Airline customer experience


Through passengers' eyes

Delivering the “right” airline customer experience

From varied seating choices to chef-designed meals, airlines have made great strides in improving the passenger experience. However, passengers report that they are still often left looking for more. In a world where the customer has the power, how can the airline industry appeal to the next-generation passenger and improve customer experience?

Making customer experience a priority

According to Forrester Research, on average, each US airline is leaving as much as $1.4 billion in annual revenue on the table by not making improvements to their customer experience (CX). This revenue may be captured before, during, or after the flight when airlines have the opportunity to establish customer stickiness as well as garnering ancillary sales. These ancillary offerings often provide much higher margins with much less complexity and effort than the product of flying the passenger.

Does that mean it’s time to pull out all the stops? Not necessarily. There is a difference between needing to provide the most stellar customer experience and the “right” customer experience in the moment. Finding that fit involves five steps:

  1. Outlining a CX ambition that aligns with your strategy and customer segmentation
  2. Articulating the value you are trying to capture
  3. Understanding the capabilities you need to achieve true value and building those capabilities
  4. Clearly defining and socializing how you will monitor and measure success
  5. Continuing to invest and track value

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The CX ambition spectrum

Charting your airline’s CX ambition

Effective CX begins with charting your CX-specific ambition, which will impact where and how to invest in developing your CX strategy. The degree of differentiation and the support for change should define the position of a company in the ambition spectrum, yielding a more realistic vision of what CX can and should look like.

To help align CX thinking and accelerate action, we suggest:

  • Get aligned. Understand what capabilities you should have, and what you can build on, in order to deliver a leading customer experience.
  • Get focused. Clarify and get focused on what you expect the future to hold by thinking about how your customers’ behaviors and expectations are changing and how you can deliver for them.
  • Get flying. Align on your winning ambition, what you want to accomplish next, and get the commitment to move forward with a plan.

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Related aviation and transportation insights

Deloitte provides a holistic viewpoint to the airline industry, applying just-in-time techniques and data analytics to help aviation companies maximize their business channels, measure and refine their strategy and become more responsive to their customers. Explore our recent thought leadership:

Suitcases at the airport
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