How Spirit Airlines’ CEO turned defeat into victory

Ranked dead last in customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports, CEO Ben Baldanza went on the offensive in a series of focused, on-point media interviews.

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We’ve posted many good interviews through the years—but since there’s such interest in the topic, I wanted to post one of my favorites, a May 2013 interview with Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza.

At the time, his airline had been ranked last in customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports. Few executives want to go on television to defend such a dismal ranking—but Baldanza appeared energized by the challenge.

Here’s the clip, followed by five things Baldanza did well.

He was on message

According to the old saying, the three most important things in real estate are location, location and location. Baldanza was equally clear in his messaging regarding what matters to his customers: price, price and price. It’s clear that he knows his target audience—travelers who are willing to put up with the indignities of travel in exchange for saving money.

Just check out his first three answers, in which he mentions price (or fares) seven times:

Charlie Rose, CBS “This Morning” anchor: So when you know that you’re at the bottom of the list, do you simply say to them, “I don’t care, my planes are full?”

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