How to Improve Airline Customer Experience | Khoros (2023)

  • Marketing
  • Digital Care

by Phil Garbrecht | May 30, 2019

The airline industry is a staple in modern society, but this hasn’t prevented airlines from experiencing intense competition and declining profitability in recent years. This means that airlines need to market their brands effectively in order to survive.

The first area an airline should look to improve is their customer experience. According to Forrester, airlines leave as much as $1.4 billion on the table each year by failing to improve their customer experience.

But how can airlines improve their customer experience? One solution is social monitoring.

In this blog, we’ll take you through not only what you need to do to improve your airline’s customer experience, but also how to achieve this through effective social media management.

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Three ways to improve your airline’s customer experience

1. Take a passenger-first approach

Stop focusing on yourself, and focus on your customers instead. To create a passenger-first approach as part of your airline’s customer experience strategy, follow these five steps:

(Video) Airports, Airlines, Duty Free - How to Improve Customer Experience

  1. Interact in a friendly, authentic, and personalized way.

  2. Listen to the customer's unique situation and acknowledge their needs.

  3. Give real-time, accurate information that empowers the customer to make decisions.

  4. Go beyond the customer's service expectations so they will remember and share their great experience.

  5. Remember the customer's preferences and anticipate their future needs.

Don’t make customers repeat themselves.

Customers do not want to repeat their issue or personal information, such as their confirmation or frequent flyer number, over and over every time they’re handed off to a new agent or department. In a survey we conducted, 62% of customers want to engage with brands across several digital channels and 77% of customers want brands’ internal teams to collaborate so they don’t have to repeat themselves in these scenarios.

The key to providing personalized customer experiences in the airline industry is case ownership. This requires airlines to use a social media management tool that integrates with a CRM and maintains detailed customer histories and assigns cases rather than posts. This setup ensures that when agents have to pass along a customer, that customer’s information is readily accessible by the next agent.

If your airline’s customer experience management platform or tools don’t enable agents to track and share interactions across channels — request a demo of our platform to learn how we can help improve your customer experience.

2. Effectively support customers on the platform of their choice

Breaking free from silos also applies to social media platforms. Customers are in control of where communications happen, and they expect to be served in the digital channel of their choice. Whether they prefer to reach out through Twitter DMs, mobile messaging, or an online community, every interaction should be seamless.

(Video) 2021 customer experience strategies (new study)

For example, onboard a JetBlue Airways flight, instead of venting to the flight crew, a customer tweeted @JetBlue that his TV wasn’t working.

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The digital customer service team responded within minutes and attempted to troubleshoot the problem. When it couldn’t be fixed, they offered the customer a credit for the malfunction. Had they gone a step further, JetBlue Airways could have made a good experience even better by working with the flight crew behind the scenes to coordinate a seat change for the dissatisfied customer.

It’s important to remember an airline’s customer experience involves every interaction between customers and the brand before, during, and after their flight. As part of your airline’s customer experience strategy, encourage collaboration between service agents and other employees for the best possible customer experience.

Listen, then talk

Customers expect to be served in their digital channel of choice, often in real-time. Monitor all brand conversations across social channels, not just when your brand’s handle is used. When global traveler Lars Silberbauer tagged his departure and arrival airports mentioning that his Samsonite luggage was destroyed, he was very impressed that Samsonite joined in on the conversation offering to help. “By doing that they have definitely made sure that I will remain a loyal customer for the next many years,” said Silberbauer.

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Furthermore, the response Silberbauer received from both airlines also affected his views of each.

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Copenhagen Airport was empathetic and showed genuine concern about the issue through a personalized response, while Heathrow Airport provided a more scripted response that was technically correct but showed a lack of care for the customer. Silberbauer notes that while he didn’t expect either airline to fix his issue, the interaction dissuaded him from flying with Heathrow Airport in the future.

The takeaway here is that airlines should closely monitor digital channels to identify upset customers, and when issues occur agents should respond with a prompt, personalized response that shows genuine concern for the customer.

3. Foster collaboration across internal departments

A closer bond between marketing and customer service is critical for an airline’s success. According to Forrester, collaboration is required to leverage learnings and to provide a cohesive digital experience for customers. But it shouldn’t end there. When there is an open dialogue between customer service and other departments, both the customer and the company win.

KLM understands the importance of customer feedback for product and service innovations.

