How Airlines are Measuring Customer Satisfaction


The latest rankings from the 2013 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) point to a general unhappiness with the airline industry, says a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article. Airlines are near the bottom of the list when it comes to customer satisfaction, with an average score of 69 on a 100-point scale. This puts the industry only slightly above cable television and Internet service providers, the two lowest on the list.

On average, airlines scored in the 60s, but some, like JetBlue and Southwest, scored in the 80s. What makes these companies different?

Admittedly, we think companies that put customer service first, in terms of time, money, and benefits for their employees, see those costs come back in a huge way in terms of customer impressions.

Southwest Airlines has been a leader in customer satisfaction for years, and as you may have heard has recently contracted with Aspect to expand its contact center and workforce optimization solution to a full suite of cloud-delivered technology. Southwest integrates customer service into multiple channels in their company by:

  • Using different channels to achieve different strategic goals
  • Recognizing the value of customer contact in building loyalty
  • Understanding what their customers value
  • Integrating emerging consumer technologies

Alaska Airlines, third in the ACSI ranking, listened to their contact center agents when they asked for telecommuting options and in turn saw a 4.9% gain in productivity. That means an increase in production equaling 12 extra full-time employees. Moreso, it means that more customers are able to have their questions answered and issues resolved faster.

Another way to meet customer service challenges is by looking at the specific needs of your customers and finding a way to meet that demand. Virgin Atlantic saw a lot of time wasted—both for the company and customers—by routing calls between departments. They implemented Aspect solutions, including CallCenter ACD, Uniphi Connect, and Workforce Management, to streamline their processes and automate routine calls. This change led to decreased costs, greater agent productivity, and happier customers.

The news for airlines isn’t all bad. With customer- oriented companies leading the way, airlines are performing better than they have in over 15 years.

At 69%, there’s still a lot of room to grow, but it’s also the highest score the industry has seen since 1996. When more companies view customers as the highest priority, and put workforce systems into place that meet that demand, it will lead to more satisfied customers that look forward to traveling instead of dreading it.

How does your business measure customer satisfaction?

Register now for this week’s webinar, Metrics and Tools to Measure Customer Satisfaction, at 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET on Thurs. Sept. 19 with Aphrodite Brinsmead, Ovum’s Senior Analyst. Learn how accurate techniques for collecting, analyzing and applying customer feedback and agent performance metrics can deliver valuable business insights like those being applied by the airlines.

One thought on “How Airlines are Measuring Customer Satisfaction

  1. In today’s economy, the customers really have all of the power. In the airline industry, if a customer isn’t getting the service they expect, they will start booking with another airline. The carriers that provide the best service at reasonable prices will always win.

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