I am lucky enough to be spending some time in Spain this week and next, the weather is infinitely better than the UK and there is something really relaxing about sitting writing whilst sat at the side of a practically deserted pool with an ice cold diet coke, with just the tiniest hint of sunburn on one knee… However I digress.
There are in life, queues that we all end up in and know will be long and NONE more stressful than the scrummage to check into a flight. We have all seen the 8 or 10 check-in desk staff, looking like they will drop as they say to literally thousands of people ‘did you pack your bags yourself?’. This is because most people by the time they actually reach the front of the queue are more worried about missing the checking slot for their flight! This is the reality of a customer experience in an airport.
We ALL have smartphones now and we all have apps like the easyJet app with virtual boarding cards on it. We all have mobile phones that airlines ask for the numbers of when we book the flights – it is time to make use of them!
I was not quite so lucky at Luton this trip. I checked in in about 30 minutes and long before the check-in closed BUT my flight was delayed by 3 hours (thank goodness for the lounge access). We were left wondering what was going on as our flight slipped further and further down the board. Nobody communicated the delays with us at all. Nobody seemed to know…
However, there is a need in these ‘high stress’ situations to be able to manage the customer experience as you do everything else on your flight. After all, you can check-in on line. You can ‘bag drop’ to the fast bag drop and you can… stand in a queue for everything else, which always leaves us thinking ‘could they open just one more check in desk.
There is a role for Qudini in three area’s of an airport immediately (and they are things that currently airlines treat as premium services – thus could charge for).
Firstly, booking your slot at Check-in. We checked in online a month before we flew and picked our seats, so we could easily have reserved a check-in slot using Qudini’s queue management software and then turned up at our desk at our allotted time and just checked in – much like a queue jump tickets at a theme park (without the rides). For travellers like me, this would reduce the anxiety of ‘will I miss the flight, will check in close’, and make me feel just that bit more important to the airline.
We paid £3 each to priority clear security, we would happily have paid further to have speedy check-in at an allocated time at an allocated desk.
Great to have received a text message the day before, the morning of and an hour before the appointment and 15 minutes before reminding me of my time. something as tailored as ‘please go to desk 46 and Abigail will check you in’ this we can do at Qudini and help you build it into your CRM system – so when there is an issue and you are justifying yourselves, you can show the customer that you did everything you could.
The second area would be priority boarding! People either pay for this or get this included in higher priced tickets. This is a great way of reminding these guests that they need to be at the gate early and that they need to make their way to the gate faster.
I can see a wider use for customer experience management solutions at airports for the airport management staff. being able to communicate with the passenger via something other than those infernal in-audiable PA systems. Would Mrs A N Other flying to crackle hiss, please make her way to… We have all heard that and wondered if she did!
How many times have you been sat on the plane and the Steward says ‘sorry we are still waiting for passengers’?
All airline tickets are reservations, so reminding someone 60 minutes 30 minutes and 15 minutes before their flight, when they are flying and which gate seems obvious yet NO airlines have yet done it – let alone the airport themselves who manage the display boards that you spend ages looking for your flight on.
What about collecting your pre-ordered duty free? a message telling you it is ready for collection and not to forget it.
Late passengers mean that airlines may miss their take off slot and that costs an airline BIG money as well as delays. With hundreds of flights a day, air traffic can not just ‘slot’ another flight in on the fly as it were!
Those boards, whilst I am writing, are a HUGE bane of my life – because my flight is always 3 or 4 pages away from the page I am looking at… Or they are just far enough from the seat I have bagged for me to see clearly. What I want is a message to me and the 200 or so travellers on my flight saying ‘ your flight is delayed until X, sorry for the issue’ or ‘sorry for the delay, please accept this voucher as a 25% discount in on-line refreshments’ that will get the people who do not buy drinks in the retail units spending!
All of it based around improving the journey and the customer experience.
Vacation time is always great – it is the time we spend in Airports that wear most of us out… I am glad I do not have the added stress of children. What do you do with them when you have huge delays???
We flew easyJet this trip and the plane was excellent, the air team great, the delay was nobody’s fault as the scheduled plane had a fault. However there was no way of the airline telling us the issues and managing our expectations which is a shame because it marred the experience. Especially when other guests were sat around downstairs of falling asleep.
All Airlines should now be looking at Virtual customer journey and experience management solutions and as Qudini is the best solution out there and the very best cloud based solution – it should be us they look too.
Qudini is a creator of cloud based software solutions to manage both physical and virtual customer journey’s and help business maximise its revenue potential through improved customer experiences… Our solutions are tailored especially for you and designed to be part of your business. Find out more here.
– Peter Marsh – Director of Enterprise Business at Qudini