Distinctions in the Customer Satisfaction Levels between
Southwest Airline Customers and Delta Airline Customers
Success for commercial airline companies is determined by their profit and their profitability is increased by making the most of satisfying their customers and retaining loyalty. Survey results in 2007 indicated that “airlines have work to do to improving customer satisfaction,” (AP, 2007). Delta Airlines ranked among the lowest and Southwest Airlines ranked among the highest in the survey areas of overall satisfaction, intentions to be a repeat customer, perceptions in expectations, value and quality in response to questions related to approval in a variety of industries including airlines. In order to gauge the level of customer contentment, whether or not it has improved for these two airline companies and how customer satisfaction differs between Southwest Airlines and Delta Airlines, a research project was conducted to find out how the customers now react to the respective airline companies and how well the airlines are trying to satisfy customers after making promises to do better.
Our research involved the airport experiences on the ground to include, check-in, boarding, arrival, baggage and staff friendliness and efficiency. Our research was carried out at KCI using a team of mystery shoppers who posed as travelers. Our mystery shopper team needed to find out what problems customers have with the airlines, how the problems are addressed and rate the general airline traveler experience at the airport. The results we found were mainly related to the sequence of events and we rated ending the customer-airline encounter on a positive noet with the highest mark. We recommend changes to the Southwest processes and different changes to the Delta processes to reduce the problems, which could have the result of increasing their profitability and inspire more loyalty to their brand. Specific changes include the strategies Southwest and Delta airlines can use to achieve better relationships with their customers, improve the quality of service, monitor their performances on a regular basis to ensure consistency and introduce programs to further develop their employee’s skills in the customer service area. It is our intent to provide a basis in helping the airline management of Southwest and Delta to leverage customer service satisfaction and loyalty for a more profitable airline.
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Since customer satisfaction is the most important factor affecting how much money an airline will make and whether or not the customers who fly on the airline will choose to fly again on the same airline, the risk of customer dissatisfaction is too great to ignore. According to Ben Aidoo, the Customer Service Institute states that “it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep a current one satisfied,” and the Technical Assistance Research Program Institute shows that “91% of unhappy customers will never again buy from the company that displeased them and they will also tell at least 7 to 11 other people about their dissatisfaction” (Ezarticles, 2010).
Companies who learn to define targets for customer satisfaction and overcome the barriers to it are able to create and repeat doing business with their customers. An airline that is able to solve its ground service problems lessons the chances that customers will switch to another airline. After looking at the problems with customer service, the airlines will be able to start ways to respond in the best manner to keep people coming back. The better we can identify the problems in customer service for Southwest and Delta, the better they will be able to operate efficiently and have the result of more success in their...