(Video) Airlines make changes to improve customer experience

When an employee noticed that a lot of people were asking about social media payments, that person reached out directly to KLM’s IT team to see if it was feasible. The result? A new social media payment tool which now takes in over 4 million euros a year in sales.

Leverage team collaboration tools

The best way to improve your airline’s customer experience is by utilizing feedback directly from customers. However, brands often struggle to share and organize customer feedback from across channels.

As part of your customer experience strategy, utilize a unified engagement hub that seamlessly connects customer interactions from several channels. Beyond improving service agent efficiency, this data will also be easier to analyze so your brand can utilize it for strategic decisions.

Choose a customer experience management platform, like the one offered by Khoros, to bring together marketing, customer service, and other parts of the organization. Manage integrated campaigns with the same calendar of events; share customer profiles, social posts, emails, and digital tactics; and execute better experiences together.

Why is social media monitoring important for airlines?

Brands have a tendency to put social media into its own departmental silo, sometimes with disastrous effects. On the operational side, silos reduce efficiency, waste resources, and hurt productivity. Even worse, they impact customers by preventing brands from providing consistent service at every touchpoint in the consumer’s buying journey.

Between ads, social platforms, websites, and blogs, the path to purchase has become increasingly fragmented, but customers still expect consistency from brands. This is not easy when, on average, large brands have 55 active social media accounts managed by 45 employees. So how does a large brand like an airline manage multiple social media accounts across different departments while maintaining a seamless digital customer experience? Read on to learn how, and read How To Defend Your Airline's Brand In The Age Of Customer Scrutiny for additional airline service insight.

Tap into expertise

When a frontline team can use a social media monitoring tool to share customer conversations across an organization and pull in the right resources quickly and efficiently, they will be able to deliver a high-quality customer experience. By tapping into subject matter experts across an organization to assist with issues, agents can provide more complete responses in less time, ultimately driving higher satisfaction ratings.

Drive smart decisions through data

Harness the power of customer data by putting it in the hands of the right people, at the right moment, at every touchpoint. One of the best applications for effectively using data is to provide customized deals that are targeted and relevant to each customer. KLM takes data-driven offers one step further by putting social data back in the hands of their passengers. In an attempt to make the friendly skies even friendlier, KLM’s Meet & Seat program lets travelers opt to pick who they sit next to based on details from their social media profiles after they purchase a ticket.

(Video) Airline Customer Experience: Touchpoints & Journey Mapping by Jörg Troester

Airline digital and social media strategy tips

Honeymooners on their way to a picturesque destination. Families reuniting with their loved ones. Children taking their very first flights. These compelling moments occur on airlines across the world every day. On social media, airline brands have the unique ability to build bonds with customers by appealing to these important life moments. However, this doesn’t mean posting the digital equivalent of travel brochures.

Today’s customers are looking to develop more personal connections through social media and for a better digital customer experience as a whole. But very few airlines are engaging deeply with their customers across channels; instead, they are relying on random one-off posts to broadcast their messages. With these four tips, you can drive brand loyalty for your airline by building deeper relationships with customers.

1. Engage in a variety of ways

Ask questions, post polls, host contests, and provide interactive content. Copenhagen Airport is on the cutting edge of customer engagement with its augmented reality location-based app. The app is designed to help users navigate its terminals and was one of the world’s first indoor AR applications.

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2. Embrace video

Rather than only investing in big-budget productions, create bite-sized videos that speak specifically to a custom audience. Videos are also an innovative and effective approach to humanizing your brand during a crisis. Southwest Airlines did just this with a special Mother’s Day post:

Gwen, a Station Manager in Little Rock, was celebrating all the moms in the gate area when she heard an announcement that caught her by surprise...#HappyMothersDay pic.twitter.com/F9X49aOJXr

— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) May 12, 2019

3. Get to know your target audiences

Personalization comes with insight and awareness of your customers' likes, dislikes, needs, and desires. Inflight internet company Gogo recommends leveraging customer insights gleaned from social interactions to have fun with customers. For example, when an in-flight customer vented, “On a @Gogo connection so slow, it can’t support Morse Code,” a member of the social care team responded to apologize in Morse Code, eliciting a positive reaction from the customer:

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4. Leverage the power of the crowd

Drive questions to an online community or self-service knowledge base. At London Gatwick, screens within the terminals display the airport’s live Twitter feed. This high visibility allowed passengers and guests to answer one another’s tweets, in addition to customer service agents. With peer-to-peer support, your customers will gain knowledge and insight while getting advice from those they trust most — other customers. As an added bonus, this type of support is the most affordable way to satisfy customer inquiries.

