There’s no denying the average American’s dependency (dare I say obsession) with today’s mobile devices
App analytic provider Flurry claims that as of March 2014, users are spending 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on their mobile devices and “mobile app usage accounts for 2 hours and 19 minutes of that time spent.” As Americans continue to use their devices more often, there is a growing need for companies to improve their digital strategies and appeal to the omni-channel consumer.
I caught up with the Head of Digital Commerce & Airline Innovation for Silver Airways, Jonathan Stephen, to discuss the importance of a mobile strategy in the airline industry.
Why is having a mobile platform essential for airlines? How does having a mobile strategy improve the relationship between the customer and the airline?
Jonathan Stephen: Today more than ever, travellers are connected and expect to receive the latest information for their travels on their devices. That means that airlines need to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that their customers are fully engaged through these new technologies. By customers having this information in the palm of their hands, it potentially reduces the amount of calls to our call centers and reduces the lines at the airports. Whereas we would never want to completely remove these other channels, giving customers this self-service option adds to the overall travel experience.
Ultimately, by airlines providing this information to customers on their smartphones, we are giving them an optimized (and personalized) travel experience.
What are the challenges associated with implementing a strategic mobile platform?
As technologies change and progress, it’s important for airlines to see these changes and remain ahead of the curve. We not only want to do what’s best for our customers, but also ensure that these tools and services provide an overall improvement to operational effectiveness.
What does Silver Airways do to provide a great customer experience?
From a digital perspective, we are looking to improve the overall customer engagement strategy by improving the tools we have online, adding more mobile products and services, and streamlining information through all channels. We are excited about these changes that are currently underway.
What’s one aspect of Silver’s digital strategy that you want to focus on improving in 2015?
Customer engagement would be a priority for us. We want our customers to become more comfortable with our digital products. We would like them to have a say in how we create these new features and the more we listen and receive suggestions from our customers, the better our products will be.
How has the airline industry landscape changed in the last five years as it relates to digital strategy?
We are seeing a shift from reservations being done on the phones to the website, and we are seeing more customers plan their travel on their connected devices. These changes give us more opportunities to serve our customers better and by implementing a new digital strategy, we are keeping up with consumer behaviors and addressing their needs.
What’s one trend you think will majorly impact the way things are done in the near future?
I think wearable technology will make its way into the travel industry. To what extent, time will only tell.
Are you looking forward to America’s Customer Festival 2014?
Absolutely. I think bringing bright minds together to discuss the ever-changing landscape of our industries is very important. I look forward to the content.
What one random piece of trivia do you want (or don’t want) the world to know about you?
I am a secret master chef! If I wasn’t a marketer, I would love to be a chef!
Jonathan will be speaking about enhancing customer preference knowledge while securing their privacy at America’s Customer Festival this September. We’ll see you in Vegas!