In a continuing effort to win brand loyalty and more passengers, United Airlines will shift focus to Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge how it is performing against other carriers.
United Airlines Puts Focus On Net Promoter Score
What is NPS?
Net Promoter Score is calculated through one question in the post-flight survey:
“How likely are you recommend United to a friend, relative or colleague?”
Passengers can choose a number between 0-10, with zero meaning you would strongly discourage others from booking Untied and 10 meaning you would strongly encourage others to book United.
Passengers who rate 9-10 are seen as promoters, those who rate 7-8 are seen as neutral or passive, and those who rate 0-6 are seen as detractors.
The NPS score is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors.
Toby Enquist, United’s Chief Customer Officer, notes “there is no better way to understand how people feel about United than through our Net Promoter Score.” He adds:
“NPS measures brand advocacy and whether customers would be likely to recommend us to their friends, family or colleagues. It’s deemed the best indicator of brand affinity and is more predictive of brand loyalty than the flight experience information we gather through our customer satisfaction survey (which we referred to as CSAT).
“We must compete for our customers’ loyalty and NPS also allows us to benchmark our performance against our competitors.”
As I shared in February, United’s 202 NPS was 30 points higher than in 2019.
How United Airlines Wants Employees To Improve NPS
United encourages employees to focus on four areas in order to raise the carrier’s NPS:
- Provide a warm greeting and make a connection
- Make eye contact and smile through your mask
- Welcome customers as they board
- Personalize a customer’s experience, when possible (like initiating conversation or using a customer’s name)
- Show empathy and be helpful
- Anticipate customer needs by being proactive
- Take time to listen and put yourself in a customer’s (or colleague’s) shoes
- Try to solve problems at the first point of contact
- Share gratitude
- Thank customers for flying United
- Acknowledge customers’ Premier status and thank them for their loyalty
- Recognize team members for their actions
- Be dependable and consistent
- Every customer, every flight, every day
- Help customers arrive at their destination on time, with their bags
- Come to work prepared for both your fellow teammates and our customers
What This Means For Customers
The most frequent complaint I hear about United Airlines is that it is consistently inconsistent. You can go from one flight having a proactive, friendly, caring flight crew to having an irritable, lazy, apathetic crew on your connection.
Indeed, I’ve experienced that myself (though I must add that the good far outweighs the bad).
But this heightened focus on NPS underscores how important it is to fill out post-flight surveys, particularly the recommend question I noted above.
Live and Let’s Fly has spoken to enough employees to know this is not lipstick on a pig. Under CEO Scott Kirby, United is determined to maximize profit and sees the path to doing so by improving customer service in areas that will lead to a more loyal customer base.
Of course the four areas for improvement above require everyone from reservation agents to pilots, ground staff to flight attendants to put their best on display every single moment of every day. That’s easier said than done, especially when it requires going above and beyond normal duties by initiating conversation or being more proactive.
Even as United Airlines plans to begin sharing post-flight customer survey feedback directly with flight attendants as a means to improve service, its greater focus will be on raising its NPS.
The takeaway is that if United is serious about raising its NPS, we are going to see better service at airports and onboard.