Between reading about the recent addition of ICE (Interactive Customer Experience’) TV and Mobile programs, a virtual, interactive concierge service, to the newly opened JW Marriott Indianapolis Downtown and learning the results of the most recent J.D. Power and Associates study on customer satisfaction‘wherein automated response systems did nearly as well as the industry average satisfaction level’it seems clear that automated customer service and customer service systems are a trend with staying power. American Airlines, as we discussed last week, also offers mobile applications to keep customer experiences stress free, such as the Mobile Boarding Pass system.
With a general public that is increasingly using smart phones to text and tap their way through the day, it’s hardly surprising that some would prefer to address customer service issues in this manner. Why dial an 800 number and wait to speak to a service representative, when you can call up the Internet or an app from your mobile device for immediate answers? What was once simply the realm of Interactive Voice Response technology now includes elements such as text, touch and visual inputs and outputs.
What is your company doing when it comes to automated response systems and mobile technology? Do you see mobile apps as a potential time and money saving device? Or is developing and maintaining mobile technology seen as an additional unneeded expense? If you are developing mobile technology, will it be proactive’such as the American Airlines or ICE applications, which address customer needs before a problem arises’or reactive, such as a direct link to customer service questions? Share with us in the comments!
Allen Howell of Forbes.com covers the interesting topic of airline customer service regulation. We thought the question was particularly thought-provoking so we’re opening it to our Customer 1st readers. What do you think?
As Howell points out in his article, the question of government influence with customer service can be tricky, especially with a government regulated industry like air travel.
Let us know your thoughts via Twitter!
I came across a recent article that looked at how Spirit Airlines has begun charging for carry on luggage in addition to checked luggage. While they charge for checked bags, this new rule allows for individuals to carry anything on that will fit under the seat, but charge for anything that must go in an overhead bin.
While customers were clearly not in mind when this decision was made, who much will it affect those already flying Spirit Airlines? This is a budget airline, so fliers do fly it in order to save their money. So will they be willing to spend a few extra dollars to bring a bag on board? Or will this new fee result in customers looking to other airlines? They may be able to spend the same amount of money on another airline and carry their luggage on.
What do you think a decision like this does for the customer?
Read the full reaction article from Brent Batten here.
According to the LA Times, many airlines are seeing an increase in quality of customer service. Through the first seven months of 2009, 79% of US flights were on time, as opposed to 75% during the same time in 2008. The claims to lost luggage also dropped 1 bag per 1,00o people from 4.87 last year to 3.89 this year. One factor contributing to the increase in customer service could be because there are fewer flights in the skies, which means more fewer customers for the airlines to work with.
What do you think about the increase in customer service? As a frequent flier, customer service may have improved, but has the general experience of flying increased? While fewer bags were lost, how much of an impact did airlines new charges for checking bags decrease the number of checked bags?
JetBlue will be joining us at NACCM: Customers 1st to present the keynote speech “Fueling Loyalty within a Mile High Customer-Centric Culture” on Tuesday, November 3. Find out more about the speech here.
Southwest, a company already well respected for the way it treats its customers, now has a new option for those calling in to their service center. The company has begun using Virtual Hold, a service that allows customers to call the service centers, and if the wait is too long, will call the customer back when the next customer service representative is available. Sitting on hold is a pet peeve of many customers, and Southwest has already been praised for this new initiative.
The new offering has reportedly earned the airline high marks from customers ‘ some of whom twittered about it.
‘Companies: In an age of cell phones, don’t make me sit on hold. Call me back when it’s my turn, like Southwest just did,’ one customer ‘tweeted’ on the popular social networking site, according to the release.
Read the full article here.
Kimberley Palmer of USNews and World Report, recently posted a podcast with author, Emily Yellin, a keynote speaker at this year’s Customers 1st Conference and author of the book Your Call Is (not that) Important to Us: Customer Service and What It Reveals About Our World and Our Lives. It looks at the world of customer service. She explains to Ms. Palmer why companies force us to spend so much time on hold, or otherwise frustrated, when their products and services give us problems. She also tells us what to do about it. Its definitely an interesting listen and we encourage you to check it out.
Tulsa World reports that all 17 airlines have improved their customer service ratings in 2008 from 2007, which was the worst-ever performance year for airlines. One reason for this is the reduced traffic and capacity cuts due to the deteriorating economy. However, this did lead to improved services such as better on time performance, baggage handling, denied boardings and fewer customer complaints. Hawaiian Airlines ranked #1 for customer service, and Southwest continued to have the fewest number of customer complaints.
Top 10 airlines in quality rankings:
2008 Airline ranks
- Air Tran
- US Airways