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4 Ways Airlines Can Improve Customer Service To Stand Out From Competition

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The airline industry is extremely competitive. The intensity of competition is likely to increase in the coming year as airlines confront the impact of travel fears and restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. To stand out, airlines must focus on achieving great customer satisfaction and loyalty from passengers. Here are several things airlines should be doing to promote a happy and loyal customer base.

Tailor the Experience

Every customer is unique. Airlines that understand this and tailor the customer experience to individual preferences and needs will be more successful than a one size fits all approach. Giving customers what they want involves analyzing data airlines already have and conducting further research to understand their needs. First-time flyers might require more assistance than seasoned travelers. The business traveler has different preferences and needs than a family. Requirements of elderly travelers are different from a young adult. Airlines with international service must consider global and cultural variations in expectations. Preferences may even vary depending upon the type of trip an individual is taking.

Tailoring the retail customer experience for each traveler will build strong, loyal relationships. Airlines can use technology to leverage information about their customers and provide personalized and consistent experiences. Make customer data profiles accessible to employees throughout the travel process. Offer personalized incentives and perks to match customer profiles and preferences, such as a discount birthday flight, or specific deals for a destination they favor. Personalized customer service might involve remembering seat or drink preferences, providing specific in-flight entertainment options, or simply speaking to passengers by name. Airlines can customize communications depending on whether individuals prefer email, text message, phone call or website delivery.

Hire Employees That Put Customers First

A significant part of great customer service involves making sure employees understand the importance of the goal and what it takes to achieve it. Airline staff need to be friendly people who will make high quality customer service a priority. If employees are rude, unprofessional or unwilling to help passengers, people will take their business elsewhere. Airline management must ensure employees are happy and fulfilled in their jobs. Otherwise, their unhappiness and negative attitude will eventually impact customer dealings. The flight staff probably spend the most amount of time with customers. Maintaining cabin safety and security is a key responsibility during a flight, but the attendants also have a valuable role representing the airline with their on-board service. Passengers will remember the quality of service they receive from cabin crew during flight and whether good or bad these impressions will help determine a customer’s likelihood of returning to fly on the same airline again.

Focus on Customers From Beginning to End

Customer service begins at the first interaction with your company and continues through the entire process. Good service should be a part of every step, including purchasing tickets on the airline’s website or mobile app, checking in at the airport, waiting at the gate, during the flight, making connections and follow-up after travel. Make sure the guest feels welcome from the beginning and has the best experience possible during flight. Follow-up afterwards to get their impressions of the experience and what might have made it better. Good, attentive service that tells customers their happiness is important to the airline will prevent minor inconveniences from becoming major incidences. Self-service is now a big part of the travel experience, so make sure your software and apps provide seamless transactions. Nothing is foolproof, but minimize opportunities for frustration with your booking site, airport kiosk or e-ticket boarding, and you will be more likely to have satisfied return customers.

Recognize the Power of Social Media

Do not underestimate the power of social media these days. Most people share their impressions of everything on social media, including airline experiences. Social media can be a double-edged sword. Word travels fast. A bad experience may result in a negative social media post, with rippling effects that do major damage to the company’s brand. However, one glowing customer post can provide an effective positive marketing campaign.

Good customer service is important in any retail industry, but in the intense competitive air travel environment it is crucial to success. It is not only important to meet customer expectations, but airlines must go beyond and provide personalized service so passengers will remember the great experience.

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