airline companies

How Airline Companies Are Improving Their Image Through Better Customer Service

If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you know that with airline companies there are several things that can potentially go wrong.  Flights can be delayed, overbooked, or canceled. Flying can be stressful, and bad customer service will make it that much worse. This may seem like a minor detail, but after dealing with what may seem like chaos throughout the security lines, terminal and crying babies while boarding, and experience with an employee may be the thing that makes or breaks a customer’s opinion of the flight. 

Airline companies are working to improve how people view them. Delays and other annoyances may be unavoidable, so subscribing to a customer-first mentality could be a way to keep people booking with your airline.  Here are four ways to do that.

1. Personalize Experiences.

Not all customers are the same.  They have different backgrounds, experiences, and needs.  With the wealth of data available today, airlines have no excuse not to know about their customers.  Use technology to your advantage and synthesize all the information you have on your consumers in one place.  Data like travel history can be used to help customers find and book their next flight easily with the same airline – yours.

Giving customers a personalized experience also means not being limited by job titles.  For customer-facing employees, circumstances determine how they should act with each client.  There’s a difference between doing another person’s job and going a little bit out of your way to meet a customer request.  Showing you care about each individual’s experience can make a positive impact on that person’s view of the company.

2. Airline Companies Will Meet Customers Where They Are At.

This is true in many ways, but right now we’re specifically talking about communication.  Most of your customers are active on social media, so why aren’t you? It should be easy for people to chat with your airline, whether that be by email, text, or other online messaging.  Offering features like digital tickets and remote early check-in online can change the view of your airline for the better. Customers will appreciate how easily and quickly they can access information about their trip. Airline companies have picked up on this, and it’s making a difference.

3. Break Your Own Rules.

Most airline rules are in place for a specific reason: to keep people safe.  If there are rules that don’t fall into this category, however, don’t be afraid to break them sometimes.  Customers should feel that they are more important than their policies. A good way to make sure this is the case is to not create unnecessary rules in the first place.  For example, some airlines have dress codes for their travelers. Unless there is a safety concern, this may be a policy that can be changed to value customers first.

As we’ve already discussed, airports can be stressful places.  Airlines should do their best to make sure their employees have the best environment possible to work in.  One interaction with an employee can make or break what a customer thinks about a company. If your workers are cranky from long hours, bad management, or other issues, they are likely to take that out on customers.  Keeping your employees healthy and content can help them give your customers the best customer service possible.

Want more customer service tips?

Looking to learn more ways your business can have great customer service?  Check out Inospire for all your HR needs.  Inospire knows that every company is in the business of working with people and can help you create a personalized plan to achieve your business goals.


  • Patrick
    November 18, 2019

    Ok…So here is a good example of what NOT to do:I had a recent flight with one of the big carriers that starts with D***A last week. My connection flight out of Detroit boarded on time but we had to sit in our seats for 2hours and 40minutes while they fixed an electrical problem and de-iced before we could take off. The flight only took 1hour and 20minutes, so we actually sat twice as long on the plane than the time it took to fly to my destination in Greensboro. I sent a comment to the head of operations explaining my displeasure since I paid to be in first class and expected a better experience. So his response was a boiler-plate apology, followed with a survey asking if I would recommend their airline to my friends.
    My reply was that I still had to get home in a couple weeks and we’ll see how my total experience is before I fill out any survey.
    If you were in his position, do you think a simple phone call or a personalized apology letter would have been more appropriate? And wouldn’t you wait to see if apology is accepted before doing a survey? I know the lady that was complaining up in the front seat would have been happy just to have another bag of peanuts!

    • Ryan Giffen, Ph.D.
      November 18, 2019

      Yikes! That does not sound like a great experience by any means. Unfornatuently, between airline company policies, Airport destination policies, and FAA regulations, the airline crew aboard the flight during this situation have to ‘roll with the punches’ and the cards they were dealt with. However, that does not mean genuine care, concern, and empathy can’t be delivered (whether in the moment-aboard the plane or with the service agent on the phone. No doubt, if I was in this situation, I too would have (at a minimum) expect a sincere apology with a resolution option (i.e., snacks, beer, water, coffee). Moreover, sending out a survey shortly after a call whether a resolution was provided or not does seem to premature. At the least, I hope the airline industry as a whole can adopt more of a hospitable approach like they use to deliver with PanAm. Maybe not in our lifetime, but it’s quite possible that other advancements in technology will make the airline industry OR its crew obsolete. So, it’s best to set themselves apart now and have fantastic service delivery agents. Otherwise, the industry may die. Don’t believe me? Just ask the former CEO of Blockbuster Video who thought the impossible would never happen!

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