Airline digital transformation in customer relationship management: what will the future hold?

By Hélène Dubos | Technology

Oct 11
Airlines digital transformation in customer relationship management: what will the future hold?

How do your customers want to communicate with you when they have questions or queries? Today, the vast majority of airlines provide customer services through a call center, with staff trained to deal with everything from passengers angry about delayed flights to taking in-flight food requests. However, expectations are changing and a new era of airline customer relationship management is emerging.

For example, results from a recent survey showed that different generations wish to contact airlines in different ways. Millennials want to resolve problems over email, whereas Generation X prefer speaking to someone over the phone. There are also variations in the ways that people want to contact airlines about different kinds of problems - in some cases a call is ideal, in others, they would much prefer self-service through an app – or even just a simple FAQ.

The problem is that most airlines today do not offer the kind of flexibility that their customers want when it comes to contacting them. In our new white paper on the evolution of airline customer relationship management (CRM), we dig into the current trends in airline CRM and look at what the future might hold.

A call center is no longer enough

For decades airlines have chosen to use call centers as the ‘front line’ for problem resolution whenever customers have a problem, need to make a change to a reservation or wish to complain. Call centers have provided great service to customers, yet a slew of new technologies are emerging which offer many alternative ways for customers to contact airlines.

These technologies include:

  • Intelligent FAQ sections on websites
  • Customer self-service apps and tools
  • More sophisticated airline customer relationship management systems which provide call center staff with a complete picture of the passenger’s experience
  • Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence
  • Blockchain
  • Omnichannel customer service solutions

We are already starting to see the implementation of these technologies in other industries with great success. And, as a result, customers are starting to expect this more flexible approach when they try to contact airlines too. The aviation industry must, therefore, be ready to meet these changing expectations.

Just as the rise of e-commerce created expectations of greater autonomy, ergonomy, and personalization, and the expansion of social media meant customers expect brands to have a presence on their favorite channels, the emergence of more advanced customer relationship technology in other B2C industries means customers will be disappointed by airlines that don’t keep up.

However, just ‘bolting on’ a new chatbot or deploying an updated CRM at your customer call centers is not enough. Instead, the focus should be on the creation of a new approach to customer service: the customer service hub.

What is a customer service hub?

In our new white paper, we delve into the concept of customer service hubs for airlines. Customer service hubs go beyond simply providing information or solution to passengers via phone or email. Rather, they provide comprehensive, proactive and intelligent services that help your customers solve issues faster - or even before they realized there is a problem.

The notion of a ‘hub’ is important. Today’s model is essentially one-directional – passengers simply ring up a call center. Customer hubs, by contrast, are multi-directional. They offer numerous ways of contacting – and being contacted by – the airline. But crucially, they ensure that the underlying information from all these contact points is collated centrally, in real time, in the airline customer relationship management system.

Download our white paper to learn how this works in practice. You will learn:

  • What the future of airline customer relationship management looks like
    We provide examples of the ways in which your customers will interact and engage with you when they have problems in the coming years.
  • What technologies you will need
    The white paper describes the kinds of technologies that will be used in customer service hubs. Crucially it is not just about ‘bolting on’ new technology - rather you will need a strategy to collect and combine the information in intelligent ways that benefit the customer while reducing costs for your customer service department.
  • How to implement a customer hub
    Download the white paper for a step-by-step guide to creating the next generation of airline customer relationship management, looking at the journey you will need to take to create a genuine hub.

Prepare for the next generation of airline customer relationship management

We are on the cusp of an exciting new era in customer relationship management in aviation. CRM solutions are advancing rapidly and a wealth of new technologies with specific add-ons for Airlines that you can provide dramatically better service without needing to increase costs. So, how will you be communicating with your customers in the coming years?

Download our white paper today to get started on your journey to creating customer service hubs.