Stop for a moment and reflect on the last time you traveled by plane. For many, this conjures up poor memories of lost luggage, unappetizing in-flight meals or the toddler behind you kicking your seat. For the most part, trips that require air travel are considered a hassle, which is why many airlines are looking to reinvent themselves.
The industry as a whole is shifting from a focus on transportation to one that’s all about hospitality. Case in point, over the last two years, airlines in North America have seen their satisfaction ratings rise, and 2015 is proving to be no exception. According to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, overall satisfaction is at a record-high 717 out of a possible 1,000 points. The key drivers for the improvement were credited as flight crews, in-flight services and cost.
To keep the positive momentum going, here are three ways you can increase customer satisfaction for your airline that you may not have considered:
- Use mobile apps: For airlines, in-flight services begin at check-in. According to the study named above, some of the lowest satisfaction ratings were given by Generation Zers—those individuals younger than millennials. Given their known lust for technology, your airline would be smart to create an app that could win over the unhappy Gen Z audience. An app that allowed customers to check-in, upgrade seats and display their boarding pass could make one of the most frustrating parts of travel—actually getting to your terminal—that much easier. Also, given that many airplanes now include Wi-Fi, an app like this could be integrated with in-flight services, allowing customers to place drink and food orders and request other services.
- Listen to customer data: Airlines may be tracking customer data, but are they listening to what it has to say? Unless you have an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) solution, your customer data could be sitting in a number of disparate systems. By integrating these systems, you can gain clearer insights into who is flying with you and create better relationships with them. Then, for instance, if a particular customer only watches sports channels, opts for the vegetarian menu and always rides in coach, you can tailor the flight experience to him or her.
- Optimize your flight crew: Flight attendants can truly make or break the customer experience on an airline. Make their lives easier by implementing a workforce optimization Use it to close scheduling holes, allow for scheduling transparency, and reduce non-job-function chaos. The result: Well-rested and happy flight crews that will make customers feel right at home while cruising at an altitude of xxx.
At the end of the day, customers just want a flight experience that is as simple as checking into a hotel room. By implementing these three suggestions, your airline can start to make the transition from transportation to hospitality, too.