Airline Customer Experience
There’s no doubt that the airline industry is big business. Flyers spend about $750B annually to move around by this efficient mode of transportation. Yes, that’s ¾ of a trillion dollars and it’s spread out over more than 3 billion passenger journeys. Beyond these staggering numbers, the industry has faced some key consolidations (United & Continental, American & US Airways, and Delta & Northwest, for example), seen some new entrants, like Baltia, and found a thriving niche: the value carrier (Allegiant, Spirit, Alaska and Southwest).
It’s easy for the flyers to feel lost in all of the big business of the airline industry, and some opportunistic airlines are taking advantage of that sentiment.
Exploiting the Situation
There has been a fair amount of consumer backlash to the monetization of airline services that used to be free, from soda to seat selection to baggage. In the face of this dissatisfaction, and while many airlines are focused on dollars and cents (to consumers, it feels like nickels and dimes), some airlines are exploiting the situation by turning an ear to the voice of the customer. Smart airlines are implementing customer experience programs to continually listen to their flyers and show them they care.
Customer Experience as Marketing
Beyond simply listening, we’re seeing the trend of airlines using their customer experience program as a marketing vehicle. It’s easy for flyers to feel like a number, given the economics of the business. Because of this, it’s also easy to stand out from the crowd when you show you care. When you show that you care, you make a stronger emotional connection and you give customers another reason to stay with you. Caring drives loyalty.
Multiple Flyer Touchpoints
The customer journey of the flyer is unique, but not too dissimilar from other industries. For many flyers, their initial customer experience touch point is when they purchase the ticket on the web or by phone. Next, they typically open the mobile app or go to the website to check in for the flight. Then, they arrive at the airport to check in, check bags, and eventually wait at the gate. Finally, they have the in-flight experience. Occasionally, there is an additional touch point if they need to call the airline for a service issue. Any successful airline customer experience program will include opportunities for feedback across 2 or more of these touch points: Airport Operations, In-Flight Experience, Call Center, Internet, and Mobile. This aligns with a previous blog I wrote on how to map the customer journey with your customer experience program.
Quite a few airlines use QuestionPro to hear from their customers. If you’d like to learn more about how QuestionPro can help you implement a world-class Customer Experience solution, visit us here: http://www.questionpro.com/cx/