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How Icelandair uses employee engagement to improve customer service

[fa icon="calendar"] 20/06/17 11:26 / by Mark Henshall

Mark Henshall

Icelandair is capitalising on its innovative buddy system (featured recently in a Qube white paper) that teams customers with an employee to show them the best of the island, to launch a new free service, Icelandair Stopover Pass.

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Stopover Pass

The Stopover Pass is built around a selection of the airline’s staff that has been enrolled in stage school to improve their existing performance skills. Passengers with a Stopover Pass will now be able to access entertainment from inflight performances such as a three-act play on a flight from London to New York via Iceland; to gig tickets, trips to Icelandic football matches and backstage passes to a music festival.

Employee engagement

Icelandair has acknowledged that its colleagues are at the heart of the company and already enjoy a variety of creative pursuits outside their everyday roles including professional musicians, dancers, comedians, actors and artists. Staff was invited to a stage school to help nurture their skills and improve customer service. This saw them learn immersive theatre techniques to add to their repertoire of skills, improving anything from boosting the mood to active listening, thinking on their feet, calming restless children and reassuring scared passengers.

Birkir Hólm Guðnason, CEO at Icelandair, said: “In our 80th anniversary month we’re proud to introduce our free performance series, Icelandair Stopover Pass. The research findings show there is an opportunity for us to transform wasted time into time well travelled. We’ve always put customer service at our heart, and now we’re looking to pioneer a new service to delight and entertain our customers, starring our talented staff.”

Icelandair’s existing stopover buddy system is already matching passionate employees who have excellent local knowledge and can provide an authentic experience for passengers.

The airline is part of a wave of innovative brands working with employees to improve customer service, increase brand awareness and drive sales through employee influence and advocacy. Social media employee platforms such as Qubist are part of harnessing this new employee engagement drive.

A better customer experience

Icelandair’s move further towards employee engagement follows a global study of 9,000 air passengers which showed one third would be more likely to choose an airline that offered free entertainment as part of the in-flight programme.

Research findings also revealed 52 per cent of fliers end up bored whilst on a flight and almost four in ten view the time in the air as wasted time. Four in ten even said a cabin crew member has gone out of their way to entertain them on a flight, by doing things such as telling jokes, amusing children and even teaching them some of the local language of their destination and they crave more of this.

The Stopover Pass is available until March 2018 and looks to close the gap for travellers looking looking for more of a human touch - a staggering 78 per cent in the report admit that cabin crew can make or break their journey.

By making the most of their most important asset – their staff – Icelandair is demonstrating how to engage more fully with colleagues and provide better customer service. For passengers, some will get to enjoy with a stopover buddy:

  • A private gig in the front room of a local
  • Exclusive access to a live lounge session in the airport
  • A seat at the chef’s table as part of Iceland’s Food & Fun festival
  • Backstage passes to meet an Icelandic band before they go on stage

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Topics: social media advocacy, advocate marketing, employee advocacy, travel marketing, employee loyalty, employee engagement, WAVE 2017, HR, Infuencer Marketing, employee retention, customer service, customer journey, aviation, travel

Mark Henshall

Written by Mark Henshall

Mark is our Head of Content. An award-winning content strategist, travel writer and editor with more than 15 years’ experience in travel. I have a very rounded and integrated approach that combines my expertise in editorial and content (confident handling large and complex ventures) with my experience in online PR, SEO, social, conversion, UX and PPC for headline clients.

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