If you’ve always suspected bad airline service is the quickest flight path to profits, then here’s your proof. A new study by the University of Nevada, Reno, finds there’s no link between customer satisfaction and an airline’s financial performance.
That’s right, an airline can mistreat you and it won’t affect how much money it makes. Not a penny.
While that may not come as a surprise, this probably will: The research also suggests airlines can get away with offering bad customer service because you let them.
“Airlines don’t seem to place a priority on customer service despite the fact that they advertise to the contrary,” says Jeffrey Wong, a professor and department chair of the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Business Accounting Department. “And yet, some airlines are still profitable.”
The study reveals one of the most uncomfortable truths in the travel industry: no matter how much airline passengers complain about ridiculous fees, indifferent cabin service, or lengthy delays, they’ll keep buying tickets.
I cross-referenced the University of Nevada research with my case files, and sure enough, travelers with even the most serious “I’ll-never-fly-your-airline-again” grievances often welcomed a chance to return to an offending carrier again. The findings underscore an unavoidable conclusion. Until passenger threats translate into lower ticket sales, the airline industry has a green light to continue mistreating its customers.
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