Useful email marketing
Recently I have been back in the air travelling again. Like many of us, it's been a long time since I got into a plane seat. But as with everything, you quickly get back into the same old habits and routines!
What I have found interesting are my customer expectation levels. Of course, I always reflect on the psychology of a situation, and this has been no different. But it's got me thinking; quite a few synergies and areas in my recent travelling experience are relevant to email. I'd like to explore them here today.
The first part was that I was a little nervous; it's been almost three years since I'd been on a plane. Due to Covid, and having a little one during that time, we stayed in isolation for longer than most as a family to protect our newborn. But the airlines treated it as a simple service.
Ok, so not everyone is in the same position, which I understand entirely, but a lot of the passengers took extra precautions by wearing masks - this wasn't a requirement, but the passengers felt a sense of security for doing so, and so did some of the airline staff. There were many opportunities where the airline could have included in their email marketing tips and reminders for those customers who last travelled a long time ago.
Email is a beneficial channel to help your customers at every stage of their lifecycle. How many customers have returned to you after not using your services or products? What helpful reminders could you provide them?
For example, the airline had the opportunity to promote preordering my meal while checking in online. I needed to request a gluten-free meal and, as it had been a while, I had forgotten to preorder my dinner on the way out to Thailand. It's a long journey without any food. Unfortunately, when I asked at check-in, I was informed it was too late. This is a simple tip that could have been included in the email marketing communications I received in the days leading up to my flight. This would have made my experience back travelling all that little bit tastier!
While onboard the flight, the overall experience was great. However, I understand there are quick turnarounds when the flight lands at one airport to be ready to board the next batch of customers. Efficiency is critical here.
But should efficiency mean it starts affecting your current customers whose service still needs to finish? Have all of their needs been met yet?
For example, my initial flight left 3 hours late, leaving less than 20 minutes to catch my connecting flight. Yet the cabin crew were too busy tidying away blankets, rubbish etc. to handle queries due to the late arrival. Does that make you feel valued as a customer? To know there isn't time to help you now and you're on your own, effectively not from your own doing but due to their service running late. When I landed, a notification on my phone to tell me which gate I needed to run to for the connecting flight would have been a beneficial message. (and believe me, I ran too and thankfully just made it in time!)
The better way to handle this would have been to provide an announcement for anyone with connecting flights who have missed them - i.e. ”for anyone with connecting flights that are very soon due to depart, do this…” but there was nothing. Just a screen to tell you that you must be at your gate 45 minutes before departure. All is well and done, but when their service has let you down, you're no longer in control. So when does it become the company's responsibility when you're using two services that should connect smoothly but don't? Should the reliance be on the customer in this scenario?
And if you miss it, what happens? Those customers' service has yet to finish, and my connecting flight was with the same airline - so how can we, as marketers, help provide the information our current customers need right now?
So while it's taken me some time to get back into the swing of travelling again, it's been an excellent opportunity to reflect and see the helpful and valuable informative ways we, as email marketers, can further enhance our customers' experience. Reflect on this for your organisation - where are there opportunities to help answer those regularly ask questions in the customer lifecycle? Is an SMS helpful in particular situations for your customers, and if yes, is it set up in your programme?