We’ve all been there… on our way to an important business meeting or a reunion with loved ones when all of the sudden we are advised that our flight will be delayed (or even cancelled). The decision by an airline can greatly dampen our hopes and plans; not to mention the inconvenience involved. Like it or not, delayed flights are a reality for those of us who are on the go and constantly traveling from one location to the next. But how should airlines balance the inevitable while still ensuring they are taking the proper steps to retain customer loyalty? The answer depends on a number of factors, yet there definitely ARE proper measures staff can take to have a better chance of booking a returning customer in the future.
When we think of security measures and how they relay to flight cancellations, the first thing that pops into the minds of many is personnel’s ability to ward off threats that potentially endanger the lives of passengers. However, the most common form of security measure that affects a flight’s status is whether an aircraft and its crew are fit to transport us from one location to the other. Mechanical maintenance, although a huge inconvenience when it happens to intervene with and change our plans, is a necessity that must take place regardless of the time or place. Realizing this as a customer is something we have to accept and we can make our lives quite a bit easier by remaining friendly with the airline’s staff when something like this happens.
Customer Support & Service
On the airline’s side of the coin, flight delays and cancellations occur on a daily basis. Unfortunately, staff and passengers are often at odds when it comes to who’s to blame and how best to move forward and arrange lodging or book a separate flight. This often stems from how disappointed the customers will be upon learning that their plans have just been changed without them being able to do much about it. However, it is very important to keep in mind that although it is highly unpleasant to deal with a customer who is clearly upset, he/she still has a valid justification for being slightly miffed at having secured a ticket for a certain date and time; only to learn at the last minute that the schedule (for whatever reason) won’t be respected.
One way for airlines to attract new and returning customers is to be among the most on time airlines worldwide. In a recent article published by the Huffington Post, American Airlines and Continental were ranked among the top 5 globally. When it comes to passengers who expect to make it on time to their appointments the vast majority of times, being an airline that ensures the highest percentage of promised on time arrivals is a huge plus.
Aside from that, having staff that is trained to be as pleasant as possible and to be considerate of customers’ inconveniences can (in the long term) go a long way in retaining them in the future. There isn’t anything staff can do about the decision to prolong a layover, but there IS something (a lot, in fact) that can be done in the form of common sense and politely fielding complaints. Taking to social media to address some of the imperfections that have caused a specific delay or cancellation can also improve customer relations insofar as to let them know that the company is aware of the issue and standing by to look for solutions.
Regardless of which airline a customer chooses, he/she will be faced with a delay or cancellation when frequent flying, but having staff and clients work together to find the next best option can only result in overall improvement in the long run.
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