05 January 2018 14:27:26 IST

IndiGo must get back its reputation as a customer-centric airline

Aggressive PR tactics and customer-centric training to the staff will help the carrier

Even if the video hadn’t been leaked, had the passenger, Rajiv Katyal, taken this incident to a public forum, it would have caused the same amount of damage to the airline. This is why IndiGo should have investigated the issue as soon as it arose, taken appropriate action against the staff and released a statement condemning the act.

 

 

Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo, claimed that he personally spoke to Katyal and apologised. The company could have convinced Katyal to give a joint press release considering the gravity of the situation.

The incident took place on October 15 but the video surfaced only on November 7. The carrier could have spent this time investigating the charges and mitigating the consequences.

What more can it do?

The incident created a sense of insecurity among passengers and the brand image has taken a beating. This can be rectified only if the airline is able to rebuild its reputation. Here are some ways:

- It can compensate Katyal — maybe he can be allowed to travel in IndiGo free from now on.

- Customer-centric measures that focus on passenger safety should be implemented and emphasised.

- It can work on treating customers with respect and care.

- Aggressive public relation campaigns should be conducted. The media and the public should be made aware of the changes that have been brought in to ensure that the customers are treated with esteem and dignity.

How to ensure such a situation does not arise again

Here are the ways in which this can be prevented in the future:

- Provide better training to employees, including ground workers.

- Provide soft-skills training to the staff on how to handle unruly passengers.

- Establish a better whistle-blower policy.

- Monitor the feedback from the passengers and make appropriate changes as and when required.

- Qualification standards of ground force can be raised by providing proper training.

Managing irate passengers

It is important for employees to maintain their composure, stay calm and be clear with an angry customer. Proper training on certain management modules needs to be conducted.

- Stress and anger management training

- Proper communication skills

- Hospitality courses (respect for customers is the motto)

Regaining customers’ confidence

IndiGo must get back its reputation as a customer-centric airline.

- Frame rules and guidelines for employees to be responsible about the safety of the passengers.

- Give Katyal the privilege to travel free on IndiGo flights in the future.

- Conduct live interviews with passengers before and after travel.

- Emphasise on social media the good things happening with the airline. Example: Trend #GoIndiGOOD with various footages of happy customers and service.

The carrier can also come up with strategies to attract customers, thus making people forget the incident.

- Give frequent fliers certain coupons that can be redeemed on their next journey.

- Provide free snacks and food on weekdays (or three days a week).

- Provide round-trip offers.

- Bring in a mascot that signifies a common man or ‘for the people’.

(The third runners-up are first year students of PGDM at Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai)