Airlines and hotels frequently send out surveys to customers after their travel. If I have a complaint about a hotel, I’ll often get a personalized response if I include it in one of these surveys. I’ve never received a response to a survey from an airline. They almost always are aggregated – rather than used to address service issues or counsel an individual employee.
At American Airlines they look at “likelihood to recommend” scores. Delta focuses on “net promoter score.” Delta’s focus on brand has often led the airline to promote its scores.
- Before the pandemic Delta reported scores regularly, noting that theirs had risen from 20% in 2011 to 41.5% in 2017 to 44% in 2018 and “roughly” 50% in 2019.
- Since the pandemic, with operational performance that hasn’t fully recovered, they’ve gotten less specific about thier scores and talk about it less frequently.
One passenger worried for a flight attendant on her recent Delta flight after giving the crew a “1” rather than a “5” by mistake. And she’s taken to social media to rectify the mis-score:
Oct 3 6:45am.her name Julie. She is a Five!
Delta flight attendants are non-union, and AFA-CWA which is trying to change that would have crew believe that a mistake like this could harm an employee’s continued employment. That’s simply not true. And the mistake won’t, in fact, harm this crewmember at all.
Airlines that care about the product they’re delivering should, though, dig into flights were scores dip significantly – and not just look at aggregates. A score might fall because of catering issues, or even because another passenger had been behaving badly, but data points can uncover problems in the operation or opportunities for further training on how to deal with difficult passengers before future passengers become problems.
In other words surveys and data are a tool to identify where to look and ask questions, rather than a trophy to promote or ratings to punish. They’re not a lazy replacement for digging in, their a guide to help in the process of digging in to get better. Maybe what they’ll uncover is that the instructions aren’t clear enough in the survey, even, and so passengers are making mistakes!