crm aviation/what is crm in aviation

Aviation CRM: Helping the Customer Experience Reach New Heights

Nearly everyone has an opinion about commercial air travel. As one of the biggest industries in the United States — even boasting 7.3% of all jobs in the economy — it either directly or indirectly affects just about everyone, and more people are flying now than ever before. In fact, the number of air travelers numbered nearly one billion in 2016 alone. Also, contrary to what news headlines complaining about overbooking and pricing might lead readers to believe, customer satisfaction is apparently at an all-time high, having increased by a whopping 30 points in 2017, and is now rated at 756 on a 1,000-point scale.
That’s right. Despite all the jokes and frustrations about the cramped seats, overbooking, bland food, pointlessly intrusive security measures, and delays, the airline industry is actually thriving. What’s the secret? Customer relationship management, or CRM.

CRM promotes satisfying travel experiences.

What is CRM in aviation? Since the acronym CRM is also used to refer to crew resource management, it bears taking a moment to distinguish between the two. 

Crew resource management focuses on training employees to respond to the many potential dangers inherently associated with air travel in a way that maximizes safety and communication for everyone involved. More specifically, it considers how to resolve problems brought about by human error.

On the other hand, customer relationship management covers the interactions and exchanges of information between businesses and their clients and customers. Its purpose is to figure out how to meet all of the needs and demands of a business’ target demographics while also supporting the company’s goals and bottom line. After all, customer satisfaction is directly linked to business success, so any steps that help improve client satisfaction, help improve business business success, overall.

In aviation specifically, customer relationship management can be rather complex. Although it’s true that business professionals tend to travel by plane more often than non-professionals, it’s not really an industry designed for one specific demographic.

Nearly everyone travels to some extent, and nearly everyone eventually needs a plane to do it. With this in mind, transportation businesses need to be able to maintain and organize millions of highly varied customer profiles. Additionally, they need to be capable of identifying and resolving the millions of unique customer issues, often with limited time and minimal resources.

Obstacles to smooth travel may present themselves at any point in the complex process — ordering tickets, checking in, claiming baggage, dealing with refunds or vouchers, and so on. Travelers are often stressed because they’re uncomfortable, late, confused, or all of the above. Given these circumstances, customer service in the aviation industry can be a tricky and exhausting task.

It’s all about communication.

For these reasons and more, efficient and thoughtful CRM aviation methods are vital for staying ahead of the competition. Although airlines are known for offering reward programs for their loyal patrons, quality customer relationship management goes beyond that. It requires hiring and keeping employees who are not only patient, but knowledgeable about airline policies and systems. The faster they can explain and fix an issue, the more smoothly an airline can run, and the more satisfied the customers may feel. That means that employees may need regular training and review to ensure that they’re as familiar as possible with the details of the business as it would matter from a customer’s point of view.

The burden need not fall entirely on employees, however. Social media is an excellent way to interact with customers, use friendly reminders that inform them about proper procedures to follow, and warn them about any potential problems as they arise. It’s no secret that people around the world spend a great deal of time on social media, so the more an airline company makes itself present online, the more likely it is that customers will see it. That way, customers set themselves up for better service by knowing how things work, while feeling assured that the airlines are paying attention to them, as individuals.

Also, thanks to modern communication technologies, today's customers are much more likely to discuss their travel experiences, both negative and positive, than ever before. In fact, about 21% of business travelers and 8% of leisure travelers do exactly that. This is another reason why social media can be such an important tool; it allows airline companies to see what people are saying to each other but may be leaving off of customer satisfaction surveys. Reaching out and offering sincere responses to both praise and criticisms can win the respect and admiration of additional customers while retaining existing ones.
When it comes right down to it, airline customers aren’t really looking for anything different from any other kind of customer. They want quick, reliable, personalized service, and in the event that the service is not up to a reasonable standard, they want solutions.

Salesforce helps customer service take flight.

As the provider of the number one CRM platform in the world, Salesforce CRM tools have the power to revolutionize the aviation and travel industry. With Marketing Cloud, client data is analyzed to facilitate better communication between customers and companies in real time. Service Cloud helps resolve problems by engaging companies directly with customers. Then there’s Chatter. As its name implies, it’s more focused on the social media side of CRM, aiding companies in organizing and managing their informal interactions with customers. For airlines that are interested in improving their customer -service offerings, the Salesforce ecosystem is first class.   

Commercial aviation is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean that aviation companies can neglect enhancing and improving their CRM methods. After all, there’s still plenty of competition out there. Salesforce CRM takes the customer experience to new heights, moving beyond the rewards program, and helping airlines place their entire focus on the people who matter most — their clients. With Salesforce CRM for aviation, the days of disgruntled travelers are finally being left far behind.

See what Salesforce can do for your aviation business. Sign up for the free 30-day Salesforce CRM trial today.

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