Investing in customer experience

Switzerland’s airline modernizes passenger feedback for a better flight experience.

The Challenge

In the highly competitive aviation market, airlines find themselves in fierce price competition—most passengers perceive them as interchangeable. To differentiate itself from the competition, SWISS set out to offer passengers a seamless flight experience, from booking and service on board, to support at the destination. 

But how can passenger satisfaction be measured precisely and efficiently? Until 2010, passenger surveys were carried out during the flight using a paper questionnaire that was distributed and collected by flight attendants. This procedure involved a great deal of logistical effort and had methodological weaknesses: on the one hand, other passengers in the cabin have a considerable influence on those completing the surveys. On the other hand, passengers weren’t yet able to make a final judgment during the flight, since important touch points such as baggage delivery or service in the event of baggage loss, were missing.

The Solution

In 2010, SWISS launched a broad-based project to update the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS), which was converted to an online survey using the Tivian Enterprise Feedback platform. The online survey takes place after the end of the trip. This way, the entire travel experience chain can be queried, and the airline receives valid statements as to whether the guest will fly with SWISS again in the future. Because the flight experience depends on the class in which the guest flies, SWISS uses various survey methods.

For example, economy class passengers are given feedback cards containing a web address and a code. If the code is entered, a questionnaire specially programmed for this route appears. This avoids unnecessary questions (e.g. questions about the in-flight entertainment system on a short haul). The survey is also optimized for digital devices (e.g. tablet or smartphone), which is particularly appreciated by business travelers who want to give their feedback while on the move. 

The Results

The fact that answers from passengers are available digitally in the shortest possible time offers tangible advantages. First, this gives the airline the opportunity to react immediately to feedback. If the customer wishes to be contacted, this can be done promptly. In addition, there is now the option of submitting a customer comment for each service element. Online comments make it possible to react immediately without having to wait until all paper questionnaires have been typed.

The central problem of the paper survey—ignoring the important arrival experience—is now a thing of the past. With the introduction of the online survey, SWISS has data on the entire travel experience. For the entire route network, all aircraft types, airports, and travel classes are broken down into regular customers and status customers. The CSS program helps SWISS to make investments in the right place—namely, where they have the greatest effect on a positive customer experience.

“With the introduction of the online survey based on the Tivian system, we were able to eliminate all the deficiencies of the old paper survey in one go, and ensure continuous tracking of all important KPIs—including the all-important Arrival Experience.”

Jonas Bachmann

Team Leader, Market Research, SWISS

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