Airlines applying mobile innovation help the customer experience soar

By Becky Lawlor

A man listening to music and using his mobile phone on an airplane.

Often flying under the radar of travel industry news is one of the most challenging aspects of managing airline operations: Making all the critical decisions that are beyond the scope of standard procedures. These decisions — which include whether to delay the start of boarding, when to delay or close a flight, when to clear wait lists, when to approve upgrades or rebook passengers and more — often must be made simultaneously by the flight manager and can have a big impact on the customer experience.

One large European carrier has turned to mobile innovation as a way to make this process more efficient for their flight managers, which in turn leads to a better customer experience for their passengers.

Increase information, decrease dissatisfaction

Powered by MobileFirst for iOS, the airline carrier was able to quickly create a minimum viable product on the iPhone platform that addresses the most important automation needs of a flight manager. A pilot program was successful, and in 2017 the airline carrier rolled out the new app to 300 flight managers at its two main hubs.

Since the rollout of the app, there has been a dramatic increase in the information available to flight managers to monitor flight departure information and make better decisions when they’re required to prioritize multiple critical departures. Now, flight managers can roam the airport between the gates of their assigned flights and always have up-to-date information at their fingertips on their iPhones. Additionally, passenger satisfaction has been a key aspect of the new mobile innovation, as fewer delays make for more loyal passengers.

Mobile innovation upgrades everyone’s experience

One of the takeaways for the travel industry is that organizations of every kind and in every industry, including travel and transportation, are finding that the use of platforms and the shared data on those platforms can improve the customer experience. A global C-suite study, “Incumbents Strike Back,” found that the most important factor that distinguishes the leaders — known in the study as Reinventors — from other organizations is their capacity to use data to identify unmet customer needs.

In this same study, C-suite executives recognized that the customer experience is paramount to success. In fact, 68 percent of C-suite executives said they expect organizations to emphasize customer experience over products.

Empowered employees provide better service

Mobile innovation, such as building apps on the MobileFirst for iOS platform, can facilitate real-time information that promotes a better customer experience — not just for passengers, but for employees as well.

In the case of the European carrier, the app also had a positive impact by empowering employees to do their jobs better. According to the case study, the new application has had a positive impact on employee motivation.

Businesses from all industries can learn from this example of mobile innovation as well as from these key takeaways from the global C-suite study:

  • Evaluate, experiment with and engage with new business models that you can adopt to significant advantage.
  • Invest for new growth of talent and technologies that will inject innovation into your enterprise.
  • Seek innovation over institutionalization.
  • Continuously innovate and find opportunities to cocreate with customers, partners and even competitors.

By making mobile innovation a priority, enterprises can create new modes of engagement that will elevate the customer experience, empower employees and orchestrate competitive advantage.

Written By

Becky Lawlor

Technology Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer specializing in mobility, cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration solutions. She develops and writes content that helps technology buyers understand and evaluate technology solutions, modernize their IT infrastructure…

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