Travelers want to message with their airline, new research finds

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Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 11:43

LivePerson recently conducted a survey to uncover what consumers wanted from their preferred airlines in terms of customer service communications. After surveying 1,200 US-based consumers age 18+ who travel four or more times a year, we found that messaging plays a key role in increasing the overall satisfaction consumers feel with their preferred airlines.

The full report can be found here:

Some highlights include:

  • 52% of respondents reported they had downloaded their preferred airline’s app on their phone.

  • Of those who didn’t have it downloaded, 25% said it was because they didn’t find the app helpful.

  • When it comes to gate changes, cancelled flights, delays, and overbooked planes, travelers overwhelmingly prefer to be notified via messaging instead of emails or automated calls.

Airline app wish list

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed reported they had downloaded their preferred airline’s app. Of those who don’t have an airline’s app downloaded, 24.8% reported not downloading it because they didn’t find it helpful. Airlines looking to improve upon this number, take note: When asked what would entice them to download the app, top incentives included a discount on the price of their next ticket (61%), a free upgrade on their next flight (49%), or a free checked bag (45%).

Messaging: preferred by travelers

When it comes to the many changes that can happen to airline travel plans, survey respondents overwhelmingly prefer to hear about these changes via messaging. More than 70% of all respondents selected messaging as their preferred method of notification — above email and automated calls — for gate changes, flight cancellations, flight delays, and overbooked flights. Additionally, 67% of travelers would like to be able  to respond to messages containing their travel updates.

In fact, the only circumstance in which consumers preferred to reach a customer service agent via an 800 number was regarding lost luggage: In this case, 55% of the total travelers surveyed would rather pick up the phone and call an 800 number to find their luggage. When you take a closer look, however, this preference does not hold for those aged 18–34. Of the younger demographic, 54% preferred messaging to calling in regard to lost luggage.

At a time when airlines are facing some severe customer service scrutiny, there is no better time for the industry to double down on ensuring they’re meeting customers’ needs. One of the most effective ways to do this, based on our survey, is offering consumers the ability to communicate with the airline’s customer care team the same way consumers prefer to communicate with their family and friends — through messaging.

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