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LONDON—The airline industry still suffers from poor customer service, but a few airlines are improving passenger satisfaction in the UK, according to CFI Group, the National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI-UK) and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
In 2011, UK airlines improved to an industry average of 68, while the US score fell to 65. British Airways (BA) rose from 67 to 70, and Flybe gained four points to 69. Smaller airlines also improved on average, rising from 67 to 69.
“The challenge airlines face is how to balance good customer service with profitability,” said James Rudd, Managing Director of CFI Group UK. “Major airlines have been so weakened by high fuel prices and slow economic growth that they have become extremely vulnerable to competition from low-fare airlines. Most have also been forced to cut costs. It is not easy to improve customer service under these conditions, especially when cost-cutting is directed at labour.”
“With the right measurement tools in place, airlines can pinpoint the service improvements that will have the most impact on customer behaviours like loyalty, purchase decisions, and recommendations. If you can predict the outcomes of improvement alternatives, you can invest resources where they matter most, without over-investing in areas that will have no real financial benefit.”
Rising fuel costs and the influx of low-cost airlines have made it difficult for major airlines to compete on ticket price, but a better understanding of customers is creating a new strategic approach for airline management. For these companies, improving the total passenger experience provides a new differentiation when competing on price alone becomes unsustainable.
About CFI Group (http://www.cfigroup.com)
CFI Group is a global leader in customer satisfaction measurement and management. Founded in 1988 at the University of Michigan, CFI Group brings the precision and predictive power of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and the National Customer Satisfaction Index UK (NCSI-UK) to help clients capture and analyse the voice of the customer, benchmark performance, and identify improvements that will drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, recommendations, revenue, and shareholder value.
About NCSI-UK (www.ncsiuk.com)
NCSI-UK applies the technology and methodology of CFI Group and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Indexes are reported on a 0 to 100 scale. The causal model determines which drivers of satisfaction, if improved, would have the most effect on customer loyalty and profitability. This methodology was developed at the University of Michigan and has been adopted worldwide as a leading macro- and micro-level indicator by universities, governments, and countries including the United States (www.theacsi.org), the United Kingdom (www.ncsiuk.com), Sweden, Singapore, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Barbados. As a financial indicator, ACSI data have proven to predict corporate revenue and earnings growth, stock market performance, consumer spending and GDP.
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