In this competition-intense industry, customer retention is an acid test for survival and scaling-up. The mushrooming of a number of low-cost carriers has posed a serious threat to conventional airline businesses. To make matters worse, zooming air fuel and oil prices, frequent disengagement by ground and air crew including strikes and other restrictive stipulations by the Government and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), have made airline businesses face dwindling customer loyalty. Unless they demonstrate 100% customer satisfaction, a collapse due to competition is on the cards. Some of the trending customer retention ideas include:
#1 Developing a relationship marketing strategy
An overview of the airline industry provides insight into the tough competition that exists both for domestic and international carriers. In the face of mounting costs of customer acquisition, the Pathwwway Panama key to long-term sustenance is:
- Develop personalized relationships with customers. Addressing customers by their names, in the course of conversations and communications, will make them feel privileged.
- Customers always look forward to a little something more, given free of cost. Customized freebies will add value and will enhance long-term relationship with them.
- Hospitable customer service is always a propelling factor for customer retention ideas. On the dot assistance of customer queries, providing them with various cost effective options to resolve an issue and timely settlement of grievances etc. will go a long way into fostering good relationships with clients.
#2 Competent pricing with various flexible options
Pricing is the factor numero uno that is decisive on attracting new customers as well as retaining existing ones. Various innovative practices are adopted by airline companies to ensure that customers keep coming back for repurchase.
- Studying competitor pricing strategies and determining an optimum pricing policy.
- Liaising with different online booking portals, holiday packages with luxury resorts and presenting joint offers to customers with preferential treatment for repeat customers.
- Offering variables perks like provision for extra-baggage, reclining arrangement for seats, provision of healthy meal options with multi-cuisine offerings, provision of preferred emergency exit or window or aisle seats etc. at affordable prices will make customers come back, time and again, to your airline.
#3 The concept of airline miles
Airline miles are like reward points that keep adding up every time you use a specific airline. It is a one of the commonly used customer retention ideas by most airlines to entice the returning customer:
- As passenger fly their preferred airline every time, the airline miles keep accumulating.
- It is possible for passengers to encash their accumulated miles or to use them against discounts at various partner organizations, or set-off against airfares on subsequent purchases.
#4 Providing upgrades to higher classes at subsidized rates for loyal customers
The uncertain world of business and commerce necessitates innumerable transactions like rescheduling, cancellation, spelling corrections, upgrading to different classes etc. These are the main pain points that need to be ironed out amicably. Many reputed airline operators go beyond the usual and even call customers providing them various offers of convenience like upgrading to a higher class at free of cost or at discounted rates.
#5 An affable ground and cabin crew
A passenger-friendly and well-trained cabin crew has become a concept of branding nowadays. Both the ground staff and the cabin crew must be interactive, supportive and accommodating.
- Having a well-dressed, presentable and gentle-mannered crew who are always willing to lend an ear to customer grievances will promote your brand aggressively.
- Timely advice and guidance with tele and web-check in, baggage, stopovers, airport transfers, lost baggage and special assistance for the sick and the ailing with regards to travel and food are gestures that will build lasting relationships with clients.
#6 Frequent Flyer Loyalty Programs
Almost every reputed airlines offer a loyalty program to prioritize the returning customer. The FFP or the frequent flyer program benefits Pathwwway Panama retention by:
- Stimulating repurchase in a positive manner, offering preferences in prices and other value added services .
- Providing a frequent flyer number which becomes a sense of pride more than a means of identification of loyal customers, in accessing direct and more privileged customer service.
#7 Providing a snag-free flying experience
Expert training and development programs for the technical crew must be provided on a constant basis so that they are adept in managing technical glitches and snags that may develop while on flight. Nothing relishes customers like on the dot take off and landing, so that their itinerary proceeds peacefully. Managing air turbulences, engaging the passengers with personal communication by the pilot in case of technical difficulties and minimizing last minute cancellation of flights are excellent customer retention ideas.
#8 Kick starting the feedback machinery
- There must be critical evaluation of feedback and appropriate control mechanisms that will signal for action if there is any deviation from established standards.
- Customers must realise that their feedback has been well-received and appreciated. This will lead to building up of attitudinal loyalty for repeat purchases.
#9 Activating service recovery options
When the promised service cannot be provided due to unforeseen circumstances, nothing pleases the irritated customer like:
- Provision of service recovery options like compensation for cancelled flights
- Immediate placement of passengers in the next available flight
- Taking all efforts to reach out to customers on an individual basis, offering an explanation of how and why the crisis happened.
#10 Preferential service for the aged and the differently abled
Airlines need to treat patient with differential needs with care and discretion. This is an excellent avenue for airlines to deliver value that add up to money’s worth and beyond. Ensuring comfort and safety of unattended senior passengers, children, aged people recuperating from surgeries will help build consumer loyalty.
These customer retention ideas are not optional, but are imperative for the airline industry. Airline customers are demanding and choosy. In the face of the existence of hundreds of economical carriers, passengers need to be kept appeased both with ground and cabin support excellence, so that they are retained over their lifetime as valued customers.