Hey, airlines, just be nice: report

Kindness and empathy can boost revenues

A new study advises airlines that it pays to be nicer to passengers frustrated with the growing tide of ancillary revenues and additional fees.

“Call it a back-to-basics mantra, but sometimes in a technology-riddled world we all can benefit from a few therapeutic reminders to reset our moral compasses,” says the report, Boost Ancillary Revenue through Empathy, Competence and Kindness, by US firm IdeaWorksCompany.

The report comes as airlines are hitting new lows in customer satisfaction surveys in the US.

It suggests the use of empathy for passengers – and fellow employees too – not just sympathy. This “injects the human element into the planning and decision-making process.”

For example, empathy may stop ancillary revenue managers from adding a la carte services on aircraft and at airports before knowing how operations, staffing and culture are affected, the report says.

Airline executives often implement confusing rules, such as preventing airline employees from buying tickets on the airline website or enrolling in the frequent-flier program. “The travel experience is stunningly disconnected from reality for airline executives,” the report says.

Carry-on bag limits and poorly organised websites are often confusing for customers. Lack of forethought and kindness turns bad fast, the report warns, especially in the era of social media.

Chicago Tribune

[pictured: American Airlines; courtesy oneworld]