The 5th Battleground: Customer Service

By David Griffiths & Natasha Tanzil

VP Content, Head of Insight & Insight Consultant
3 minute read

Response times, or commonly a lack of response, have been major drivers of negative sentiment with passengers through this period. While Passengers understand the situation and are empathetic towards airline representatives trying their best to work during this chaotic time, there is still a way to go.

This week our Battleground series continues with an exploration of 91 million Customer Service conversations and passenger perceptions of how Airlines and travel businesses have responded to the Covid19 Pandemic.

Worryingly for an industry that had worked tirelessly to become more passenger focused, we’ve seen a 1097% increase in the past 3 months in passengers looking for assistance but talking about difficulty in getting it. A large part of this is passengers feeling they’re less able to connect with airlines due to call centres being on reduced hours or businesses still reeling from the knock-on effects prior closures for instance.

In person, these relationships haven’t fared much better. Interactions with Customer Service representatives saw a 14% decline in sentiment cumulatively, although a good portion of this (25%) was being driven by third parties representing airlines, booking services and the like, who in a vacuum of information don’t seem to be responding well.

It has not been all bad though. As the world reopens and more people take to the skies the burden of control and types of interactions have moved favourably into the airlines and airports remit. This is evident in the types of personnel we hear passengers referencing in their interactions - averaging 251% growth across Airline and Airport employees. This is definitely cause for celebration as across these interactions we’ve seen a 67% growth in positive issue resolution. To support even further here we’d recommend supporting customers with Follow Ups after the fact. This area of problem resolution has been almost as positively charged amongst passenger conversations as the resolution itself.

This type of human connection is not to be underestimated as we work to re-establish passenger trust and rebuild confidence. And the caring goes both ways as well. The largest driver we’ve seen in positive passenger sentiment in the Customer Service conversation has been from airlines and airports demonstrating real care for their staff and crew. This area has grown by 754% in importance to passengers and generated a 118% increase in positive

sentiment. A rare win-win on the path to rebuilding passenger confidence that also serves to increase crew confidence.

David Griffiths,
Head of Insight Fethr
VP Content Black Swan


Natasha Tanzil,
Insight Consultant

Thank you for reading, and for more information or to explore any of the above in any further detail please get in touch with Patrick Prefontaine at patrick.prefontaine@blackswan.com or by using the contact form below.

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