Due the passenger’s needs. Once the airline company

Due to globalization and competition in any service
industry, customer satisfaction plays a highly important role. It is the key to
success which is crucially influenced by the customer service. It is used as an
indicator to assess customer loyalty and helps to identify the unhappy
customers. It also helps to reduce the churn rate and increase the revenue. Any
business organization can stand out in a competition by differentiating itself
from the other organizations by providing better service and products. It is
vital to have customer satisfaction to develop a good reputation. With a good
reputation, the airline creates good word of mouth, which helps to attract new
customers and retain the existing ones. With more satisfied customers, the
airline will generate more revenue and will be able to operate profitably. The
aim of this essay is to understand the importance of customer satisfaction in
the airline industry and how quality customer service and the products offered
to the customers keeping in mind the passengers’ requirements help the airline
to be the winner.

            In this
highly competitive environment, there is a necessity of high-quality customer
service in the airline industry to gain a competitive edge. The profitability
of the organization depends mostly on customer satisfaction; however, it is not
that easy as it is decided by the customers’ perception and experience (Hersh,
2010). The foundation of the airline organization is based on satisfied
customers, as it leads to repeat purchases, brand loyalty, and positive word of
mouth. Hill, N. Brierley, J. and MacDougall, R. (1999), explicates the reasons
why and how to measure customer satisfaction. Their book explains that a
customer satisfaction measurement program should be developed to understand how
customers discern the particular organization and whether its services and
products meet their expectations or not. Once the airline comprehends the
expectations of the passengers, they develop the plan of action and ways to
achieve the passenger’s needs. Once the airline company handles the CSM well,
the service improvement goals are set and progress is monitored against the

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CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN AVIATION INDUSTRY                                            3

customer satisfaction index. As a result, the airline
increases its profits through making improvement in customer satisfaction,
retention, and loyalty.

            Elements
of service required for satisfaction: According to Services marketing:
Integrating customer focus across the firm, the judgement of the customer
towards the product’s quality which is defined as service quality acts as one
of the important determinants of brand loyalty (Zeithaml et al, 2009). For an
airline to survive and flourish, the crucial strategy is service quality, which
decides the purchase behaviour and the performance of the organization
(Zeithaml et al., 1996). The popular model widely used to study the service
quality developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1988) is based on five
elements. A. Reliability: The performance of the airline should be consistent
and accurate. The employees should be trained to deliver the correct and
effective services to the passengers. B. Responsiveness: The airline and its
employees should be willing to help and ready to serve the passengers and
should provide prompt and timely services on-board ad at the airport rather
than ignoring the passengers and leaving them waiting. C. Assurance: The staff
should assure that they possess the desired skills, knowledge, and are
courteous towards their duties. D. Empathy: The airline staff should know to
show the concern, empathize with the passengers individually, and caring as
well. E. Tangibles: This includes the physical evidence of service such as the
appearance of personnel and the equipment used. Apart from this model, the service
which can make overall experience convenient for the customer is the
introduction of smart self-service. In today’s era of technology, customers
prefer to use existing text or chat apps, using which they can search and book
flights, get notifications and avail customer service, this all helps in
revenue and customer satisfaction.

            Elements
of the products required for satisfaction: The customer satisfaction equally
depends on providing the products to the customers based on their requirements.
This way,

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN AVIATION INDUSTRY                                            4

the airline organization achieves the higher level of
customer satisfaction and also improves the service quality efficiently.
Identifying the passenger’s needs is not the only criteria to achieve customer
satisfaction by the airlines, but they need to learn to prioritize them (Shaw.
S, 2004). The one of the elements which can help in achieving customer
satisfaction is quality of services. It includes check-in service, in-flight
service, food and beverage on board and ground handling service, which influences
the passenger’s decision making. Some passengers even prefer to pay higher for
the good services of the airline over any other airline. The other element is
location as the passengers look for easy access and convenience to reach the
airline offices and the agencies. The reasonably priced airfare is the another
important factor to attract a larger number of passengers for a particular
airline to stay in competition with the other competitors. Another competitive
element is the layout and entertainment service. It includes the interior
design of the aircraft, the uniform of air hostess, the seating comfort on
board, a separate cabin to allow for sleep and work, meal quality and in-flight
entertainment. Loyalty programs in the form of VIP cards or other methods such
as coupons, vouchers, discounts, higher priority pass, free gifts, frequent
flyer program are offered to the passengers as additional benefits to retain
them. In today’s busy schedule and uncertainty of the travelers, the ‘frequency
and timings’ plays a major role in achieving customer satisfaction. The
airlines with high frequency will have pivotal advantages. Moreover, the
flight’s timings play is an important consideration for the travelers to travel
on short notice and who wants to make day-return trips. Moreover, no airline
can retain or gain the passengers with the poor punctuality reputation. The
flight delays not just cause inconvenience and missed appointments, but result
in the loss of customers. Punctuality plays a significant role for the
connecting passengers as they have to connect with the next flight.

 

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN AVIATION INDUSTRY                                            5

Apart from the frequency, a significant consideration
required to achieve customer satisfaction is that the availability of direct
and non-stop flights for the long-haul routes.

            To
conclude, the airlines with better service and quality products offered to the
customers succeed in achieving customer satisfaction. The higher satisfied
customers mean more business and revenue to the company as they get more
passengers through a good word of mouth by the existing frequent passengers.
Customer satisfaction is directly related to the services and products offered
to the passengers depending on the passenger’s needs which include but not
limited to the airfare, attitude of employees, connectivity, frequency,
check-in and in-flight services, loyalty programs. To stay in competition, the
airlines should consider and pay more attention to all the elements of services
and products to build bond with the passengers, ultimately profitable business
and good reputation of an organization. The only way for an airline to run
smoothly and to make profit is to keep the customers happy.