Nowadays ensuring customer engagement and delivering customer value in the airline industry is more important than ever. The market has become highly competitive, and both low-cost and traditional carriers need to differentiate themselves through customer experiences. In this enormously fast growing technological age, where customers can easily review, connect and rate with family, friends and businesses online, we can say that the need for an excellent customers service in the physical arena is a must (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). The physical environment in the airline industry is the place where everything takes place. By engaging with a desk clerk upon arrival at the gate, or by asking a steward for another beverage during the flight, the customer’s experience can range from poor to positive on a very quick sliding scale. Debatably, the quality of the consumer’s psychical experience enables the customer to discuss his immediate complaints, needs or positive reviews on the internet.
When we are talking about the physical spaces in the airlines industry, it is most often referred to the airport and the in-flight experiences. An in-flight customer service is a mix of several intangible and tangible factors. It’s not just the physical objects but also performances and experiences that count. Examples of the physical objects are the seats, meals and baggage. However, there are two things that make in-flight experience worth every penny. One is how passengers are attended to during the flight and the other is the in-flight amenities. From safety briefings, to serving drinks and food, from first aid to final cabin check, flight attendants must be thoroughly trained to graciously handle customers’ requests. All these aspects together contribute to how clients perceive the flight and its value, and consequently, shape the image of a brand (Wiedmann & Labenz, 2016).
There are several airlines that are highly recognized for their customer service, whereas some other airlines just bite the dust. Nevertheless, the tough competition is driving every airline to provide superior services than the rest. Singapore Airlines has the top position for being the best customer service oriented airline. Unfortunately, Emirates slipped from number two to three with slightly demoted customer service and value and scores. However, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any loopholes seen in the in-flight service nowadays. Every now and then people also fall victim to the inconsistency of the service standards. Things don’t always go as planned sometimes. Luckily, this would be just a one in a million case. “On a 14 hour flight, cabin crew did not come to my seat with water even once”, said an anonymous Emirates Airways passenger. In this neck and neck competition of winning a loyal customer base, the airline industry needs to realize the fact that customers need more than just a carrier (Ali, 2013). Attending to customer needs is not an option but it became a part of their duty. In conclusion, the physical engagement arena is the most important arena for airlines in order to satisfy their customers.
Ali, Z. (2013). The Brave New World of In-Flight Customer Service . Retrieved from Customer Service: http://www.customerservice.ae/the-brave-new-world-of-in-flight-customer-service-2
Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Harlow: Pearson
Wiedmann, K., & Labenz, F. (2016). Soothe Your Senses: A Multisensory Approach to Customer Experience Management and Value Creation in Luxury Tourism. Retrieved from European Business Review: http://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/soothe-your-senses/