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Opinion:Good customer service: Albatross of Nigerian airlines

Poor customer services from airlines to passengers have been the major complaint of air travellers. CHIKA GOODLUCK-OGAZI writes that this challenge should be addressed to bring growth to the aviation industry.

CUSTOMER service is one of the greatest assets for airlines in today’s competitive environment. There are many factors that can help an airline to build its customer base, and can be a determining factor in the success of their operation.

Airlines stand to gain revenue and customer satisfaction when there is implementation of in-flight service and other services, which can give passengers the confidence.

For airlines that are inspiring to grow, they must improve their customer service department and make strategic investments and technology around customers. With this, they would be in a better position to deliver a seamless, high-quality customer experience across all channels.

Speaking recently at a forum, themed, “Emerging issues in the Nigerian Aviation Sector; Need for Aviation Cabotage” in Lagos recently, the Director of Air Transportation Regulation, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mrs. Antonia Vincent said that the regulatory body has created a new regulation that will strengthen the NCAA Consumer Protection directorate.

According to her, the regulation is doing a lot to empower the consumer protection directorate and to impose sanctions on anybody, airline or company that violates passengers’ rights in areas that are not well captured in the existing laws.

She said the regulatory body had engaged the services of qualified lawyers to help put the regulations in the right perspective to make the consumer protection directorate effective.

Her words: “Customer right is very important, that is why this directorate is doing a lot to improve the passengers rights.”

Vincent, who noted that the services provided by airlines to their passengers are poor, stated that the carriers needed to adequately position themselves to offer better services.

She added that the regulatory body had upgraded its office of customer protection unit, to ensure the passengers get value for their money.

In the past, efforts made by the consumer protection directorate of the NCAA to challenge violators of passengers’ rights had been frustrated due to inadequate law to back it up.

Speaking in the same vein, Director of Flight Operation, Arik Air, Mr. Ado Sanusi also stated that most passengers are ignorant of their rights in terms of delays and flights cancellation.

He called on regulatory body to provide adequate platform where passengers could make complains and be attended to efficiently.

According to him, customer protection should not only be documented, but also implemented.

However, better customer services would earn airlines maximised value for their investment in technology to achieve the sought after ‘single view’ of each customer. Being customer-centric is not just about technology, however any airline considering using on-line channels to reach its customers knows it needs a clear vision of what it wants the technology to do.

The airlines need to have a coherent strategy for unifying multiple customer contact channels but ultimately, success lies in ensuring that the online customer experience is relevant, personalised, and supported with excellent customer service and fulfillment.

It is therefore, essential to have workers that are able to proactively connect with the data and create and sustain an appropriate relationship with the customer.

Some airlines like British Airways has joined the iPad craze in an effort to improve the flying experience for passengers in the cabin.

Hundred-cabin crew are currently testing out the devices, which store customer information, including where passengers are seated, their Executive Club status and any special meal requests on the flight, according to the airline.

The head of in-flight customer experience, Bill Francis stated, “the iPad is already allowing us to offer a more personalised onboard service, but the possibilities for future development are endless.

He added, “we’re receiving great feedback from cabin crew and customers already. It allows the crew to offer the thoughtful service they want to deliver and customers are treated as valued guests.”

Also, American Airlines and American Eagle are in business to provide safe, dependable and friendly air transportation to air customers, along with numerous related services.

According to the airlines, “we are dedicated to making every flight you take with us something special. Your safety, comfort and convenience are our most important concerns.” They have served almost 250 cities around the world, from Abilene to Zurich, and operate more than 3,400 daily flights.

For a sixth consecutive year, JetBlue Airways ranks highest in the low-cost carrier segment, with a score of 773 on a 1,000-point scale. JetBlue Airways performs particularly well in two of the seven measures, aircraft and in-flight services.

Southwest Airlines improves considerably from 2010 to rank second in the segment with a score of 769. Southwest performs well in satisfaction with the reservation, check-in, boarding/deplaning/baggage and cost and fees measures. The industry average score is 751.

For both segments, satisfaction has improved from 2010 in nearly all areas of the customer experience, with the exception of cost and fees. Compared with 2010, satisfaction with base fares has declined across every airline.

Therefore for true, sustainable improvement in customer service quality, airlines must make a commitment at the highest level of management to deliver the best service they can to every customer every time with no exceptions

 
Author of this article: CHIKA GOODLUCK-OGAZI

-Guardian

Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=18910

Posted by on Mar 11 2012. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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