Final Boarding Call for Trust

Author Bio

Author Bio

Building trust inside and out is key to seeing the safe return of planes to the skies.

Trust is vital as we move into whatever “normal” looks like in the near future. For the past four years, customer experience (CX) teams have helped businesses embrace customer-centricity and build trust with customers. 

Through processes like closed loop – where we actually go back to customers who provided feedback to say how we used it - we’ve reached out to customers to learn about their issues and to put things right. We’ve put change initiatives in place to align our companies to the customer’s expectations. This has reassured customers that their feedback will be listened to, and their data will be secure, gaining their trust.

It’s the same when it comes to buying products, services or booking travel, people buy from people they trust. Now more than ever, people will choose to fly with airlines they trust, after all, we are trusting the airlines maintenance of the aircraft every time we fly.

Trust is already there, whether we consciously thought about it or not, perhaps common sense prevailed and we accepted that all airlines are safe and we simply booked a flight based on route, airline preference, and flight experience.

But what about now? Trust is not something that people give easily and it’s easier to lose trust than gain it. Passengers are now being asked to extend this trust to cover crew hygiene, cabin cleaning, and social distancing. Will we just accept that these measures are enough? Are passengers aware of the measures being put in place?

So why are so many aviation companies risking this hard earned trust?

Like you, I’ve received several surveys in the past two months from airlines asking me about my plans to fly again and many more emails about what they are doing to keep me safe. So far, not one has asked me whether I’m happy with these measures or if there is anything more they can do to help reassure me. 

When I have been able to leave a question, not a single one of them has come back to me on the concerns I raised. Not only is this bad practice bad for business, it also undermines trust, right at the time when airlines need it most.

Are they not listening or are they just simply using the wrong the tools to manage this?

With little revenue coming in, many airlines have switched to using free survey tools to conduct this vital and wide reaching research. These tools have little program governance, if any, no alerting, closed loop process and inconsistent survey branding. Potentially undoing all the good work and trust that the CX team has been building for the past few years.

Airlines are burning millions everyday, whether they fly or not, and this research is critical to getting the business in the air again. Do the airline execs not see the value of this research? Of course they do. So how have we as an industry managed to get into a position where the execs will sanction such little investment with the CX departments?

Last year, Confirmit conducted research looking at the budgeting plans of CX departments. Only 16% said their budget would increase. This 16% had demonstrated to the business leaders the financial benefit of CX. So like any other investment, the execs know there will be a return on increased investment. To put it simply, when the score goes up, the business grows, allowing the exec to see the impact of CX on the business.

Perhaps it is time for CX teams to think about building trust within the business, as well as with customers. This is more than an exercise in justifying their existence. It is about taking a leading role in helping their businesses to survive – and even thrive – in the most challenging of economic environments. Building trust inside and out is key to seeing the safe return of planes to the skies.