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The value in the carriage of luggage…

June 17th, 2013

Kinny Cheng

Lori Ranson, writing for The APEX Editor’s Blog:

Fees that once created a fortress for airline’s against wildly volatile fuel prices have now become a robust revenue stream as data from the US Department of Transportation show that baggage fees collected by carriers between 2008 and 2012 jumped more than 200% from $1.1 billion to $3.5 billion.

But as US airlines have enjoyed the significant revenue generated from bag fees, passengers have seen little value from paying for a service that was once complimentary.

When the airlines begin to make it obvious that customers are nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s only typical for consumers to finally see the light and consider the lesser evil alternatives.

The article also addresses the concern of how such added charges can come with added expectations (by the paying passenger) where service delivery is concerned. Again, such belief or thinking is only human nature…

Ancillary revenue efforts started with the budget carriers, and they slowly became an industry-wide practice. With the playing field somewhat more level now, it begs the question of where true (customer) values really lies.

Singapore Airlines to further enhance the passenger experience?

June 12th, 2013

Kinny Cheng

Via The Examiner:

The new customer experience management (CEM) system will be implemented during the second half of 2014. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed, but the award is one element of a multi-million-dollar investment program by SIA to further enhance the experience of its customers.

The new system will allow airline personnel to more even more efficiently address passenger’s desires.“Service Excellence has always been a key pillar of Singapore Airlines’ brand promise, enabling us to retain our position as the world’s most awarded airline for many years,” said Senior vice president product & services, Mr. Tan Pee Teck.

“But we cannot take our leadership position for granted. IT is a critical enabler that helps us continue enhancing our customer service offerings. The new CEM system will be an important element to help our staff on the ground and in the air take customer service to the next level.”

It’s both amusing and condescending to learn just how Singapore Airlines (SIA) seem completely oblivious to the need of addressing those other customer service vitals, such as their infamous web site that has not gone like clockwork ever since its launch more than two years ago. It’s an ongoing problem that the airline has not formally owned up to, nor have they done close to enough in correcting the dysfunctional user experience.

While SIA may still excel in providing a unique level of inflight cabin service delivery throughout all classes, their ignorance to social media is not painting a pretty picture for the airline, which has consistently prided themselves for offering some the best all-round customer service. Those who’ve had the opportunity to deal with SIA on Twitter, like myself, would’ve mostly walked away with sour grapes.

They’ve missed the point for so long now. One wonders if all this is going to be a waste of time also.

Back to basics: What really matters…

June 10th, 2013

Kinny Cheng

Stathis Kefallonitis, Founder of branding.aero:

The service-based experience of the airline industry is often overlooked. A number of airlines promote their ‘superiority’ based on their new aircraft, destinations and buy-on-board services. Yet the number of airlines operating on the same routes, with similar aircraft types, the wealth of transport modes available to passengers, and the availability of buy-on-board services reveal a different picture.

These factors alone are not game-changers. What really matters is the passengers’ experience when flying on a particular airline. Carriers often translate their brand into product and service features with much success. The key to becoming noticed lies on a simple principle: be different, be simple, and – most importantly – leave a memorable impression. From booking a reservation to collecting baggage, passenger contact points must capture and reflect what the airline brand stands for.

Big companies thinking big — that’s just typical.

Going back to the very basics that makes brands, and their products and/or services, truly matter to (and easily identifiable) by consumers is what the airlines — and any other company out there competing for a slice of the pie — should be getting their own thinking staff in doing.

It’s not rocket science. Really.

Become an airport VIP through Facebook…

June 1st, 2013

Kinny Cheng

Airport World Magazine:

Eindhoven Airport has become the first airport in the world to integrate Facebook in the passenger journey.
Customer’s can sign up to Eindhoven’s Facebook VIP scheme when they ‘like’ the airport on the social networking website.

[…]

The advantages of the VIP programme are:

– Free parking at the entrance of the terminal
– Personal accompaniment
– Free breakfast, lunch or dinner
– Fast track security

Sweet!

(That is, if you use Facebook.)

But how about the sustainability of such a programme? What real benefits are gained (by the airport) through the offering of such services to select Facebook users, which are chosen at random?

Perks are always good for the end-user. But I don’t see any true value being translated for the airport in question, apart from the possibly-greater customer satisfaction that’s being attributed by the benefits being made available.

It doesn’t read as an effective customer engagement scheme, to be honest.

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