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Using Real-time information to Enhance Customer Service
Hrishikesh Manager | August 20, 2015

Airlines have always been privy to a lot of personal information concerning their passengers – with data from PNRs, external marketing campaigns, social media feeds, baggage handling, loyalty programs, and other sources. However, much of this data isn’t collaborated or used to its fullest capacity. The additional problems of having numerous identities for a single customer across various servers, just serves to make this process a lot more complex.

Airlines that strive to create a more customer-centric environment need to basically provide service that is simple, trust worthy, and valuable. Today, most airlines provide standardized offers to all their passengers with a minimal amount of personalization. This generalized approach does not help to make the customer feel special. A customer’s demography, transactional history, past behaviour and other situational based real-time interaction data is not effectively utilized to customize offers, because the data is available in silos. 

Many airline use data warehouses to help refresh data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis from underlying sources. This means that it could take an entire day or more for changes in transactional systems to be refreshed or uploaded in the data warehouse, making it impossible for these companies to use the data for real-time customer service.

In today’s competitive landscape, Airlines must be able to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Their passengers expect to be treated as important individuals. This means there is tremendous scope for personalization and providing contextually relevant real-time interactions. Airlines must be able to provide personalized travel experiences based on customer interests and needs, and by collaborating customer data from various internal and external touch points. Utilizing the right technology to help with collecting and analyzing this information in real-time will benefit the airlines by changing how they provide personalized and relevant services to passengers, while successfully optimizing their operations. This might include interaction strategies through the Web, mobile, next gen wearables, and other channels.

Many survey reports indicate that Airlines are beginning to address the issue of personalization by offering their passengers a growing list of technology-based options to tailor their travel across all touch points - from booking, to airport and inflight experience. 82% of Airlines across the globe are expected to increase their investment in improving personalization over the next three years. With the strong adoption of smart phones which allow “anytime, anywhere” interaction with passengers, over 75% of Airline companies have major plans to provide passenger service through smart phones.

Smart phone apps will be able to offer personalization options right from booking to arrival. The best example today includes “Discovery Fight” programs which are proving to be quite a success. By 2018, it is predicted that all customer information across all channels will become totally integrated.

Some of the sources from where data must be integrated, include:

  • Mobile Booking
  • Baggage Information
  • Kiosks
  • Social Media Posts
  • Security Check Points
  • Airport Lounges
  • Past Seat Selections/Requests
  • Any Other Requests

Airlines can utilize this data together with various analytics (as indicated below) to identify customer behaviours:

  • Loyalty status analysis
  • Behavioural analysis
  • Customer profile and travel patterns
  • Complaints and compliments analysis
  • Offer acceptance analysis

Having a single 360 degree view of customers and using NFC/iBeacon protocols can help Airline companies stay connected with their passengers in real-time, enabling them deliver multi-channel, differentiated offers. Services like ‘where is my bag’ will make passenger journey hassle free with the help of real-time tracking, where passengers can be notified about the location of their baggage and time taken for delivery of the baggage at arrival consol. This not only will lead to a C-SAT but also a way to inform passenger that they might have some more time to do shopping at arrival hall.