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Customer Service – “Pain” or “Pleasure”?

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In this age of growing distrust of large corporations, I’m forever reading about poor customer service, so it’s hugely refreshing to be able to talk about a positive experience I had with easyJet, flying home from my recent summer holiday.

 

I was travelling with my 2 year old and 5 year old, and there were a number of families on the flight. We were all buckled in and ready to go and I was mentally working through my strategy for encouraging my 2 year old to stay in her seat when the pilot announced a 45 minute delay before we could take off. “Pain point!” the market researcher inside me screams! “Extreme pain point!” the mother inside me screams! There was an audible sigh from around the plane as parents started thinking up ways to entertain fractious children for the next 45 minutes. But, all credit to easyJet here. Communication from them was impeccable – they explained the reason for the delay – peak season traffic and reduced airspace due to thunderstorms – the expected length of delay and they apologised. And then, the cherry on top, they invited children to go and see the pilot in the cockpit.

 

Result – I’ve come home raving about how well easyJet managed the situation, my kids have been raving about going to see the cockpit, and easyJet have done rather well out of it all!

 

Customer-facing businesses regularly have to deal with situations which, like this one, are completely out of their control. Like it or not, it becomes a critical touchpoint on the customer journey. While the situation may be a negative one initially, the company has the opportunity to turn what is potentially a “pain point” (45 minutes caged in with young children before the plane even takes off anyone?) into a “pleasure point” for the customer. It doesn’t need to cost money, just a bit of common sense and knowledge about the customer needs. Understanding in advance where any potentially weak spots might be on the customer journey (delays like this one must be fairly common) can equip the business and the staff directly involved with the knowledge of what may crop up and what customers want to soothe the situation.

 

In many situations, it’s likely that all a customer needs to keep them happy is communication. I certainly appreciated being kept up to date with the delay to my flight, and crucially, being told WHY.  The fact that my children were entertained for me was an added bonus.

 

Author: Hannah Calderwood, Senior Research Associate for Research Oxford

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