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What do a text message, late luggage delivery and a noisy dot-matrix printer have to do with Customer Experience?



Customer Experience – with Eurowings to Hamburg

As a train driver you experience this and that, but last week, for once, a flight to Hamburg was necessary. Reason: My inaugural lecture for the Master’s program Database Marketing in the winter semester 2019. Shortly before arriving at Stuttgart Airport it beeped twice.

An SMS and an e-mail from Eurowings with the following identical content:

“Dear passenger,

Your flight is heavily booked today. To help us depart on time, we ask you to check in your hand luggage at the check-in desk. We offer this service free of charge. Make your flight experience a pleasant one by bypassing fluid restrictions, saving time at security checkpoints and enjoying more comfortable seating on board. Our standard restrictions apply (8kg, 55 x 40 x 23 cm). Please make sure to remove dangerous goods such as e-cigarettes, lighters and electronic devices from your luggage before you board.

Thank you very much and have a pleasant flight!”

Little hand luggage I always “said, did” anyway: Hand in everything except the laptop and a few documents.

But in the plane, there was yawning emptiness in the first 10 rows, the load factor at most 50%, so that I asked myself:

1. Did at least 20 people who were booked on this flight not show up or

2. does Eurowings not have its database marketing under control?

Let’s start from the second one, because after a few sentences the second part of the story follows. Back to the morning SMS or e-mail:

How can I best describe my customer experience up to this point?

When I received the e-mail or SMS, I was pleased to receive a clever service. The customer gets a service info in time. This should make it easier to get on board.

After I was on the plane, I was annoyed by this service info. Because – as I said – the plane was not full.

The questions I asked myself were:

  • At what level of utilization of an aircraft is such a service info sent?
  • To whom is it sent? To everyone or only to the passengers in the cheap seats? Because the Priority customers feel they are being taken for a ride at the latest now.

So lesson 1 of good database marketing is not understood. Chance missed. So much for part 1 of the story.

How to annoy irritated customers even more?

Now to the second part of the story. Arriving in Hamburg, it would be an excellent customer experience if 5 – 10 minutes after arriving at the pickup belt, the baggage item smiles at you. Unfortunately it took more than 45 minutes until the luggage was delivered at the conveyor belt.

During this long time of waiting, no SMS or service e-mail was sent by Eurowings. During this time, asking the security staff did not lead to an answer. No announcement from Hamburg Airport about a delay, let alone when the luggage will be delivered. A call to the Hamburg Airport Service Centre resulted in an irritating answer: “My screen shows that the baggage has been completely unloaded. I: “Unloaded means not delivered”. The person then said several times: “Unfortunately, I can only give you this information.” Since such a delay has unfortunately occurred several times in Hamburg, I wished to speak to the head of service. This would of course be kindly declined.

In the meantime, even the information that the luggage of Eurowings flight from Stuttgart is being unloaded on belt 7 disappeared. As a result, about 50 people got excited for a short time. It took another 25 minutes until the actual delivery. In total it took 45 minutes.

But as I said, there was no information to the travellers.

Customer Experience Eurowings with total loss

At this point, the highly praised Customer Experience experiences a total loss because two players, the Eurowings and Hamburg Airport, do not play together.

If you wanted to, it would be no problem to exchange your information. Hamburg Airport reports, “Delays” in unloading flight no. XY to Eurowings. Eurowings then sends a service information to its customers. The customer is not happy, but not as annoyed as we were. This service has been successful with parcel services for years.

No excuse! Nothing, defies Shit Storm of 50 very angry people. This is exactly where Database Marketing or Data Driven Marketing can simply do a good job and secure the customer experience with a service. A nice apology for the delay, a drink or snack voucher. Even hard-boiled travelers can be softened up by this. Even in the aftermath nothing came.

Data silos or unwanted cooperation?

To achieve this successful customer experience, it is necessary to overcome the fractures between the systems or in the interfaces or processes. Keyword data silo of both companies. The customer simply doesn’t care whether baggage is delivered late because of the airport’s sloppy capacity planning or for other reasons. He is a customer of Eurowings. And that, until he gets his hands on the luggage again.

But as long as the airlines are still using an overly loud dot-matrix printer to produce passenger lists at the gate, the digital transformation and a consistent customer experience will probably take some time.

Making a virtue out of necessity: I had a great, perfectly suited entry story for my lecture. Luck in (small) misfortune.

Picture: Pixabay

Also interesting: What matters Which key figures are important for Customer Experience Management.

And the right smile


Note: This is a machine translation. It is neither 100% complete nor 100% correct. We can therefore not guarantee the result.


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