Of course I had to pause. This was the airline that had completely wrecked so many people's travel plans -- and had even caused CNBC's Jim Cramer to scream at its CEO that clearly Southwest hadn't invested remotely enough in technology.
Now it's trying to get its customers to act as its corporate sales agents?
Why would Southwest customers want to recommend the airline to companies? Wouldn't the customer stop and think: "Southwest would likely make a lot of money out of corporate business. And it wants to give me 25,000 points to help them secure it? Right now?"
Imagine the conversation between a customer and, say, a friend who's also CEO of a company:
"Hey, I really, really think you should book Southwest for all your corporate travel."
"I really think you should visit a medical professional."
At the core of this begging is that Southwest has lagged behind the likes of United and American when it comes to corporate business.
Still, you might think Southwest could at least acknowledge its recent shortcomings in this sales email. But no.
The rest of the email was a host of terms and conditions. Sample: "Use the form linked below to refer each company's travel decision maker to Southwest Business. You could receive 25,000 bonus points for each company that completes the referral process, with the possibility of earning up to 125,000 bonus points."
Ah, the tantalizing lure of possibility. The possibility of your flight taking off, for example.
One can understand, of course, that Southwest wants to act as if it's business as usual.
Sometimes, though, it's worth pausing that notion in favor of considering the direction in which your customers' heads may currently be pointing and reacting appropriately to that.
I fear too many heads aren't quite yet in the mood to say wonderful things about Southwest -- especially to corporate travel decision makers.