Airlines Investing In Technology to Provide Better Customer Experiences

Millions of people fly the friendly skies every year. But airlines have to work hard to earn the business of each and every customer. Flying is a commodity: competition is high and choices are plentiful. It’s easier said than done, but providing an exceptional customer experience is critical. In fact, Forrester recently reported that better customer experiences could be worth billions in annual revenue for airlines.

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Delta, for example, knew that they had to invest in technology to improve the customer experience. Last August they equipped over 19,000 flight attendants with Windows 8 Phone handheld devices to streamline customers’ in-flight purchases. That means less wait time for that much-needed glass of wine!

Customers now have near real-time credit card processing for all purchases, including upgrades to ‘Economy Comfort’ seats. This in-flight customer experience solution was designed and developed by Avanade using Nokia Lumia 820 devices and the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of-sale (POS) platform. This is a significant upgrade to Delta’s legacy POS system, which didn’t add value beyond basic transactional interactions. The update delivers much faster transaction times, cuts down on paper with customer eReceipts, and will eventually enable customers to present flight attendants with coupons displayed on mobile devices.

This investment is a wise move on Delta’s part. They’re making customers happier and providing tools that make flight attendants’ jobs easier, all while differentiating themselves from competitors. Additionally, in conjunction with the Avanade Mobile Airline Platform, Microsoft Dynamics software provides CRM capabilities. The software gives staff insight into historical data including preferences, loyalty status, past flight history and more. Delta empowering staff and delighting passengers, but even smarter: they’re learning more about their customers’ preferences and habits, which translates to better in-flight experiences in the long-term.

The Delta/Microsoft/Avanade partnership is an excellent example of the type of collaboration and innovation that we’ll see more and more of in the future. Microsoft and Avanade didn’t simply sell products to Delta; they sold an innovative solution that blended the strengths of disparate products to present a superior traveler experience.

Today, the customer is king. With so many choices and access to online review sites, businesses are more vulnerable than ever. Once a company recognizes that, every buying decision should revolve around providing the best possible user experience and allowing the customer to drive what that experience looks like.

Learn more about the Delta/Microsoft/Avanade partnership here.

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Peg McGregor