To build positive customer memory relative to the brand experience, and engage sales at the point of “next,” we need to understand customer impressions and expectations of existing technologies.
Looking across the entire customer journey, most airlines today have limited engagement with customers through their digital platforms. Rather than being customer centric, the systems are designed to trigger contacts focused internally on the needs of the organization: bulk destination promotions, generic loyalty promotions, uniform reservations interfaces and canned updates on flight status.
All of these are based on systems familiar to airlines from the pre-digital, even the analogue, era. Layering a digital platform on this fixed foundation grounds the brand and the customer in the journey process of the past, and squanders the flexible, adaptable and responsive capabilities of modern digital and mobile solutions.
That aft-facing digital system design not only feels stale to consumers, it also leaves gaps through which cost benefits of more efficient platforms are lost and revenue-generating opportunities are missed. The right customer experience may encourage some increase in bookings, as well as ancillary purchases at the time of booking, but they have no significant impact on the consumer.
There is also a heavy cost to brand definition. Choppy, anonymous digital interfaces simply do not generate sufficient “aha” moments to spread a positive word about the brand, encourage more travelers to use these digital systems and create a positive buzz around the airline. This comes during a time when travelers and digital natives are engaged on social media. With nothing dramatically positive to chat about, the group conversation focuses around brand fails, reinforcing negative impressions in the group.