Friday, May 29, 2009

Flying with a top (?) innovative carrier.

Last week  I did fly with Emirates. As they are  number 42 in FC’s top 50, I had high expectations. However it is clear that they look for their innovation towards their airplanes, technologies and procedures, rather than at the customer experience.


The customer experience starts already with checking in. There were long waiting lines and the person checking me in, had not very much experience with tall people who need leg space. Their seats are more close to each other than on other airlines, so the least I needed was an aisles seat. Well after a long wait she finally provided me with an aisles seat. Then we had to wait in the security area before going to the gate. This resulted in huge waiting lines. If they had informed us about this, we would have gone straights to the gate and not waited. Just providing that information would have been very helpful.

As we had a stopover in Dubai we had get to another gate and flight, but we were not informed on which gate we needed to go to. Again a simple action would have increases our satisfaction considerably.


What becomes clear is that they have a limited view of flying, as compared to looking at all the touch points of the customer experience. Innovation is not only product innovation, but also service innovation. For services it is essential to look at the whole picture from start to finish. Where does the customer experience starts and where does it end? As a customer I want to get the right service during my journey, which starts when entering the airport and finishes when I leave the airport again. 


There are huge improvements to be made with just small investments. Providing the right information at the right place is not very costly, as all of this information is already available. It helps a great deal when the airline understands that the start of my journey is already on the ground. When next year Emirates (or any other airline) looks at the entire chain of customer experience, they will be much higher in the top 50!


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