By taking important events in customers’ lives into consideration, the relationship policy of airline companies can be further fine-tuned. These companies need to start considering what is going on in the life of each of their customers, what are the critical meaningful periods, when do important changes take place and how can we be relevant during those periods? (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). These occasions could prove to be extremely beneficial to both the company and its clients. Customer engagement could be taken to a whole new level for the airline industry.
The organisation will have to begin considering what in each customers’ feelings, thoughts and actions could be relevant to the value that they might provide. The Empathy Map in the figure below is a good model to use at this stage, devised by Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010). This map is designed to develop a certain level of customer focus by encouraging an organisation to consider the world through the eyes and ears of the customer. It creates a more complete understanding of the emotional, physical and social experience that the customer is undergoing. (Peelen, & Beltman, 2013).
(Peelen & Beltman, 2013)
American Airlines for example maintains a comprehensive frequent flyer program that rewards customer loyalty with the promise of free flights, upgrades, and discounts (Marketing-schools, 2012). But if they were to create closer relationships with their clients they may be able to adapt their programs to offer more specific rewards that create more value for the client. If they were to take their clients most important life events into account they could offer rewards, such as they are already offering, but then for the meaningful periods in their lives rather than just offering rewards based on how frequently they fly.
An example of this could be, if one of their frequent flyers has just gotten married, they may be searching for a honeymoon destination, the airline could take advantage of this life event and offer a deal on a flight for 2 to a particular honeymoon destination. The relationship between company and customer then deepens as the company has provided a unique opportunity and value in the customers’ life.
Airlines that implement customer life events into their relationship marketing policies will be able to create more value for their clients. These organisations show their clients that they are taking their feelings, thoughts and actions into account, thus creating a closer bond with their clients while optimizing the customer satisfaction.
Marketing-schools. (2012). Relationship Marketing: Explore the Strategy of Relationship Marketing. Retrieved 23 September, 2016, from http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/relationship-marketing.html
Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Pearson Education Benelux BV