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5 Best Practices for Managing Your Schedule Changes

airlines schedule 15below

How should airlines be managing schedule changes?

Volcanos, storms and strikes may grab the news headlines but mass schedule changes can also do a great job at disrupting your operations. 15below – passenger communications and disruption management gurus – use their 12 years’ experience to compile their top tips on what you can do today to keep costs down and customer happiness up with the 5 best practices airlines should use to manage schedule changes effectively.

Here are the 5 best practices airlines should use to manage schedule changes effectively.

1. Automate

Using custom workflows and business rules, you can automate many elements of disruption management. From pulling the relevant PNR lists from your reservation system, to sending a targeted notification to each impacted passenger and feeding their ‘acceptances’ directly back into your system. It means your staff are freed up to focus on the more urgent or complex cases. Or selling.

2. Prioritise

Manage who you deal with first and how you deal with them. Asking questions such as ‘When do they travel?’, Are they a Frequent Flyer?’ ‘What delays or cancellations have they had in the last year?’, ‘How urgent is this?’ will ensure you are working on the more business critical cases first and make it possible to tailor your communication accordingly. Add a goodwill gesture if needed, and keep them on side – it’s a cheaper option than losing that customer. Obviously this applies to IROPS disruption too, use this same rule to quickly view and manage your most urgent and important customers first.

3. Personalise

Personalisation is essential in today’s world. Ensure your system migrates any SSR-related information from the original booking – so if they have already booked extra legroom or a ski-bag, give your customer the reassurance this is all still in place and confirmed. It will save you unnecessary calls and emails into your call-centre.

4. Be Flexible

According to Cisco, we’ll each have 5 internet devices by 2017. Email, SMS, various apps, Facebook, Twitter as well as the traditional voice call…. we all connect via a seemingly never-ending list of communication channels. Have the flexibility to send updates to different devices and through different channels for a coherent, consistent message. This is especially important for international airlines which have to cater for a variety of preferences – you should for example be able to quickly and easily switch to automated voice notifications for US passengers.

5. Think Customer First

Put this at the core of everything you do. Changes to travel plans – however minor – can be stressful for customers, a missed wedding, a knock-on effect to other travel plans. Tackle potential issues proactively with targeted and timely communication, before they have the chance to escalate Unanswered frustrations generally always cost more in the long-term. This applies throughout the journey – after all passenger experience is one of your key differentiators vs your less agile competitors.

What do you think? Find out more about automated passenger communications on 15below’s website here. 15below will be joining us at this year’s World Low Cost Airlines Congress next week along with the likes of Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair, Vitaly Saveliev, Aeroflot and Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian. Follow the banner below for more information on how you can be there.

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[Picture: matt northam on flickr]