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Measuring Covid-19's Impact on Airline Customer Experience

NPS Prism data reveals that, while safety is the top concern, other “moments of truth” can still matter.

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Measuring Covid-19's Impact on Airline Customer Experience
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The pandemic has redefined what it takes to deliver a great customer experience in the airline industry.  Some of the changes are intuitive, such as a renewed customer focus on traveler safety. But even when customer needs are relatively clear, some airlines are adapting more quickly and successfully than others.

Since the start of the pandemic, airlines have instituted new safety measures and policy changes, including a comprehensive cleanliness battery designed to make airplane interiors as safe as possible.  Net Promoter ScoreSM (NPS®) data suggests that airlines that more successfully address these safety concerns are rewarded with higher customer NPS scores.

But in this new Covid-19 world, do customers care about anything other than travel safety?  Yes they do—the customer’s loyalty to an airline is driven by experiences across multiple “moments of truth.”

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Using episode-level data from NPS Prism we can see that some trip activities, such as redeeming loyalty program miles for a cabin upgrade or vacation package, continue to delight customers despite the pandemic.  Other activities, such as flight cancellations and rebookings, have become even more important “moments of truth,” in which a customer’s loyalty can be maintained or lost. 

These insights are snapshots in time across the full customer base.  Things get even more compelling when examined by customer segment (e.g., business vs. leisure), reservation channel (e.g., digital-first vs. call center) and other factors linked to airline economics.  In the coming months we will share a series of insights about the emerging customer experience during Covid-19 recovery, and highlight what matters most to NPS, loyalty and airline financial performance. 

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Net Promoter Score℠ is a service mark, and NPS® a registered trademark, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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