In this highly competitive era for the airline industry where one event can trigger oil price hike and send the profit margins tumbling down the drain, the level of efforts required in order to not only survive but thrive are a lot higher. There are many factors that have to be considered to make an airline a winning industry player. Here is a quick view of some important factors which can significantly improve your company’s profitability and make it a successful airline in the aviation industry.
Customer Service Hallmark of Mission, Vision and Philosophy
Every profitable organization that competes at the highest level, needs to inculcate in all its employees the importance of customer service. Organizations develop stories, values, policies, and mission and vision statements to let their employees as well as outside stakeholders know what the organization stands for. In order to incorporate a robust belief in the minds of your employees about the importance of customer service, the organization’s top management should reflect its emphasis on customer service excellence by fostering a culture where customers are preferred over everything else. The belief in giving top priority to customers should flow from top to bottom.
An Example of Poor Customer Service
Back in September 2013, a businessman named Hasan Syed was travelling with British Airways. Upon arriving at the destination, his father’s luggage was lost. He tried getting the issue resolved by contacting the airline but apparently British Airways did not take the matter seriously. Infuriated with this nonprofessional response, he decided to use a paid twitter campaign to vent out his anger at this poor standard of customer service. The tweets were picked up by Mashable and soon went viral. British Airways finally had to admit its mistake and apologize to the customer. Had there been a proper customer service complaint handling mechanism in place, things wouldn’t have gone so far.
Customer Feedback and Action
Customer feedback is very important in improving the user experience. Airline industries in particular need to have a reliable way of collecting and gauging customer feedback. Whenever a customer registers a complaint, it needs to be taken seriously. Smaller problems, when neglected, later become complex issues, creating customer service nightmares for airlines. Similarly, only collecting feedback without incorporating it into improving the overall customer experience is of no use. The airline industry needs to ensure that all customer feedback has been reviewed and proper actions are taken to avoid similar situations in the future.
In-depth Competitor Analysis
Sometimes customers prefer one airline over the other because of minor differences in service offerings, seasonal promotions or other facilities. An airline needs to keep an eye on its competition to know what might attract the customers. Air travel is a well saturated industry in terms of service standards followed. However, identifying and offering USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) may create a significant impact on future revenue streams. Provide your customers with more options to choose from.
Creation of Service Standards
Successful organizations define service standards in absolute terms critical for survival and long term business growth. Implementation of these service standards help the company form a positive brand image of itself. Service standards need to be measurable in order to bring further improvement and accordingly train employees for delivering better experiences. Smaller gestures like “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon”, “Have a Nice day” and using customer’s name when conversing with them all add to better quality customer service.
Integration of Technology
The constant use of technology to accomplish daily tasks has increased our dependence on it magnanimously. Airlines can expect customers to approach them by using any means of communication available to them apart from the traditional channels. Companies need to make sure customers are provided with the required information in an easy to access manner at all these channels where they might search for it.
This will not only help reduce a lot of burden on the information desk but also enables customers to differentiate your organization from others for being customer friendly. Integrating technology to improve the customer experience and making travel more convenient is the way forward for airlines. A recent example of this is the launch of mobile boarding passes by Etihad Airways to facilitate passengers. Another example is of Emirates which launched an app exclusively for iPad this year which gives customers the option of booking flights, checking in online and managing their travel details.