Case study: Alaska Airlines’ lean startup test in airport lounges

alaska-737Seattle-based Alaska Airlines can already boast about plenty of things, including on-time performance (#1 major airline, according to FlightStats) and customer satisfaction (tops among traditional carriers, according to JD Power). But the internal Customer Research & Development team is always hunting for ways to upgrade the experience of flying with Alaska, which served nearly 30 million passengers last year.

Sandy Stelling, