“Moving loyalty schemes to smartphones is the obvious next step, as it means customers have access to the brand or retailer’s latest deals and their scheme membership wherever they are” (Pritchard, 2015).
Channel preferences have changed overtime and consumers expect to use a broad variety of communication channels when searching for new products and services. With technology changing drastically, airlines have transformed the way they manage their customer base and engage consumers. Even though customer relationship management software has been around for some time, there is a growing trend of implementing mobile apps for customer relationships. Mobile users are inviting airlines into a more personal aspect of their lives as they have been using their phones like extensions of who they are. From this new dynamic, it means that the airline industry can develop deeper connections with their customers through digital channels.
The CRM strategy and multichannel approach should lead the development of the mobile channel. It is quite easy to get carried away when it comes to technological features and possibilities, but it should be more about supporting the customer experience. If consumers can use mobile channels to book flights or make payments on the go easier and safer then customer value is being created (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). Creating a personalized experience through mobile apps is one element of the digital arena that will become even more important in the future. Airline mobile apps have become popular because services such as check-in and electronic boarding passes offer an immediate benefit to the passenger experience. To encourage app usage, airlines need to think beyond simple promotions, and look at integrating technologies; including mobile payments and location awareness, so the app knows if you are at home, at work or travelling.
An airline that has surpassed its competitors is Qantas Airways who is creating customized experiences and offers through their mobile apps. Since 2007 Qantas has made a major push by collecting and analyzing their customer’s behaviors, preferences, purchases and demographics to increase sales and customer engagement. Prior to their flight, passengers can download their favorite newspapers and magazines in more than 60 languages, from across 100 countries. Once a passenger downloads the Qantas App on his or her smartphone, passengers can read it anywhere, anytime. Additional to this is the Qantas Joey Play box which is an app for children that encourages them to design their own airport, help prepare the runway for planes to take off, collect baggage, and decorate digital paper planes, postcards and bags. They can also scan their Qantas boarding pass to unlock additional features for the planes and postcards, which they can then share with friends and family (Sydney, 2015).
To conclude, airlines can own their relationships with their customers by creating timely, relevant and customized content to maximize customer engagement. Today it is not enough to only know who your customers are but also where they live, travel, shop and how much time they spend on their trips. Using mobile engagement to create customer loyalty will be a useful tool in the airline industry as it helps to personalize their travel experience. Customers will see your company as more than just airline but more of a human organization that is capable of listening to their needs and desires.
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. United Kingdom: Pearson Education Unlimited.
Pritchard, S. (2015, 9 8). Loyalty schemes must keep pace with mobile. Retrieved from Raconteur: http://raconteur.net/business/loyalty-schemes-must-keep-pace-with-mobile
Sydney. (2015, 12 22). Qantas Designs Kids Ipad App just in time for the holidays. Retrieved from Qantas News Room: http://www.qantasnewsroom.com.au/media-releases/qantas-designs-kids-ipad-app-just-in-time-for-the-holidays/
Sydney. (2016, 3 21). Qantas Frequent Flyers to earn points for ‘walken’. Retrieved from Qantas News Room: http://www.qantasnewsroom.com.au/media-releases/qantas-frequent-flyers-to-earn-points-for-walken/