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JetBlue’s success stems from data collection, says Qualtrics exec

NEW YORK – A Qualtrics executive at CXNYC 2015 claimed that JetBlue Airways has done a commendable job of combining transactional data and market research to better understand the customer experience and fuel future enhancements.

During the “Theater Presentation: The Secret to JetBlue’s Customer Experience Success” session, the executive urged other brands and marketers to invest in surveys to better deduce customer expectations, complaints and overall experiences with services or products. Market research and customer experience teams must also work together cohesively to sort through results, a move which has brought in revenue for JetBlue.

“[JetBlue has] done a nice job of being able to bring together their relational data and transactional data,” said Ryan Nelsen, head of product marketing and customer experience at Qualtrics, Provo, UT. “With Qualtrics, they did some pricing studies and found they could add 12-15 seats on the plane and increase revenue.”

CXNYC 2015 is a forum for customer experience professionals organized by Forrester Research.

The airline example
Airlines are indebted to making the flying experience as pleasant as possible for consumers if they want to foster long-lasting relationships and prevent customers from flocking to competitors. By offering surveys to travelers after a flight, the airline may then better understand any challenges or high points in the customer journey to use for future improvements.

If surveys are mobile-optimized and stick to several initial questions, consumers may be even more likely to complete them.

JetBlue has realized the power of mobile in the skies and is continuously rolling out more mobile-first initiatives to connect with consumers.

JetBlue Airways is bolstering its mobile offerings by enabling travelers to purchase snacks, beverages and upgrades to premium seats via Apple Pay, making it the first airline to roll out this feature and suggesting that more will quickly follow as mobile payments cement their status this year (see story).

Meanwhile, as of last August, the airline now provides each inflight crewmember with an iPad mini for use as a point of sale and document management device, as the acceleration of Wi-Fi installations on aircraft combined with the large number of passengers carrying one or more digital devices creates momentum for inflight innovations focusing on digital developments (see story).

Advice for marketers
The executive had several words of advice for marketers in the audience seeking help on how to measure or effectively leverage their data. Brands must map out the horizontal journey and study their development channels.

For those interested in using surveys to receive direct customer feedback, Qualtrics recommends keeping them to approximately 20 questions at first.

Later, marketers should focus on who these insights need to go to, whether it be the CEO of the company or another executive.

“Think about the different touchpoints across your organization,” Mr. Nelsen said. “Look to eliminate those data silos.

“Bring people together who are working on similar problems.”

JetBlue’s strategy of bringing together its market research, customer statistics and operational data has enabled the brand to optimally use information to maintain customer relationships and introduce new in-air features, such as the Apple Pay deployment.

“We’ve seen a lot of buzzwords around big data,” Mr. Nelsen said. “At Qualtrics, we believe in fast, connected data.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York