Customer Interaction Management in the Airline Industry
Introduction To Customer Interaction Management
As the pandemic subsided, people worldwide were eager to board planes and head to their long-delayed next vacations. However, the increased demand for travel left airports and airlines in a poor position. Many struggled with customer interaction management. Airlines, which have never been particularly highly regarded for their customer experience, dealt with non-stop delays, cancellations, and massive waits. Airports like Pearson Airport in Toronto, which was rated the worst in the world, had more than 50% of their flights delayed. It was a public relations disaster for the industry.
Negative headlines have subsided as things have returned to normal after the summer. However, there is no question that the need for improvements remains. The airport customer experience can feel slightly dehumanizing. Stringent security and waits are necessary. But, customers often feel they are funneled from one long line to another in an oft-high-stress environment. The waits are overlong, with a global average of 133 minutes, according to the Financial Times, and interactions with customer service staff are typically short and robotic.
For airlines hoping to shift the perception surrounding their customer service, implementing customer interaction management software like QLess is a solution to several core problems plaguing the industry. QLess is software implemented in industries ranging from government, retail, and education to air travel and logistics. We help companies better manage their customer flow and improve their overall experience.
In an airport setting, customer interaction management software can ease the burden on staff. It also gives customers added clarity and communication. This helps elevate what can often feel like an impersonal, stressful experience and enhance the public image of an airport. Let’s explore how QLess and customer interaction management can improve customer service and the travel experience.
What is Customer Interaction Management Software
Before we dive into detail about how these software solutions are transforming airports, let’s take a brief look at what they are and the features they offer. Customer interaction management is a tool that helps businesses manage communications and digital interactions between the enterprise and its customers. They can also help oversee in-person interactions as well. These tools increase customer loyalty and improve business processes while creating a more communicative, customer-friendly experience.
Customers can access customer interaction management software from desktop computers, on-site kiosks, or mobile phones. Typically, if an enterprise implements customer interaction management, it will have it running through multiple channels. This is so it’s easier for customers to access. It is a way of digitally controlling interactions so they are more efficient and scalable. With customer interaction management, enterprises can handle a broad range of customer demands simultaneously. Customers also can receive a personalized experience.
QLess is a customer interaction management software with several extremely useful features that make it an effective solution for airports and companies in the travel industry. For starters, bi-directional communication features allow staff and customers to message back and forth. QLess includes queue management software, where customers can enter virtual queues without needing to physically stand in line and wait. These virtual queues also showcase highly-accurate forecasted wait times. QLess also includes calendar management software which increases visibility and allows staff to have heightened control over their day-to-day.
These features make QLess a customer interaction management solution that will help airlines elevate the level of customer service provided. Let’s explore how the key features of a platform like this will contribute to better results for airports.
Focusing on the Airline Customer Experience
A customer interaction management solution is an excellent addition to an airport that has decided they want to compete on the customer experience. Centering your efforts on the customer experience will help you stand out to consumers who have developed low expectations of airports and airlines.
According to SuperOffice, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience, and one in three customers will leave a brand they love after just one negative experience. So focusing on this aspect of the business is incredibly important.
There’s a lot to consider when focusing on the airline customer experience. Helping your customers navigate the hectic nature of airports and travel is pivotal. But typically, customers feel like they are in the dark while in the airport. Squinting up on a screen filled with dozens of flight details. Then, they have to wait by a gate for a customer service agent. That agent is probably frantically reloading a web page to see important updates. This is all really common for many airlines. Communication and transparency are crucial ways for airline companies to provide their customers with the upgraded experience they crave.
With QLess and other customer interaction management software, businesses are better able to scale their communication. As a result of this capability, they can provide personalized communication to a large number of people at once. Take, for example, QLess’s bi-directional communication features. This allows customers and airline or airport staff to message back and forth. It also enables staff to send mass messages directly to their customers. If there are delays or changes, staff can message a huge group of people at once and receive responses back.
Communication is a core component of the customer experience. With air travel, communication can fall by the wayside. There is so much that is always up in the air (no pun intended). But your customers crave transparency, and they deserve to have clarity throughout their experience. The mass messaging and bi-directional communication features go a long way here. Staff can schedule messages, send mass messages to specific groups, or respond to customer inquiries. This will enable airline teams to provide a customer experience that offers more transparency. There’s an ease of access with a communicative, customer-facing approach powered by customer interaction management.
Reduce the Stress of Waiting
Waiting under any context can be stressful and irritating. But in an airport, the anxiety of a wait is massively amplified. There is a time crunch hanging over every customer’s head. If a customer is late and doesn’t make it to their gate in time, the plane will leave without them. Everyone has travel horror stories, and standing in line at an airport typically fills customers with stress. While waits are an inevitable component of the travel experience, there are ways to limit those feelings of anxiety.
