In today’s environment of instantaneous information, the customer while they are travelling, expects to be continuously updated with information relevant to their travel. This flow of information usually comes from a variety of sources, often through with their social networks, Twitter and Facebook being the more prominent. With the ongoing challenge engendered by today’s economic climate and with the advent of the new “Social Customer”, leaders of airlines and airports are realizing that providing Excellent Customer Service is a key factor in their Passenger Experience programs.
When an airline or airport implements a program to optimize the Customer Experience, we often ask ‘what are some measures of success?’
In looking at success criteria, we find many of the important features can be summarized as follows:
1. There is a passionate dedication towards a customer focus.
2. The desired passenger experience has been clearly identified and is based on research ‘Voice of the Customer”.
3. Passenger Experience has the same economic value as revenue turnover and operational excellence (or efficiency)
4. From start to finish, the Passenger Experience program has been analyzed and implemented with a hands-on and transparent approach.
5. There are processes in place which can identify the causes of bad passenger experiences and customer service failures.
6. Most important action points are based on the delivery gaps.
7. Every airline or airport employee is aware of the customer’s value and they know how to create their promoters/ambassadors.
8. Management has regular interaction with passengers and also has scheduled feedback with their service agents or crew.
9. Passenger feedback will have direct impact on extra training, rewards, recognition and internal communication.
Every program for change is a combination of culture, processes, people and technology solutions. All elements should interact and form a continuous improvement cycle, since passenger expectations change and evolve so rapidly.
Integral to performance improvement is the measurement of customer service. The challenge has been to define that metric, which is the foundation of a passenger engagement framework. We have found several metrics, AirGate’s Passenger Experience Index (PEI). between traveller expectations and new opportunities to improve service delivery and hence new marketplace growth.
Another metric we have found is Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CXi). It reflects how consumers perceived their experiences with a particular brand or company.
Excellent customer service begins with leadership. It begins with a champion to step back and gain a holistic overview of the organizational processes, to bridge the silos and guide stakeholders through the necessary stages to move from company to customer centric.
To ensure that these key elements are effectively learned, customer service management needs to learn from industry professionals. There are courses, run by organizations like IATA and ACI for aviation and other groups for other industries. They are designed and delivered by industry professionals, specifically for the that industry. Courses such as these enable the organization’s leadership to stay current with the latest that is happening in their industry, specifically as it applies to Customer Experience Programs.