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Diana Byrne | Sep 22, 2017 | Tomorrow’s Customer

Diana Byrne | Sep 22, 2017
Tomorrow’s Customer

Airlines: 5 ways
to upgrade your CxNotes on how airlines are
transforming customer experience

Earlier this month, the Boxever team packed up our bags and traveled to the Aviation Festival in London. Instead of bringing back souvenirs, we returned with pages of notes on how airlines across the globe are transforming customer experience through technology. After soaking it all in, here are our five recommendations, and inspiring use cases, for upgrading your customer experience.

1) Customer Communication Will Reach New Heights – And New Channels

Looking for new ways to engage with your customers? Time to look at new channels. It may seem like working professionals check their emails 24/7, but sorting through email at an airport to check a flight status is the last thing any busy traveler wants to do. Airlines need to meet their customers where they are, in a fast and personalized way. Turns out, 1 billion customers are on WhatsApp. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines jumped on this, making themselves the world’s first airline to have a verified WhatsApp account. Customers around the globe can now get booking confirmation, check-in notification, boarding passes and flight status updates and ask questions 24/7 in ten different languages through WhatsApp.

2) Customer Experience Won’t Successfully Takeoff Without AI – But First, Let’s Talk Data

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the customer experience, helping ensure that every interaction between the airline and traveler is memorable and timely. But airlines need to take baby steps when implementing AI technology. Step one: a sound data strategy. Bobby Healy, CTO of Car Trawler said: “AI is about using aggregated data to determine patterns.” Airlines embarking on an AI strategy need to start by thinking about a data platform that collects customer data – historical, transactional and real-time – to identify these patterns. Our CEO’s recent post takes a closer look on how AI can transform your customer experience.

3) Successful Personalization Will Be Defined by Quality Over Quantity

If you’ve ever watched the show Extreme Couponing, you’ve seen the rare breed of customer who cares more about the sheer number of deals they can get versus deals on what they actually want. But as Tim Clark, President of Emirates, stressed during his keynote, relevance is more important than volume. Airlines need to focus on understanding the basic needs of their customers and what will resonate with them, which might be as simple as sending a happy birthday text. If you’re looking for more information on personalized experiences, check out our report on the Rise of Relevance.

Tech innovations and advanced data have allowed airlines to have more meaningful, real-time interactions with customers

4) Airlines Will Blend Tech and Human Interactions to Differentiate the Customer Journey

Putting the customer at the center of airline interactions isn’t a new concept. Brussels Airlines demonstrated this with their ‘It’s A Boy’ ad campaign several years ago. But tech innovations and advanced data have allowed airlines to have more meaningful, real-time interactions with customers. At the festival, Cebu Pacific Air was cited as a great example of an airline doing just that. By connecting customer data across the buyer’s journey, Cebu Pacific Air was able to better anticipate customer needs and deliver customers with surprise and personalized offers. This 1:1 approach to customers led to higher conversions and increased revenues. Read more here.

5) Airlines Will Focus on Brand Loyalty Outside of Loyalty Programs

So, what is brand loyalty? Our CEO Dave O’Flanagan led a discussion on that topic at the festival. His definition of brand loyalty: “It’s about having a customer who is going to repeat business, who will spend more, and, ultimately, who will be a brand ambassador.” For airlines to turn customers into brand ambassadors, they need to define what brand loyalty means outside of their traditional loyalty program. And there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option; airlines need to create moment-by-moment experiences for passengers, not just send them rewards miles that they may not even use. If you’re looking for more ways to build loyalty, read our blog onways to surprise and delight customers.

Ready to upgrade your customer experience? Connect with us today.

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