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February 24, 2013

Airline Brands and Low Profits via Branding Strategy Insider

by Lisa

Airline Brands and Low Profits via Branding Strategy Insider

When I say airlines, what do you think of? Uncomfortable seats? Bad food? Not enough leg room? Added costs? We all hate to fly, but it’s now an unavoidable part of life.

We’ve talked about the poor customer service of major airlines in class now several times, focusing on how they should change their current ways and actually put the customer first. With the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, I strongly suggest that the focus is shifted. I would recommend that customer service is seen as a potential revenue center instead of a cost center. American airlines in general have a reputation for poor service and this merger could be an opportunity for this to change. 

As stated in the article, JetBlue and Southwest have much better customer satisfaction scores than the traditional airlines. As a result, they are “poised for growth” in the next few years. If the traditional airlines don’t want to lose more customers to their low-cost competitors, it is time for them to make drastic changes. This does not necessarily mean improving loyalty programs, but giving customer service employees autonomy, and thus, an opportunity to make a difference in the way customers perceive the airline(s). Improved perception will be key in retaining customers as customers primarily want to be treated with respect. One bad meal won’t make or break their decision to fly with the airline, but being treated poorly by one or more customer service representatives definitely will.

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