Deliver a first class customer experience

Customers are loyal to experiences, not brands. Creating an awesome end-to-end digital customer experience with a passenger-first approach is a proven tactic for building and fostering sustainable relationships. For more on how the best airlines deliver excellent experiences on social media in the age of customer scrutiny, download our playbook.


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(Video) How Great Customer Experiences Keep JetBlue Soaring

FAQs

How can you improve the overall customer experience? ›

7 ways to improve the customer experience
  1. Create a clear customer experience vision. ...
  2. Understand who your customers are. ...
  3. Create an emotional connection with your customers. ...
  4. Capture customer feedback in real time. ...
  5. Use a quality framework for development of your team. ...
  6. Act upon regular employee feedback.
10 Oct 2022

How can I improve my flight experience? ›

The 10 Best Tricks for Improving Your Flight Experience
  1. Let Hopper's New iOS App Do Your Flight Shopping for You.
  2. There Are Still Free Things on a Plane. ...
  3. You Might Not Need to Pay for Wi-Fi. ...
  4. Be Nice and Smile. ...
  5. Get Some Passable Sleep with an Eyemask. ...
  6. Try To Get an Entire Row with a Friend. ...

What are the factors that determine the customer experience of an airport? ›

Based on ACI World's Airport Service Quality programme, the most important drivers of satisfaction are the airport ambience, the discretionary time including food and beverage, retail areas and the entertainment activities including the Wi-Fi, the security process and, of course, the human factor.

Why customer experience is important in airline industry? ›

Good customer service helps increase the company's revenue by building a sense of trust between the company and its passengers. This allows customers to keep choosing the same airline company.

What can be improved in airlines? ›

Here are three ways to improve the way your airline operates.
  • Aircraft Interior Products. Installing high quality aircraft interior products in your airplanes can really take your airline to the next level. ...
  • Better Customer Service. ...
  • Follow-up With Passengers.

What are the 3 keys to winning the customer experience? ›

Organizations that provide good internal customer service:

Listen and try to understand the concerns and demands of one another. Have clear communication channels for communicating product and business process information. Speak to one another courteously and respectfully.

What are three 3 actions you would take to improve the customer support experience? ›

How to improve customer service
  • Strengthen your customer service skills. ...
  • Look at every touchpoint. ...
  • Improve your customer interactions. ...
  • Enhance your customer service strategy. ...
  • Make sure your reps are engaged. ...
  • Give your customers a way to provide feedback.

What are the 7 qualities of good customer service? ›

7 Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep
  • Problem-Solving Skills. The number one skill you need to excel in for good customer service is problem-solving. ...
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Friendly Attitude. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Business Acumen. ...
  • Product/Service Knowledge. ...
  • Strong Time Management.

How can airline industry improve customer satisfaction? ›

5 Ways to Improve Your Airline's Customer Experience
  1. Experience and Service price. ...
  2. A positive resolution to customers problem. ...
  3. Omnichannel experience=Increase in brand loyalty. ...
  4. Understand your customer. ...
  5. Provide the best tools to your customer service agents.
28 Oct 2021

How can airline industry increase customer satisfaction? ›

Build Relationships With Your Customers
  1. Take a passenger-first approach.
  2. Focus on knowing your target audiences.
  3. Always listen, then talk.
  4. Meet specific and unique customer needs.
  5. Engage customers in a variety of ways.
  6. Create a bond with them throughout the entire journey.
  7. Make smart customer-targetted decisions based on data.

How you ensure customer loyalty and satisfaction for an airline industry? ›

It's important that customers have an excellent experience every time they travel. On-time flights, good in-flight entertainment, more (and better) snacks, and more legroom might be the obvious contributors to a good experience and more loyalty.

What is airline customer experience? ›

Customer experience in the airline industry is often defined as what the customer perceives and experiences while traveling through the different departure stages and arrival in an airport.

What are the four factors that directly influence customers service experiences? ›

The customer's level of adequate service is influenced by five factors: (1) transitory service intensifiers, (2) perceived service alternatives, (3) customer self-perceived service roles, (3) situational factors, and (4) predicted service.

