Airlines must adopt a customer-centric approach – or face extinction
In a turbulent market, it is crucial that airlines adopt a customer-centric attitude to gain the competitive edge.
This summer, budget airline Ryanair canceled hundreds of flights due to poor weather and cabin crew strikes. Amid the chaos, Ryanair announced that passengers would not be compensated for delays. Many customers were outraged, triggering a deluge of bad press for the budget airline giant. Ryanair’s difficult summer is not an isolated case; now, many airlines frequently deal with delays, cancellations, computer system failures, and overbooking issues.
These problems have plagued the airline industry for decades – however, the solution may be within reach. To regain customer trust, loyalty, and confidence, airlines must prioritize the passenger. For instance, the contemporary travel customer journey tends to be relatively impersonal; customers search online for a price, choose a time and click book. This process leaves little scope for the customer to make a meaningful connection with the brand.
However, technology may be the solution to delivering superior customer service and overcoming everyday operational challenges. Here, find out three ways data and smart technology can help airlines move toward a customer-centric approach.
1. Utilize data to personalize the customer experience
The airline industry has access to a wealth of customer data. Through a more intelligent use of data and advanced analytics, airlines can gain key insights into the customer journey. From here, they can work towards creating a more personalized experience. Furthermore, data can not only inform an organization about purchase behavior through transactions, device activity and search history – it can also provide information that can help to improve customer experience further down the line.
2. Formulate an integrated approach to customer-centric service
Creating a unified, integrated customer journey allows companies to plot potential stress points in transactions. From here, they can design a tailored response when obstacles arise. By leveraging data, airlines can preempt the needs of the customer, whilst continually improving operations. Detailed data analysis allows airlines to understand when and how to use a human or digital response to create a customer-centric experience. By empowering staff and prioritizing the customer, airlines can respond to customer requests, queries and concerns in real-time.
3. Deploy technology to humanize transactions
Ironically, technology is likely to be the key to humanizing the customer experience. Through data analysis, brands can foster a deeper connection with their clients, cultivating a one-on-one service experience every step of the way. Whether knowing that a certain customer flies frequently between Barcelona and London, or that they always book a window seat or late night flights, it is these human touches that can make a significant difference to fostering a customer-centric culture and fostering brand loyalty.
Whilst technology cannot change the weather, it can certainly help airlines to develop an approach that puts the customer first. Through data analysis, airlines can become smarter, more efficient and provide a more customer-centric service across the board. Today, airlines have no time to waste – they need to personalize their service to increase margins, cultivate brand loyalty, regain customer confidence, and most importantly, protect the airline’s reputation.