreaming that their real mama is someone else cause the mama who tucks them in at night is a boss. 

So, reader, now you know why your wait time on a call to Southwest Airlines is five minutes instead of three. More importantly, how's your energy?