Why Ignoring CX Won’t Fly in the Airline Industry

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released its annual travel report and found that customer satisfaction in the airline industry has increased by 1.4%. Though the increase may sound promising, it only makes the average CSAT score a 74 out of 100.

The airline industry is the butt of countless comedians’ jokes for having notoriously underwhelming CX, and though executives claim to prioritize improvement, little seems to be changing. So, are airlines actually motivated by commitment to customers, or are they just focusing on the pricing competition to get more business?

A study conducted by Watermark Consulting suggests that great CX helps build business value for airlines. Happy customers are more brand loyal, are less price-sensitive, and are more willing to entertain offers for other products and services or upsell opportunities. Put simply: Improved CX leads to increased revenue.

Here are the details about why airlines need to care about CX:

Employee Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction Go Hand-in-Hand

Company culture plays a big role in CX. How? Well, when employees are happy at work, they’re more accommodating and friendly to customers. This, in turn, makes the consumers enjoy their experiences more and results in long-lasting, positive relationships.

Research shows that companies with the happiest employees saw up to 14% increases in stock prices per year over a seven-year period.

Understanding the Voice of the Team (VOT) is crucial to learning about employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction and finding solutions to problems before they become bigger issues.

Stratifyd’s platform analyzes team satisfaction surveys, Glassdoor and Indeed reviews, and we can create data connectors for any other means of collecting structured and unstructured feedback to capture the full scope of the VOT and deliver actionable insights. In one instance, we helped a major sunglasses retailer determine an entire year’s worth of employee training and security initiatives after just one week of working with our platform.

Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty

Do you fully understand your airline’s loyalty program? If so, you’re one of few.

Less than half of airline loyalty program members understand how to earn and/or redeem their points and miles, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study.

There may be a correlation between the difficulty of use and customers refraining from enrolling in airline loyalty programs. A recent report shows that less than 50% of all passengers onboard U.S. flights are members of that airline’s loyalty program.

And when an airline’s loyalty program fails to attract new customers or keep current ones engaged, they miss out on chances to build new revenue streams and collect targeted customer data.

Airlines already amass tons of customer data, but often don’t have the time or ability to analyze it all. But through AI and ML, omni-channel customer data can be ingested, analyzed, and categorized in minutes to uncover unknown insights.

A Fortune 50 financial services company used our platform to aid in competitor analysis efforts, comparing its mobile app to another in the industry. Although the company’s app had more features, customers preferred the straightforward, easy-to-use format of the competitor’s app. As it turns out, less is more, so our client simplified its app to appease customers and remain competitive in the space.

Customers Hold a Lot of Power

Social media has fundamentally changed the notion of “all press is good press.” In a time where anything has the potential to go viral, airlines must be cognizant of the treatment of customers. From controversial service pets, to having to forcibly remove an individual, to losing a passenger’s luggage, airlines’ actions and responses are fully visible to the public.

Our platform helped Arvato Bertelsmann analyze customer feedback on social media platforms, separate real and fake accounts, and shorten their response time to customers to within 30 minutes of a mention.

While not every passenger will take to Twitter to complain about a missed connection or smaller-than-normal seat, it’s important to make every effort to gauge their satisfaction level after each interaction with your company’s products and services.

Though many airlines offer post-flight customer surveys, they experience a consistent problem with passengers not filling them out. Another problem airlines face is communication fatigue, which stems from over-communication and dozens of emails landing in inboxes daily, leading consumers to unsubscribe and surveys only being sent to one-third (or less) of passengers.

Our platform helped a fortune 500 financial services company analyze all customer interactions and accurately predict CSAT scores and explanations for the 95% of its customer base who chose not to participate in the surveys. These insights clued the company in on simple changes that could be made, and it increased CSAT to 92%.

CX and the Airline Industry

Getting people from point A to point B is the bread and butter of the airline industry, but companies need to ensure customers are enjoying the journey, too.

By listening to customers about what they want and need from their travel facilitators – and not just guessing that brightly colored seats and safety videos complete with breakdancers will attract more passengers, especially millennials – airlines can easily increase revenue. And when you need help finding the insights in all that customer data, Stratifyd has your back.