Employee engagement: the key to customer satisfaction.

“Every communication and customer interaction should be fully leveraged, optimized and treated as an opportunity to create engaged customers.” (Christopher, 2010) Nowadays, only 29% of the employees in the US are motivated and energized. Imagine what happens with the reminding workforce. Within the airline industry, employee perception is the primary source to customer satisfaction and increasing the customer loyalty.

A long distance flight is not the most comfortable way to spend your day, especially if the staff does not put effort in improving this particular service. This will most likely lead to customer dissatisfaction. As a surprise, this often occurs in the airline industry. As mentioned by Stone (n.d.), only 29% of the employees in the US are motivated and energized. This remarkable low percentage highlights the 54% of employees who are not engaged, and who are defined by Stone as: “they are almost sleepwalking through their workday and merely putting in time.” The other 17% are actively disengaged and act out their unhappiness towards its guests. A company’s brand, together with the internal culture are key elements within the total engagement model. As mentioned by Christopher (2010) : “an engaged employee is more productive, more committed to settling disputes peacefully and is more loyal to the company in general.”

“Surprise, Surprise”; what is a better way to wait inlinein line than getting surprised by a KLM employee? In 2010, KLM launched a new campaign, where part of the KLM team was in charge of identifying those passengers who are waiting inlinein line by researching their social profile. Accordingly, flight attendants would greet their guests by name and give them a personalized gift. A high percentage of guests published about this unique and personal experience with KLM. The campaign earned 1,000,000 impressions on Twitter, by showing the world their customer intimacy. (Peveto, 2011)

Hiring personnel who know the value of a laugh, Southwest Airlines increased their brand knowledge based on in-flight entertainment provided by their fun-loving attendants. This is where customer intimacy comes in, the employees of Southwest Airlines understand their customers. They understand that economical flights are not pleasant. Besides, the Airline decided to strip out operational costs by eliminating meals, interline baggage transfers and seat assignments. In this way, those clients who previously could not afford the flight ticket are now able to fly for a fair price. (Chew, 2014)

The theory of Treacy and Wiersema identifies both value disciplines, customer intimacy and operational excellence, as values that are necessary with a business strategy. (Peelen, 2013)

The business world needs motivated staff in order to create positive customer experiences. While some airlines are still struggling with customer intimacy, this value discipline has become the main focus for others. Don’t wait too long, give your guests a little extra and let them feel special.

Author: Jade van Huisseling



Chew. C (January 30, 2014) In Persuit of Customer Intimacy and Operational Excellence. Retrieved on September 15, 2016. Retrieved from https://miscmagazine.com/in-pursuit-of-customer-intimacy-and-operational-excellence/

Christopher Roberts Frank Alpert, (2010),”Total customer engagement: designing and aligning key strategic elements to achieve growth”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 19 Iss 3 pp. 198 – 209. Retrieved on September 15, 2016. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10610421011046175

Stone. G (n.d.) Employee engagement the challenge for business aviation. Retrieved on September 2015. Retrieved from http://www.graystoneadvisors.com/employee-engagement-the-challenge-for-business-aviatio

Peelen Ed. (2013) Customer relationship management. Volume Retrieved on September 14, 2016.

Peveto A (January 11, 2011) KLM Suprise: How a Little Research Earned 1,000,000 Impressions on Twitter. Retrieved on September 14, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.digett.com/2011/01/11/klm-surprise-how-little-research-earned-1000000-impressions-twitter


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