What's Best in Customer Care on flights
Take notice of customer feedback
In a period when Customer Care is in the news all too frequently. We thought it would be a great idea to explain what good customer care standards are in the world of flights.
Obviously, the bottom line for travelers is that they get out of the airport and think: 'Yeah, that was a good experience; the staff were polite, the food and drink were nice and served in a timely fashion, the seat was comfortable, the plane arrived on time, and my baggage was on the carousel at the other end'. All in all a great flight.
For airlines to get this right is an achievement in itself. Airlines have hundreds, if not thousands, of aircraft movements every day, which means hundreds or thousands of crew changes, loading up of stock, and various logistical nightmares. It is a constant pressure to keep on top of a situation, and it is this pressure that can lead customer care to buckle. Here are a few things to look for in high-quality customer care:
Good Staff Training
Good employers inculcate their core business values in staff training. It is no good just having a 'Mission Statement,' this is not Star Trek !. The idea that the customer comes first must be the organization's watchword: from Senior Management to Cabin Staff. If you see a member of staff 'going that extra mile' for you, it may be that that is a result of such policies. If they do go out of their way to help you make a point of thanking them or write to the airline with praise.After all, Customer Care is a two-way street !. Tell them that your enjoyed your flights.
Airlines should also remember that we live in a Social Media Age. Customer Care issues that used to be dealt with by letter or e-mail are now vented by Facebook or other technology. Company failings can be on people's cell phones within minutes. This is why it pays to get it right first time. An especial mark of the quality of an airline is how they deal with difficult customers. Good training is the key to this, knowing how to defuse situations.
Take notice of customer feedback
This can come in some forms.Obviously conducting surveys is helpful. The other is acting on complaints that do not reach formal complaint level, but do affect the customer experience i.e. if they do not enjoy their journey for any reason the airline needs to know about it and, moreover, action the issue.
Check what the Competitors are doing.
Looking over your shoulder at what the rivals are doing is an excellent way to improve customer care. It is an oft-repeated phrase that the 'little things' matter a lot, but they really do. It may be that the seats are just that bit more comfortable, or that cabin crew made an extra fuss of the children, or the food was a high standard. These are the things passengers remember about their flights. They add up to a competitive edge.
Everyone has had that last minute panic searching frantically for the boarding card which has conveniently lodged itself at the bottom of the bag or has done a complete disappearing act. Now boarding passes can be downloaded onto your cell phone or iPad. You can send an email/text message to the customer about any problems with their flight. This is all straightforward if the airline builds up a robust customer database.
Listening to the customer.
Communication at a verbal level is tremendously important. Stress, Frustration, and Anger are caused by the client feeling that they are not being listened to, not regarded with respect. Staff should greet customers in a friendly manner and maintain an appropriate degree of eye contact.
It is not just about customers. A happy staff is a productive staff; it comes across abundantly in Customer Care. If the staff does not feel valued it comes across in the way they treat clients.
Make sure that once a customer complaint is lodged, that the process of complaining is followed up, just to check that the complainer feels that the complaint itself was dealt with adequately. As an airline user, if you can see during your travels that these matters are being addressed then I think you can be sure that that airline has customer care at its forefront.