What are the 4 influential factors that attract customers? ›

In general, there are four factors that influence consumer behaviour. These factors impact whether or not your target customer buys your product. They are cultural, social, personal and psychological.

What is the importance of 4 P's in airlines? ›

An airline marketing strategy is an overall business plan that aims to reach prospective consumers and turn them into customers of the services as well as keep existing customers engaged. When systematically planned, the strategy covers the four P's of marketing – product, price, place, and promotion.

What are three skills required for airline industry? ›

10 transferable skills you learn in the airline industry
  • Tech skills. Those in the air transport industry are some of the most adept at technological advances. ...
  • Interpersonal skills. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Crisis management. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Problem-solving skills. ...
  • Safety skills.
29 Nov 2021

What do customers want from airlines? ›

After all, almost everyone would prefer more legroom, better service, a more pleasant boarding experience, and free high speed Wi-Fi on every flight. I certainly prefer JetBlue when flying basic economy for both the legroom and seatback DIRECTV.

What is the most important thing for airlines? ›

1. Customer Service. Great customer service is an absolute must in order to achieve passenger satisfaction and loyalty amongst customers.

What makes a modern airline successful? ›

These are: product rating; safety rating; passenger reviews; fleet age; operating profit; does the airline have premium economy; does it have flat beds in business class; investment grade rating; environmental report; industrial issues; serious incidents; is the airline an innovator and must be a top 50 airline.

What are the 4 pillars of the essential customer experience? ›

He also spends much of his time working with his clients to optimize the 4 CX Success Pillars -- Team, Tools, Process & Feedback!

What are the 5 basic customer needs? ›

Now that we understand what customer needs are, let's show you the 5 main customer needs to serve:
  • Price points.
  • convenience.
  • sustainability.
  • transparency.
  • control and options.
11 Jun 2021

What are the 5 Steps to Success for good customer service? ›

5 Steps to Customer Service Glory
  • Be Genuine: Personalize the Conversation. ...
  • Be Accountable: Don't Pass the Buck. ...
  • Be Empathetic: Listen, Acknowledge, Validate & Apologize. ...
  • Be Innovative: Provide Solutions. ...
  • Be Trustworthy: Never Make Impossible Promises.
9 Feb 2010

What are the 4 P's that improve customer service? ›

Promptness, Politeness, Professionalism and Personalization: these 4 characteristics are the key ingredients to any successful service interaction, and when you think about it, they are the basics you expect to receive as a consumer.

What 8 skills are needed in customer service situations? ›

The 8 Most Important Skills For Customer Service
  • Empathy. What exactly is empathy in the context of customer service? ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Clear Communications. ...
  • Knowledge of the Product. ...
  • Keep Language Positive. ...
  • Read Between the Lines. ...
  • Quick Learning. ...
  • Ability to Close.
4 Dec 2019

What are the 4 tips for making your customer happy? ›

How to Make Your Customers Happy
  • Below are 4 tips for making your customers happy.
  • Effective Communication. Be attentive; Listen to feedback and take notes to make sure you understand what your customer wants. ...
  • Take Responsibility. A successful entrepreneur ensures that every job is done the right. ...
  • Be Kind. ...
  • Be Consistent.
16 Aug 2013

What are the 5 C's of customer service? ›

Compensation, Culture, Communication, Compassion, Care

Our team at VIPdesk Connect compiled the 5 C's that make up the perfect recipe for customer service success.

What are the 5 A's in customer service? ›

The 5 A's: Apologize, Acknowledge, Appreciate, Act, Audit. Apologize to the customer: If the customer is calling and they are upset, the first thing you should do is apologize.

What tool do airlines use to measure customer satisfaction? ›

The airline passenger satisfaction survey is an in-depth feedback questionnaire that an airline sends to its passenger to collect feedback about the flying experience.

What are three strategies you can use to develop client loyalty? ›

Here are six ways to build customer loyalty for a business.
  • Stay in touch with customers through multiple channels. ...
  • Show that you know the customer. ...
  • Capture and take advantage of customer feedback. ...
  • Show appreciation with a loyalty program. ...
  • Stay relevant to the customer. ...
  • Know your numbers and measure them often.
23 Nov 2021

What are the five factors of customer loyalty? ›

5 Key Factors That Drive Customer Loyalty
  • Consistently Great Products. This may seem obvious, but providing a quality product to your customer is the first step to earning their long-term business. ...
  • The Little Extras. You've got the basics down, now what? ...
  • Personalized Customer Service. ...
  • Community. ...
  • Listening to Feedback.
9 Jul 2019

What methods is effective in promoting customer loyalty? ›

7 Basic Techniques to Increase Customer Loyalty
  • Make the Experience Enjoyable. ...
  • Prioritize Relationship-Building. ...
  • Practice the Virtue of Patience. ...
  • Be Open to Recommending Competitors. ...
  • Offer Convenience. ...
  • Listen to Your Customers. ...
  • Demonstrate Shared Values.
13 Nov 2015

What is enhanced customer experience? ›

Customer Experience Enhancement means looking at each step in the customer experience to determine how to manage the experience at each customer touchpoint. Just as important, it means evaluating the transitions between touchpoints.

What is an example of customer experience? ›

You can create a personalized customer experience example by sending unique gifts and products to your clients. It cultivates customer loyalty and wins over customer trust. Usually, it's pretty hard to know the interests of a first-time customer.

What factors affect airline customer satisfaction? ›

In most cases, airline customer satisfaction is most deeply affected by customer service and complaint management. Travel is stressful, and a problem with customer service can lead to very poor airline customer satisfaction ratings even if the trip itself is comfortable and free from delays.

What are the top 3 most important elements of high customer satisfaction? ›

The three major factors that affect modern customer satisfaction can be categorized as customer perceived quality, value, and service. By harnessing these factors, you are able to provide positive, consistent customer experiences and create true customer loyalty.

What are the 3 most important aspects of customer service? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

What improves customer satisfaction? ›

Responding to customer feedback increases satisfaction because it shows customers that you listen to what they have to say about your business instead of simply seeing them as a name on a receipt. You take interest in their thoughts about your business, and you interact with them as well.

What are the six strategies to attract customers? ›

The following six strategies will help you attract and keep customers.
  • Offer quality products. Good quality is the most important reason cited by consumers for buying directly from farmers. ...
  • Cultivate good people skills. ...
  • Know your customers. ...
  • Use attractive packaging. ...
  • Let customers try samples. ...
  • Be willing to change.

What are the 3 most effective methods to reach your best customers? ›

8 Simple Ways to Reach out to Your Customers
  • Know your audience. ...
  • Provide consistent customer experience. ...
  • Invest in Content Marketing. ...
  • Take advantage of customers' testimonials. ...
  • Set up a referral program. ...
  • Stay connected via newsletter. ...
  • Listen to your customers' feedback. ...
  • Demonstrate your products or services.
23 Jun 2017

What is the most effective way to gain a customers? ›

10 Ways to Get New Customers
  1. Ask for referrals. ...
  2. Network. ...
  3. Offer discounts and incentives for new customers only. ...
  4. Re-contact old customers. ...
  5. Improve your website. ...
  6. Partner with complementary businesses. ...
  7. Promote your expertise. ...
  8. Use online reviews to your advantage.
6 Apr 2017

What do airlines do to gain customer loyalty? ›

Three Ways Airlines Can Build Customer Loyalty
  1. Go beyond points & miles. We all know that miles drive people to join programs. ...
  2. Use your data (pre, during and post flight) Airlines fail to engage their customers. ...
  3. Keep Customer service in the loop.
2 Aug 2019

How customer care can be improved? ›

Seek Customer Feedback

To provide excellent customer service, you first need understand their needs, experiences, and pain points. For these, you need to ensure that you provide your customers multiple ways to share their feedback. You can do this through telephone surveys or a feedback form sent via email.

What is customer satisfaction in airline industry? ›

(Gale, 1994). If an airline customer perceives the quality of service that he or she buys. exceeds their needs, wants, and expectations, his or her satisfaction toward the airline will be. high (positive disconfirmation).

How do you build strong customer loyalty? ›

How to build customer loyalty
  1. Communicate your values.
  2. Provide exceptional customer service.
  3. Activate loyalists to help spread the word.
  4. Show your appreciation with a loyalty program.
  5. Connect in a deeper way.
  6. Ask for feedback.
  7. Continually improve.
17 Apr 2020

What improves customer loyalty? ›

Encourage customer feedback.

To show your customers how much you value them and how you are willing to constantly improve, ask for their feedback. Send out surveys, request email reviews, and be open to the feedback you receive. Customers are more willing to invest in businesses that value their opinions and insights.

What are the 3 most important things in customer service? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

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