Success story:

How Alaska Airlines uses a hybrid approach to customer feedback to drive action and improve the customer experience

Research Challenge

Alaska Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the United States with 22,000 employees, flying to more than 100 destinations in North America. Alaska Air has been recognized for 12 years in a row as the highest ranked airline in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers in the J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction Study.

Such a high level of customer satisfaction does not happen by accident. Alaska’s approach to producing stellar experiences includes better understanding what travelers want and need on their airlines, then delivering it.

The Alaska Listens survey collects feedback focused on their guest’s day of travel experience, and links to their ticketing system which helps to bridge the gap between friction points and what their frontline can do to improve those experiences. This feedback is crucial, but Alaska was looking to do more to amplify the voice of their customers and better understand what’s important to them.

Solution

In an effort to get closer to customers and gain a deeper understanding of their values, Alaska Airlines used their Alaska Listens survey as a deployment tool to capture video feedback in 3 distinct areas: what friendliness means, understanding millennial thoughts on sustainability in the airline industry, and lastly, inviting customers to tell them anything! This was the customers’ opportunity to speak directly to Alaska about anything they cared most about, with no boundaries or limitations on the type of feedback they could give.

They used their Alaska Listens survey to segment customers they wanted to learn more from. There were key themes and data points they were seeing come through in the survey data that they needed to gain a deeper understanding of, so they used video feedback to dig in and truly understand why.

Results

A better understanding of key segments of their customer base, which gave clear actions Alaska can use to continually improve their experiences and maintain their number one ranking in customer satisfaction. They’ve also created a platform for new customer learning. Customers now answer the questions Alaska never knew to ask, providing additional insight and at the same time shining a light on the feedback they were seeing from other feedback methods. This additional context and new learning, combined with the emotion that can only be generated by hearing the voices and seeing the faces of their customers, truly amplifies the customer voice and drives action.

Business Impact

Alaska Airlines is capitalizing on the capture of rich video feedback to drive meaningful action; an approach that improves experiences and creates empathy throughout the business. Sharing the customer videos company-wide has had a massive impact on customer understanding, as well as motivating the teams when they can see and hear about the stellar experiences they’re creating.

One area where they needed more context was around “friendliness”. This came up in their Alaska Listens survey system-wide, but on its own was too vague and not actionable. By obtaining a deeper understanding of what friendliness means to their customer base, Alaska was able to establish specific steps to action and further improve the entire flight experience.

Overall, the video feedback has gotten stakeholders to really pay attention to customer data. Humanizing the data applies pressure to decision-makers beyond what stats and scores can do, resulting in deeper understanding and more action. The empathy created by video is now key for ensuring customer-centricity and the highest ratings of satisfaction

Want to be the next innovative brand to tap into video feedback? You'll be in good company.