By Daryn Mason, CX Evangelist, Oracle UK
It’s been a tough year for airlines. Both major carriers and low-cost players have endured a wave of bad press highlighting their treatment of customers, and more recently around their refusal to compensate passengers in the case of delays.
It’s easy to blame a flight attendant or reservations agent when these issues come up, but a company’s approach to customer service stems from a number of factors – boardroom attitudes, employee engagement, and employee training.
1. Buy-in from the boardroom down
Above all else, excellent customer service is the product of a company’s own culture. If boardroom leaders don’t prioritize the customer experience it is unlikely that department heads or their teams will feel inspired to do so. There will always be some employees who go the extra mile for customers, but as a general rule inspiration comes from on high.
All Nippon Airways’ (ANA’s) director of IT innovation and strategy, Yuko Yoshimura, may have said it best: “If a customer feels that [we] value their time, there is joy that they chose ANA.” That mentality has translated to continuous praise and growth for the airline, which this year won the SKYTRAX award for “Best Airline Staff in Asia” and came in third among the world’s top airlines.
2. Empowering employees to help customers
It’s not enough to want to help customers. Customer service teams and representatives need the resources and power to deliver on that promise.
This might mean providing teams with technologies that put customer data at their fingertips and allow them to deliver a more personalized service, or simply giving them a budget to use at their discretion towards helping individual customers. In either case, employees will feel more engaged and empowered and by consequence provide customers with a better service.
3. Training teams to go above and beyond
The third pillar of great customer service is proper training. In this age of self-service, people who take time to speak with a brand representative are going out of their way because their case is too complex for simple, automated responses. Service teams must be trained to help in these cases, and to go beyond the hard facts on their screen to ensure customers walk away feeling everything has been done to help them.
Not every request can be fulfilled, nor can every problem be solved, but a brand’s reputation is ultimately the sum of every impression its employees have made on customers over time. With that in mind, a positive approach to customer service is even more important than the individual outcomes along the way.
Want to learn more?
Download this practical guide to driving your business towards customer-centricity, and learn why customer service teams should be at the heart of the journey.