LivePerson recently conducted a survey to uncover what consumers wanted from their preferred airlines in terms of customer service communications. After surveying 1,200 U.S.-based consumers age 18+ who travel four or more times a year, they found that messaging plays a key role in increasing the overall satisfaction consumers feel with their preferred airlines. These preferences can be incorporated into any digital marketer's arsenal, however.
Some highlights include:
- 70% of travelers would communicate with their preferred airline over messaging if given the ability
- Overall, consumers see their preferred airlines’ customer service quality second to their banks’, but better than their wireless or cable providers’
- When it comes to gate changes, cancelled flights, delays and overbooked planes, travelers overwhelmingly prefer to be notified via messaging instead of emails or automated calls
Airline app wish list
Fifty-two percent of those surveyed reported they had downloaded their preferred airline’s app. Of those who don’t have an airline’s app downloaded, 24.8% reported not downloading it because they didn’t find it helpful. Airlines looking to improve upon this number, take note: When asked what would entice them to download the app, top incentives included a discount on the price of their next ticket (61%), a free upgrade on their next flight (49%), or a free checked bag (45%).
Advertisers in the travel industry, or any providing customer service, can keep these wish list items in mind when designing and improving apps for Android devices. The new AudienceSCAN survey found 48% of Americans primarily use Android phones.
Messaging: preferred by travelers
When it comes to the many changes that can happen to airline travel plans, survey respondents overwhelmingly prefer to hear about these changes via messaging. More than 70% of all respondents selected messaging as their preferred method of notification — above email and automated calls — for gate changes, flight cancellations, flight delays, and overbooked flights. Additionally, 67% of travelers would like to be able to respond to messages containing their travel updates.
When it comes to hiccups, major changes and alerts, it looks like text messages are the way to go. This is useful information for other by-appointment service providers too. Spas, salons, auto mechanics can all benefit from using SMS to better communicate with customers. The new AudienceSCAN survey revealed 31% of Android App Users took action after receiving mobile smartphone app ads or text message ads in the past month.
In fact, the only circumstance in which consumers preferred to reach a customer service agent via an 800 number was regarding lost luggage: In this case, 55% of the total travelers surveyed would rather pick up the phone and call an 800 number to find their luggage. When you take a closer look, however, this preference does not hold for those aged 18–34. Of the younger demographic, 54% preferred messaging to calling in regard to lost luggage.
The new AudienceSCAN study showed that in the past 6 months, 16% of Android App Users have used the internet via browser, tablet, mobile phone or other connected device to resolve a customer service issue or problem.
"While airlines have been slower than other industries to move in this direction, according to Rurik Bradbury, LivePerson's head of research, there are lots of incentives to do so, including mobile check-in and incentives to create engagement," Harvey Chipkin wrote in Marketing:Travel. "There is much more immediacy to messaging than email, said Bradbury, and customized alerts can be created for individual customers. “You could do chat boxes inside threads to offer upgrades where a traveler would just swipe yes” (à la Tinder)."
"As a marketer, it’s not knowing if a message has been viewed that is a problem, said Bradbury. With messaging, vendors have receipts when a message is opened and a much higher open rate to boot."
There is no better time to double down on meeting customers’ needs. One of the most effective ways to do this, based on LivePerson's survey, is offering consumers the ability to communicate with the customer care team the same way consumers prefer to communicate with their family and friends — through messaging.