BoardingArea.com’s CrankyFlier recently joined Nicholas Kralev from the Washington Times on stage at the FFP ARAC (Ancillary Revenue Airline Conference) Mega Event 2009 to relay what he’d learned from fellow frequent flyers about what they want to see from the airlines regarding loyalty programs. “Did they listen?” CrankyFlier mentioned on his blog. “I’m sure some did … that doesn’t mean that anything is going to change, of course. At least we were allowed to say things as we saw them and nobody pulled our mikes away from us.”
Three main themes emerged that flyers would like to see from the programs: simple and easy; customer value and honesty/integrity. Flyers feel that the programs have evolved to be much too complicated. For example, policies such as last-minute award booking fees might make sense in the context of revenue management, but from a purely customer perspective, the charges can’t be justified–there’s a disconnect between the management of the program and how it plays out for the members.
Regarding customer value, United was singled out as an airline that is making its elite members feel less than valued with that airline’s decision to sell premium amenities to anyone. And regarding all FFPs, a few more customer appreciation events would go a long way in making frequent flyers feel valued.
And finally, regarding honesty and integrity–or rather “Honesty, Transparency, Integrity”– CrankyFlier shared some comments made by Gary Leff of View from the Wing (we’re mentioning just a few below):
* Don’t talk about ‘enhancements’ that are really devaluations. Your customers resent being lied to. (Oh, and don’t ACTUALLY lie, either.)
* Offer a clear value proposition and STICK TO IT.
* Be clear about what you are doing and give PLENTY of notice. Engage your customer, honestly and transparently with a strong customer service presence and not a marketing, PR, or spin shop.
* Tell the truth. Declare it openly, warts and all. And then deliver on your declarations. Your customers will love you for it.