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20, August 2016

Soaring to Great Heights of Customer Experience

When was the last time you left the airport and thought to yourself, “That was an amazing experience” Think long and hard when was the last time that everything was just perfect?

Being an aviation enthusiast, taking to the skies is more than just one of the most wondrous inventions, it is a universe unto itself. An airplane is not just a fuel-injected vehicle, it is a window into the soul of the universe.

Over the years, I was lucky enough to fly to various destinations on different carriers. And each time, I pay more attention than the average traveler on the nuances of the flight experience. As a technology solutions consultant in the customer experience domain, I even go to the extent of taking notes on what could be better about my overall experience as a passenger.

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From booking the reservation to the shorter queues at the airport, in-flight entertainment to the butter smooth landing are some of the experiences that matter to me as a customer.

Of course, the airline industry isn’t the easiest of sectors to delight customers. There has to be an extensive focus on both physical and digital customer experience. Typically, the customer goes on a journey that passes through three important phases – pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight. Hence, it is important to understand and analyze what customers’ experience from the moment they consider building an itinerary and then working to make the journey toward flying as simple, clear, and well-organized as possible. This can be achieved by providing a personalized experience for travelers.

But sometimes, airlines tend to fall short. For instance, last year, I was traveling in a familiar airline. It was just another trip between where I work and the place that I call a home. Except that, it wasn’t just another day. It was my birthday. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I started thinking about it in mid-air. It would have been a special day for me if I was at work or at home. It’s not as though I expect to be treated like royalty, but it always feels good when people come over to wish me.

This time, I was surrounded by strangers. I couldn’t expect random people to pat my shoulder and wish me another year of success and happiness. However, considering that I was taking the same flight for the hundredth time, it may have been a good idea for the airline to throw me a tiny bone on my birthday. An extra few miles. A little more baggage space. Something to make me excited about being a repeat customer.

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In fact, many special occasions are celebrated in the air rather than at home with loved ones. Especially, if you are a frequent flyer. This is exactly what occurred on my birthday. The airlines who succeed to track and analyze customer data and trends, manage to add a nice touch of customer service on the go. The key is to listen to the customers and adapt as necessary to better align services to their needs, always keeping in mind what the brand promise stands for.

This sort of proactive, dare I say – even intuitive, customer servicing will not only help the airline to retain existing customers but also bring on board new ones with ease. The challenge is making sure airlines use technology to augment the experience, instead of relying on it to craft the experience. It is important that airline companies find right technology that can help deliver their brand promise.


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