During the early days of the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, the team at Southwest had to quickly pivot to provide Customers with more flexibility.
Two of those quick pivots involved a one-time extension on travel funds to a date further in the future. Another pivot allowed Customers with those extended funds to perform a one-time and temporary conversion of travel funds to points.
It was quite amazing to be leading the team at this point as we pivoted and adjusted in a speed which I had previously not seen. Within a few days a solution was designed with feedback from Customer research to develop a fully automated travel funds to points converter. That solution was being contemporaneously developed by the engineering team. Our product management team did quick roadmap delays and swaps, along with all of the requisite stakeholder management, to give the engineering team time to focus on building out the new converter tool.
The team jumped on scope management to make choices and tradeoffs that worked for the short and long term. As an example, we needed to choose which storefront we would offer this feature. We typically try to offer features across all storefronts and device types in our desktop web, mobile web, iOS app, and Android app experiences. In this case, getting the feature in our Customer’s hands was the most urgent priority. Thus, we chose to add the feature only in our desktop platform and provide simple links in our other stores. We also chose to use our brand new My Account technical platform, which had been under development but not yet launched. We used this platform to host the feature and also prove out this new design system.
It all came together swimmingly and was so fun to see the entire team in action working together. We took out all the normal, but needed checkpoints, that help but sometimes also slow down highly cross-functional initiatives. We all just jumped in and made it happen to do the right thing for the Customer at a pivotal moment in the Company’s history.
The feature was up from Aug 10, 2020 to Dec 15, 2020. In that short time over a million funds were converted to billions of points.