Industry statistics show that companies who focus on passenger experience perform better. They experience 4-8 per cent higher revenue drive than other companies.
The aviation industry must prioritize improving the passenger experience. It requires an in-depth analysis and understanding of passenger perceptions. The focus should be on the airline, airport and the entire community.
The success of the airline company relies on commuters. It is critical to understand what it is the passengers need. The airline must then take the relevant steps to fulfill those needs.
Why Airlines Need to Improve the Commuter Experience
Most Airlines do not hold the best reputation. They often receive complaints of poor service due to the perception that revenue is prioritized over taking care of the passengers.
Common complaints include:
- Long lines
- Harrowing experiences at check in and check out
- Invasive searches
- Uncaring staff
- Uncomfortable flights
The industry must focus on improving their service offerings and how they treat passengers.
The Role of Peak Theory in Improving Passenger Experience
The Peak theory is the brainchild of professors Tversky and Kahneman. It focuses on perceptions around experience. Passengers attach value to an experience depending on how it peaks and ends.
They tend to disregard parts of the journey. They will not focus on the whole flight. Airline industries have a lot to learn from this theory. It does not matter how good the check-in experience was. It does not matter how comfortable or smooth the flight was. It does not matter how good the food was. One bad experience will taint the whole interaction with an airline.
In further expounding on the Peak theory:
- The peak is that point at which the experience had the most significant impact
- Commuters take away what they want to from an experience. You may ask an airline passenger how the trip was. They are not likely to go into every single detail or minute of the trip.
- The sum total of their experience will depend on their subjective judgment. They consider different factors in deciding whether they enjoyed the experience or not. This could include airline staff attitude, airport reception and even inflight entertainment.
- The brain filters out anything it considers inconsequential or neutral.
Improving the Airline Passenger Experience
Applying the peak theory is a cost-effective way of improving the brand experience. It is about creating memorable and amazing peak and end experiences.
Airlines can adopt the following ways to improve airline passenger experiences.
1. Interact Positively
Positive interaction with passengers is one of the best ways to improve experiences. The interaction starts way before the passenger reaches the airport. It starts with simple steps such as:
- Ensuring that the passengers can buy tickets easily
- Using technology to simplify the check-in process
- Carrying out surveys before, during and after the flight for areas that may need improvement
- Providing comfortable waiting facilities especially during layovers
- Ensuring the crew and airline staff are professional. Their aim should be to provide the ultimate customer experience
The commuter-focused culture depends on certain principles.
- Understanding that passengers are unique
- Differentiating passengers by their behavior, needs and values
- Ensuring efficient and cost-effective interaction. Social media has made it possible to reach airline passengers wherever they are.
- Customizing the airline offerings to suit the passenger’s needs
- Communicating with passengers in an authentic and friendly manner
- Updating the passengers when necessary
- Anticipating passenger needs and reacting before they ask
- Exceeding passenger expectations, so they never forget the experience.
2. Track Sentiments
Tracking passenger sentiments will provide you with critical data. You can collect a lot of passenger feedback from a wide range of channels. Some may send emails while others will use social media platforms. You may also have those who prefer live chats or phone calls.
You access feedback from all the different channels in one place. You can then filter through the feedback to highlight those that need addressing. Automatic responses can be setup where applicable, and responding to as many passengers as possible is a must for any airline.
Knowing commuter sentiments has several advantages.
- You know what your passengers are talking about
- You get information on what the passengers feel about their flight experience
- You understand what parts of the experience had the biggest impact
- You collect relevant data that you can use to: –
o Improve your offering
o Check trends
o Track changes
o Measure performance of the different solutions you put in place
o Determine the best decisions based on passenger experience
o Understand how passenger experience affects aeronautical Revenue
3. Provide Strong Commuter Support
Strong commuter support means that you treat your customers well. You are always available to take care of their needs. Research shows that you spend five times less when you keep clients rather than trying to get new ones.
The rate of return clients are as high as 70% when passengers are happy. Communication is key and you have so many avenues you can use. Talk to your passengers through mobile apps, email and/or phone calls.
Update them on anything that could make their experience stressful or unpleasant. Ticket changes and flight cancellations can be very frustrating. You can make the experience easier by communicating quickly.
Ask for feedback on what you can do better. Track social media platforms. Ensure prompt feedback so the situation does not get out of hand
The peak theory provides valuable insights. The airline industry can apply that theory to improve passenger experience. A passenger is most likely to remember what happened during the peak or end of the journey.
Passengers need to have the best service from the beginning to the end. They are most likely to remember what went wrong, even if, in totality, the journey was a success.
Collecting commuter feedback and sentiment tracking will provide invaluable data. You must have the right tools to collect, filter, and respond to feedback. You will get all that and more with a solution like Tatvam.
Take passenger experience to the next level by investing in the right resources.
Tim works as the VP of Sales and Marketing at NetServ Applications and oversees the development and client relationships for NetServs’ proprietary product Tatvam. Tatvam is a Customer Feedback Analytics product that leverages technologies like Machine Learning and AI to help companies monitor and improve their customer experience. Tim both manages the product log and the development teams to ensure they are consistently innovating and delivering a true value-add product, as well as continuously works with Tatvam customers to help them improve their data strategies and customer experiences.