The feelings of anxiety felt during an airport wait typically stem from a lack of clarity. If you are standing in line for security or check-in assistance, and all you see is a sea of people, you’re going to feel anxious. Most people in line at an airport are struggling in large part due to the uncertainty of the wait. It’s also difficult to access customer service representatives during this time.
One of the most impactful ways QLess can help elevate an airline or airport’s customer service is by transforming the waiting experience. QLess has a virtual queue system that helps digitize this pivotal part of the airport experience. The queue management software allows customers to join a virtual lineup remotely. They can monitor their spot in line and receive real-time updates about the projected wait time. This removes some of the uncertainty of the waiting experience. It also creates a less stressful, more transparent process. Customers can have a clearer sense of when to expect the line to end.
The virtual nature of this lineup means that customers can join remotely. Then, they can arrive at the front of the line when it is their turn. It also means that the waiting experience has a clear end in sight.
Research has shown that uncertain waits feel longer than known, finite wait times.
With QLess, airlines and airports can provide clear, helpful insights to their customers that show how long they can expect waits to be. With the communication features, they can send updates to the lines that further improve the transparency of the process. Rather than vague, anxiety-inducing waits, your customers can have up-to-the-minute insights on their waits. This will reduce the stress of travel queues.
Limit Wait Times
Waiting in line at the airport is a drag. For most customers, it is the worst part of the travel experience. According to Ergomania, reducing wait times is the biggest priority for the average airline passenger. As we’ve touched on, the stress of an intense time constraint only serves to make the waiting experience a tension-filled part of the customer journey. Long waits can drive loyal customers to your competitors. So it’s imperative to find a way to streamline these waits as an impactful way to increase customer retention. However, long waits are mostly considered a standard component of the airport experience.
Waits will happen because delays and customer service difficulties pile up. But with the automated queuing software of QLess, airlines can address interruptions to customer flow more quickly to ensure they don’t snowball into longer delays. This will ensure that wait times are reduced. With QLess customer interaction management software, enterprises in major sectors like government offices have managed to reduce the number of people waiting in line by up to 35%, contributing to increases in customer satisfaction by up to 100%. QLess helps cut wait times by helping enterprises adapt quicker to disruption.
The flexible queue management features allow enterprises to:
- Sort their customers into different lines.
- Move customers in and out of lines.
- Utilize artificial intelligence to automate the lineup. This removes the risk of human error in line management and ensures it is seamless and fast.
- Airlines can set priorities, such as customers on specific flights or cabins being moved to the front of the line.
These features provide heightened control over customer flow for airlines. This software empowers them with a wide range of features that can cut into wait times.
Reducing wait times would help airlines and airports hoping for improved customer success results. If there’s one thing the average traveler hates above all else, it is extended wait times. With the customer interaction management software of QLess, airlines and airports can address this issue head-on. Wait times can be reduced dramatically by automating virtual lineups. It allows employees to increase their control over customer flow.
Data-Driven Insights to Fuel Improvement
Customer service is a process. For most enterprises that have established strong reputations as customer service leaders, it is the result of years of growth and improvement. Part of that improvement is understanding with clarity where your enterprise is succeeding. It’s also important to understand where you’re failing and implement the necessary changes to amend issues. The QLess customer interaction management software helps enterprises adapt and learn from their mistakes by providing core features that help airlines better recognize the flaws in their customer experience.
QLess is used to help enterprises handle virtual interactions. This software is a highly impactful tool for offering insights into how customers have experienced these interactions. There are two key ways that this software does this. With business intelligence features, QLess shows objective data that helps enterprises see the black-and-white of the customer experience. With customer feedback features, customer service teams can solicit answers to important questions and learn more about what customers subjectively think about their interactions with an airline.
Business intelligence helps enterprises looking for advanced analytics that showcase exactly what is going on with their operation. Companies that leverage business intelligence can make rapid, informed adjustments that will lead to better outcomes.
According to Dataprot, enterprises that use business intelligence are 5x likelier to reach faster decisions than competitors that don’t.
With QLess’ data features, enterprises can see a plethora of useful information. Median wait times, the number of customers serviced daily, and the no-show percentage are right at your disposal.
This data can then be broken down into different segments. Airlines can see the times of day or days of the week where there are the longest customer delays. It also shows which staff teams are having the hardest time juggling customer flow. They can then implement changes that will impact these problems.
