Internal organizational barriers and challenges within the airline industry

We all know that in the aviation industry, good customer experiences are of extreme importance because, without customers the airlines would not exist. But you should also look at it from another perspective – the internal perspective of the airline company. In order for an airline company to be able to create a good customer engagement strategy they shouldn’t only focus on marketing and IT but first and foremost focus on the company functioning extremely well as a team and establish a company culture. The team is what counts, not the individual and all employees should be dependable.

In the airline industry the execution of a CEM strategy is often inefficient. The employees do not always have the tools to provide consistent levels of service to customers. They often do not have the competencies necessary for a CEM program to be truly beneficial to both the customer and the airline (Boland, Morrison & O’Neill, 2002). Employees know what they are doing but they do not go any further than that; the Why and How is what is lacking. Employees are often not inspired or engaged enough in the company to properly execute a CEM strategy.

In a customer centric organization customer-facing employees need to have the right mindset and competencies and must be in a position to decide on and do what is needed. All employees have to be part of a team that is formed around a common set of values, norms and a clear mission (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). Employees must be engaged in the company and must have knowledge on the individual customer, without this there will be no real connection between company and its customers. Engaged employees are generally more productive, more committed to settling disputes peacefully and are more loyal to their company in general (Alpert & Roberts, 2010).

The employees who do not have direct contact with the customers should also know the customer’s profile and should know exactly where and how to get this individual customer knowledge and always keep it updated. They should also have good communication and cooperation between all departments of the company. If the company does not do this it loses the ability to customize the offering and to develop and exploit customer knowledge effectively and efficiently. It is a necessity for a company to establish a strategic link between engaged employees and engaged customers if long-term growth is the goal.

To conclude, the company’s culture is one of the most important parts of customer engagement as it refers to the internal aspects of the organization such as its goals, values and internal behavior. All employees must understand the company’s framework of operations, the value it delivers and how it is delivered.


Boland, D., Morrison, D., O’Neill, S. (2002). The future of CRM in the airline industry: A new paradigm for customer management.

Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Pearson Education Benelux BV

Roberts, C., Alpert, F. (2010). Total customer engagement: Designing and aligning key strategic elements to achieve growth. Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 19 (3), 198–209.

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