Boosting Customer Engagement: A Qantas Case Study

By March 4, 2016Blog, Insights
Qantas Customer Engagement - Leafcutter

Recently our Managing Director, Michael Campbell, returned to Sydney from a trip to the Gold Coast. The journey emphasizes the power of native mobile and tablet applications, and what it can do for enhancing customer service delivery and engagement.

Not only the power in the technology itself, but the exceptional power that comes from the customer journey chain and its multiple touchpoints and interactions between brand message and customer. Qantas really got this right, the implementation experience outlined below is proof. Oh and for the purposes of this article, the term ‘mobile apps’ will refer to both mobile app development and tablet applications.

The QF145 Journey

It started at the airport waiting for the Qantas flight back to Sydney. Walking through the airport there were large banners with the latest marketing push from Qantas Airlines, “it’s about entertainment that takes off when you do”.

At first, not much notice was taken as to what this actually meant.

The flight number was ultimately called and boarding the plane commenced. As the plane filled up and people settled in, the pilot radioed through from the cockpit with his welcome greeting. Part of this greeting included informing the passengers about the inflight entertainment offered on the plane we were in and how it could be accessed.

From the pilot:

“…..ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Qantas flight QF145 ….. our flight today does come with inflight entertainment by way of the new Qantas inflight entertainment mobile and tablet application which works on both apple and android devices… to access our inflight entertainment today, you’ll need to download the Qantas inflight entertainment app from the apple and google app stores. Simply search Q and select the first red icon at the top of the list…. Once you have downloaded the app onto your device, open the app and click the connect button to join either the Q1 or Q2 network. Once connected, you will be able to enjoy the full range of inflight entertainment offered on this airline today. If you have any questions, call for one of our cabin crew to help you with the system…… On behalf of the cabin crew today, thank you for choosing Qantas”.

Let’s stop and analyse this interaction a bit.

Firstly, notice how the staff (Pilot and Cabin Crew) are fully trained on how to use and communicate the innovative technology offering. They have memorised the process and worked on multiple troubleshooting scenarios to ensure that they can explain the value of the service to customers, guiding their acceptance of the technology when on board a Qantas aircraft. This demonstrates a truly great understanding of the customer journey that passengers go on which has been capitalised on to ensure most effective and high converting uptake of their service via their communication touchpoints and quality. Well done Qantas!

Next consider the technology, the linchpin at the centre of the entire chain of interaction. It was robust and worked a charm; the digital prompts along the user journey were clear and easy to follow for customers, the app showed up with a little red icon in the app store search when you input the letter Q into the search field, the planes network was picked up by all the users personal devices and was easy for everyone to connect to, the app was fast and loaded content quickly providing a very smooth customer interaction.

The reliability and quality of the mobile application (app) is an essential fundamental requirement to successfully using mobile apps to boost, streamline and drive customer engagement. Again, Qantas hit the nail on the head.

Finally think about the power that, through this service delivery innovation Qantas has put in the hands of their passengers. The ability to enjoy the service from the comfort of your own device is truly progressive thinking from the Qantas team and as a Qantas guest on the day, our Managing Director certainly felt the comfort factor and the personalisation that came from using your own device.

Engagement + Participation = Brand Nirvana

This service delivery strategy also has other benefits for the Qantas business, for instance the costs of maintaining and providing personal iPad devices to every passenger in every plane is a significant cost to the business. By delivering their service by enabling people to use their own devices, the business saves itself a substantial amount of money in hardware investments and the maintenance requirements that go with them. Yet again, great efforts streamlining operations by the Qantas team, especially important in the airline business.

Here are some examples of the mobile and tablet versions of the Qantas inflight entertainment app:

Qantas Customer Engagement - Leafcutter Qantas Customer Engagement - Leafcutter Qantas Customer Engagement - Leafcutter

When you think it can’t get any more streamlined, just before takeoff whilst taxiing to our runway the pilot radios through again giving us (the passengers) the heads up that we are about to take off. At the same time he uses this opportunity to drive even further uptake and engagement with the Qantas inflight entertainment app! Here is pretty much what he said:

From the pilot:

“Ok ladies and gentlemen, we are just about to taxi onto our runway and commence our take off en route to Sydney where the local time is just coming up on 6:30am…. please sit back, make sure your seat belts are tightened and that any loose items are carefully stored away…. I can see that there are just over 56 of our guests today already on and using the Qantas inflight entertainment service which is great. For those of you not yet using the service please take this opportunity to download the app onto your phone or tablet device before we take off and enjoy the inflight entertainment. Remember to search for Q in the apple or google app store, find the red app icon and download. Once downloaded, connect with either the Q1 or Q2 networks to get all the inflight entertainment you want at your fingertips. Ladies and gentlemen, once again prepare for take off as we are now approaching the runway.”

This really brings it full circle in a fantastically well orchestrated way. The fact that the pilot had the ability to track and monitor his passengers interactions with the inflight entertainment system gave him power to convince the slower adopters of the group to take the steps required to access the inflight entertainment. The secondary relay of instructions about how to access the service prompted people to re-consider interacting with the service and further clarified the simple steps required to access the service – making it easy for those final few to get on board.

The Spirit of Leafcutter

This is a fantastic demonstration of the interaction between a branded service and the intended customer. From start to finish, the service was strategically communicated in a very sophisticated yet simple way to ensure that as many people ending up on the Qantas plane that day, ended up using or trialing the inflight entertainment service app.

This case study peaks a lot of interest for our team because it highlights the results of the type of work we (Leafcutter) do with our own clients such as AstraZeneca, Fujitsu General and Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Our team specialise in working with business and organisations to improve the way they make use of digital technology within their operations to drive service delivery, communication, customer engagement, conversion to action and much more.

To chat about similar projects that our team have produced for our clients, get in touch and let’s organise a catch up. Our team would love to chat through and work with you on any ideas you (our readers) have for improving your own organisations through clever application and implementation of technology.