Net Promoter Score

Image via NICE Satmetrix

Net Promoter Score surveys are helping airlines determine what they need to improve to reach next-level loyalty and nab some brand evangelists.

Between different service tiers and customer demographics, developing a big-picture understanding of what constitutes success when it comes to the passenger experience can be a challenge. Could everything be boiled down to a simple question? Several airlines seem to think so.

Developed in the early 2000s, Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are now gaining major traction in the airline industry. Scoring begins with a single query: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend?” Feedback ranges from zero (“Not at all likely”) to 10 (“Extremely likely”). Scores of zero to six represent detractors, seven and eight are passives, and nine and 10 are promoters.

To calculate NPS, the total percentage of detractors is subtracted from the total percentage of promoters. Final scores range from -100 to +100. Any positive score is considered good (above 50 is excellent) but benchmarks vary by industry. The airline average is 35, according to NICE Satmetrix.

JetSuiteX, headquartered in Dallas, boasts the highest NPS in the industry at 90 points.

JetSuiteX, headquartered in Dallas, boasts the highest NPS in the industry at 90 points, an almost perfect score. The airline offers a private jet-like experience for passengers taking short-haul flights between California and Nevada, and it’s possible that this niche contributes to its high score. Can more standard commercial airlines push beyond the industry average, too?

Aer Lingus’ NPS has an above-average score of 44, thanks in part to its Voice of the Guest survey, says Paula Donaghy, the airline’s head of Consumer PR. “Aer Lingus guests are surveyed two days after they fly. The survey is continuously gaining feedback from guests and our performance is monitored on a monthly basis,” she says. “We adopt a heat map approach to understanding what are the priority areas of guest satisfaction to address NPS and improve the overall guest experience.”

“We adopt a heat map approach to understanding what are the priority areas of guest satisfaction to address NPS.” – Paula Donaghy, Aer Lingus

At last year’s APEX EXPO, Aer Lingus’ then-CEO said that in-flight entertainment (IFE) hardware upgrades boosted the airline’s NPS by 16 points. “Aer Lingus has learned that hard product changes such as IFE screens yield immediate and higher increases in satisfaction than process or service changes that involve frontline staff,” Donaghy explains.

And an Air France study highlighted a significant increase in NPS for passengers flying on routes equipped with Interactive Mobility’s Flymingo wireless in-flight entertainment solution. The airline’s NPS rose an average of 10 points between February and July 2018. “This is great evidence of the way our solution successfully creates a memorable customer experience and increases loyalty of our clients,” says Tanguy Morel, Interactive Mobility’s CEO and co-founder.

Customers have more of a say than ever in the passenger experience, and with NPS becoming the defining benchmark of their satisfaction, it’s up to airlines to listen carefully. After all, there’s a lot riding on that one question.

“Asking for a Friend” was originally published in the 9.3 June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine.