Airline Customer Journey: How Quantum Metric Helps Passengers Get to their Final Destination
The airline customer journey is long and winding. It usually begins with passengers conducting online research on their destination of choice, whether it be Paris for a romantic getaway or Cabo for some R&R on the beach. And it usually ends after passengers return home, exhausted from days or weeks of travel.
In our post-Covid-19 world, passengers will put a premium on airlines that allow them to seamlessly handle nearly every part of their travel through an app, website, and kiosk. With so many moving parts in the passenger journey, airlines have ample opportunities to optimize the digital experience for their customers.
Quantum Metric, the platform for Continuous Product Design, has been assisting airlines like Alaska Airlines with managing the end-to-end customer journey for years. The platform helps airlines ensure that each digital channel is working as intended. This way, passengers can accomplish everything from researching travel arrangements to arriving at their final destination without a hitch.
What is airline customer journey mapping?
Airline customer journey mapping is the process of understanding how airline passengers book their flights, from an initial search to booking third-party services, such as hotel and car rentals.
Traditional customer journey mapping in practically every industry is over. Airlines are no exception.
Airlines have to attract customers through social media, emails, and other advertisements; sell tickets to customers; and then attempt to upsell ancillary services such as upgraded seats, priority boarding, and food. Throughout the entire journey, airlines need to offer support to customers who hit speed bumps such as cancelled flights or technical errors. If an airline succeeds, then they might even inspire customers to join their rewards program.
Airlines are full of physical, digital, and social touchpoints–with digital ones becoming more important every day. Thanks to digital transformation in the industry, airlines have had to continuously improve the user experience of internal apps for employees, mobile applications for passengers, kiosks, web browsers, and other digital channels.
Back in 2014, a Forrester report suggested that airlines were losing more than $1 billion by not enhancing the customer experience. In 2021, that means ensuring that each digital channel is intuitive, easy-to-use, and frictionless in the end-to-end airline customer journey.
Finding the right flight for your airline customer journey
Once settled on a destination, travelers begin researching the best airlines and flight routes to their destination. They may start the journey on Google Flights or a third-party travel service such as Expedia. Or if they are loyal members of an airline rewards program, they might begin directly on the airline’s website.
Airlines can encourage passengers to start the customer journey right from their mobile applications or desktop websites by building a standout user experience for displaying flight search results (FSRs). A good flight search results page displays all of the times and prices for your desired travel date and location. This makes it easier for passengers to see all of the options for arriving at their dream destination.
With Quantum Metric, airline teams can evaluate how effective their flight research results page is by measuring conversion rates–that is, how many customers actually purchase their flight from the search results.
Researching your destination
After buying tickets, travelers usually start to make accommodation arrangements at a hotel, or perhaps register for local tourist attractions–sometimes right from the airline’s mobile application.
Airline mobile applications and desktop websites can also provide helpful information on weather, hotel deals, restaurants, airport maps for transfers, guidebooks, currency info for foreign countries, visa & passport requirements for traveling abroad, translation services, Covid-19 restrictions, and more.
Selling ancillary products
Expanding into third-party services
As the economy rebounds from the pandemic, airlines will need to shift their roadmaps if they hope to become profitable. Business travel–which was previously the bread and butter of most airlines–is just resuming. Travel for vacations, on the other hand, is already starting to bounce back. This means that airlines need to readjust their business plans and reimagine the customer journey.
Earlier this year, JetBlue announced the launch of Paisly. This new service offers JetBlue customers personalized recommendations for hotel stays, car rentals, theme park tickets, and more. For JetBlue and other airlines expanding into OTA services, this means that the customer journey will only continue to grow in complexity.
Now let’s say you’re an airline. Getting the passenger to book a flight with you is just step one. You need to upsell ancillary products and services, such as priority boarding, checked bags so travelers can bypass lines, upgraded seats for economy class, and buying bundles.
Airlines can upsell at so many different points in the customer journey, such as at the time of purchase, check-in, and while managing reservations.
Quantum Metric, then, enables airline teams to track conversion rates for each upselling category and at each stage in the customer journey, as well as quickly identify any design features that are inhibiting conversions, such as a poorly placed button or confusing copy.
Boosting loyalty programs
For airlines, loyalty programs for business and leisure travelers are one of the most important customer segments, since they fly more frequently and spend more money with the airline. In fact, airlines should quickly address any issue impacting their loyalty members.
To continue delivering value to loyal customers, airlines should strive to continuously enhance the user experience of their loyalty programs, which can involve reducing unnecessary steps in a workflow or streamlining the process of making a payment.
4 minute product tour of how to use Quantum Metric to delight VIP guests
At some point in the customer journey, airline passengers spend time managing their reservation. This might require checking in a bag, looking at alternative flight options, or changing your seat using the seat map feature.
But clumsy designs and technical errors can make it difficult for passengers to manage their reservation.
If an individual passenger is having trouble, then customer support agents can look them up using Quantum Metric by retrieving their passenger name and record (usually confirmation ID or frequent flyer number).
To help airlines step into the customers’ shoes and understand which features are negatively impacting the digital experience, Quantum Metric enables airline employees to watch high fidelity session replays. The Continuous Product Design platform’s uniquely secure data capture method, device level encryption, ensures that any personal information is encrypted and secured. Sensitive data is encrypted on each customer’s device, so data is always encrypted when it is sent and stored. Airline employees can then look up similar errors to see how many other customers have been impacted by similar moments of customer friction.
Keeping passengers safe in the airline customer journey
Hackers like to take advantage of human vulnerability and steal personal information, even from airlines. One of the biggest fraud use cases in the industry is people trying to steal login credentials for high profile flyers in order to steal their miles.
Quantum Metric’s anomaly detection technology helps to solve this problem by alerting teams of multiple login attempts or of nonhuman bot traffic that performs repetitive actions, such as continuously copying and pasting login information.
Enhancing airport kiosks
Quantum Metric is deployed on airport kiosks, both at check-in and at boarding gates.
Some airlines are investing in replacing gate agents with kiosks in order to reduce the number of times airline workers need to come into close contact with passengers. Down the road, these kiosks will enable passengers to check a bag that won’t fit in the overhead bin, print an additional boarding pass, and more.
With Quantum Metric, airline teams can track impressions, identify moments of customer friction that are impacting large user segments, and retrieve information for a specific passenger record.