With QLess’ customer feedback features, airlines have an outreach tool to collect and store insights directly from their customers. Airlines can ask specific questions scheduled to be sent via SMS to customers right after they board or de-board. They can ask customers what they liked and disliked about their experience. This provides airlines with a heightened understanding of their customer satisfaction level. Learning where customers feel satisfied and where they desire improvement will help airlines create an excellent customer service standard.
The first step to improving customer service is understanding what needs improving. With the data insights and customer feedback from the QLess customer interaction management software, airlines can have a clear idea of the steps they need to take to optimize their customer experience.
Make Life Easier on Your Customer Service Agents
Airline staff faces a monumentally difficult task. The customers they deal with are often in massive rushes, frustrated by perceived mistakes, and often highly demanding. A short temper is the product of the stressed state of the average traveler. The staff are the ones that have to navigate the frustrations of an airline’s customer base. The requirements of frontline airline staff are substantial. They have to field customer questions, maintain contact with the flight team, and oversee logistics like tickets and baggage. These hard-working staff deserve solutions designed to make their jobs easier.
A customer interaction management platform can reduce the burden on staff. It provides them with a communication and organization tool that gives them heightened control. The QLess software allows staff to organize lines, message back and forth with customers, and provide mass updates. There is also a smart calendar that allows staff to have increased visibility into their day-to-day requirements.
The QLess customer service platform saves staff time because rather than informing customers individually of changes or updates, they can send a mass message and select the specific group that receives it. The platform will also likely improve the disposition of the average customer that service staff will be dealing with.
Customers at the tail-end of a long, agitating wait are naturally on edge. Long waits without clarity and communication are frustrating. Customers can also have short fuses with the staff they assume are responsible. But with QLess, the wait is shortened and more transparent. This reduces customer stress, meaning they are less likely to channel that frustration toward staff.
The smart calendar on QLess shows staff important upcoming events and appointment schedules and can be manually edited to implement changes. It is color-coded and can be segmented, giving staff an organization tool that is easy to use and effective. This is an industry where long wait times, customer frustrations, and difficulty with communication are long-standing problems. A customer interaction management platform is an impactful solution to these roadblocks.
An Omnichannel Touchpoint for Mobile-Driven Customers
Airlines seeking ways to stand out to their customer base must first understand the habits and tendencies of those customers. One of the defining aspects of the modern consumer is their dependency on smartphone technology. 85% of Americans own a smartphone, and that number continues to climb. Smartphones have become a staple of everyday life, integrated with everything from communication to shopping. That is why the importance of providing an omnichannel experience has surged in recent years.
An omnichannel experience is when an enterprise provides multiple touchpoints for its customers to further their experience. Typically, these touchpoints will combine a physical experience with a mobile one. Some airlines have been doing this in a peripheral way, like having gate change or flight delay notifications sent as SMS notifications to customers. But with customer interaction management platforms, airlines could lean into this trend that has become preferred by consumers worldwide.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 73% of customers prefer shopping through multiple channels.
This shopping preference should guide how airlines develop their customer service strategy. Relying purely on in-person, face-to-face interaction is outdated. Instead, blending a face-to-face strategy with digital communications will create an omnichannel customer experience that aligns with the preferences of the smartphone-driven modern consumer.
Providing options for your customers is an excellent way to meet the needs of different customers. Chances are, you will have some customers that prefer for their customer service interactions to be in-person. You will also have customers that crave the ease of access and speed that digital interactions provide. Giving both types of customers a customer service channel will allow your enterprise to fulfill the needs of a diverse population, each with unique preferences.
Omnichannel is the future in industries ranging from retail to air travel. Customers crave multiple touchpoints to increase the accessibility of the businesses they are using. With a customer interaction management platform, airlines can meet the preferences of a wide range of customers.
Customer Interaction Management Key Takeaways
The air travel industry might not have the best reputation for customer service. In fact, according to Forbes, airlines rank among the top five industries with the least satisfied customers. Naturally, an industry dealing with something as complicated and time-sensitive as air travel will have problems fulfilling the demands of its customer base. However, airlines must focus on improving their customer service to help overcome inevitable difficulties. They have to stand out from competitors and meet the needs of consumers.
One solution that airline companies have turned to is a customer interaction management platform. These software solutions enable businesses to add a digital component to their customer service offerings. This platform makes it easier for customers to contact them and ensures the process is more transparent. Customer interaction management help enterprises scale their customer service offerings to meet the individual demands of more customers at once than ever before.
QLess is a customer interaction management platform with unique features like business intelligence, customer feedback, bi-directional communication, and a virtual queue system. For airlines seeking software that will allow them to improve and scale their customer service offerings, the various features of QLess make it a high-impact solution. In an age of increasingly digitized customer service, QLess stands out as a customer interaction management platform that can elevate an airline’s customer experience.