Taking airline customer service to new heights

What is airline customer service?

Airline customer service is the process of providing customer support to customers before, during, and after a flight. The difficulties and complexities of air travel can make support a major challenge, but improving it can lead to happier customers, better travel experiences, and improved service ratings. Read on for best practices.

Excellent customer service before and after the flight

When we travel, we’re used to hearing a chorus of “Enjoy your flight!” from cheery flight attendants. But comprehensive air customer service allows you to say, “Enjoy your booking, your boarding, and your baggage-claiming!” as well.

With the right platform for aviation customer service, your airline can:

  1. Meet your customers where they are with real-time messaging.


  2. Provide support 24/7, so customers can always reach you—no matter where their travels take them. With the right customer service platform, the conversation always stays connected across channels: messaging, live chat, social, email, and voice calls. A passenger who lost their luggage between New York and Japan doesn’t want to wait until a phone call to your customer service team is convenient in Eastern Standard Time. With messaging, there’s no waiting—only fast, clear communication.

  3. Empower customers to help themselves with self-service Help Centers


  4. When done well, self-service tools can boost customer satisfaction and drive efficiencies for your company. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report, nearly a third of customers (32 percent) said resolving issues quickly was the most important aspect of a good customer experience. The truth is, it’s nearly impossible to build a best-in-class customer service team without the right tools in place, especially if you don’t have enough staff, and the current airline staff shortage is causing problems for customers and agents alike. With customer support software, you can easily build an integrated help center and community forum to help customers help themselves.

  5. Provide a personal touch with AI-powered bots


  6. No matter how big your airline grows, every passenger still needs to feel like a VIP. Using customer service software, you can utilize automation and AI-powered bots to create personalized customer experiences. You can deploy chatbots across channels to help triage tickets and answer common questions from customers quickly and easily. That takes pressure off your support team and gives your customers peace of mind.

  7. Send customer satisfaction surveys to target improvements


  8. Gathering customer feedback can help you see trends, understand common customer problems, and find ways to improve your service. With Zendesk, getting started is quick and easy with feedback form integrations that offer no-code options and automations.

Customer service during the flight

We all know from experience that if our pre-flight journey was a nightmare, no amount of kindness from a flight attendant is going to cheer us up. The best way to ensure positive flight experiences is to improve pre- and post-flight interactions. Happy customers are always easier to please—especially 40,000 feet in the air.

Best practices for airline customer service

There’s only so much that can be done to improve the experience of travel on a commercial flight. Things like security regulations, weather delays, airport infrastructure, and even lost baggage are simply outside the control of the airlines. However, there are some very simple things savvy airlines are already doing to make the experience a little smoother.

Communicate with customers.Whether it’s through text messaging, email, or a free mobile app, airlines can keep travelers in the know about things like delays, ticket changes, weather predictions, wait times at security, locations of baggage terminals, and more. While people will certainly never be happy about having to wait, they’ll be a little less frustrated if they’re given prior notice.

Get feedback. Sending surveys at various touch points, such as after buying a ticket or interacting with a flight attendant, will provide valuable insight about how to improve the travel experience.

Take social media seriously. Many PR disasters can be avoided by simply taking a customer’s complaints on social media seriously. Monitoring mentions on social media, particularly those that detail extreme situations or come from people with many followers, can help rectify a situation before it spirals out of control.

Invest in airline customer relationship management. The best way to solve customer service issues is to keep them from happening in the first place. By tracking and managing your customer relationships throughout the entire travel process, you can address issues as they happen and avoid unpleasant mistakes. Airline customer care lets you use a proactive approach to problem solving so that every step of the journey adds up to an amazing experience.

Time for a solution

There’s only so much that can be done to improve the experience of travel on a commercial flight. Things like security regulations, weather delays, and airport infrastructure, and sometimes even lost baggage are simply outside the control of the airlines. However, there are some very simple things savvy airlines are already doing help to the experience a little smoother:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Whether it’s through text messaging, email, or a free mobile app, airlines can keep travelers in the know about things like delays, ticket changes, weather predictions, wait times at security, locations of baggage terminals, and more. While people will certainly never be happy about having to wait, they’ll be a little less frustrated if they’re given prior notice.
  • Get feedback. Sending surveys at various touch points, such as after buying a ticket or interacting with a flight attendant, will provide valuable insights on how to improve the travel experience.
  • Take social media seriously. Many PR disasters can be avoided by simply taking a customer’s complaints on social media seriously. Monitoring mentions on social media, particularly those that detail extreme situations or come from people with many followers, can help rectify a situation before it spirals out of control. Plus, there’s the possibility of customers praising your response to their followers (free advertising!). Some even do it on the day they travel.

People will always need to fly, but at the very least they can choose an operator they’ve had positive experience with, has good ratings, or the best overall buying process. Making the choice to invest in support can help mitigate the pain of lousy airport food and weather delays.

How Zendesk helps

Zendesk makes it easy to send satisfaction surveys to customers and turn the results into actionable data. Plus, it’s great for keeping open communication between airlines and their customers, so the quirks of traveling can be a little less surprising.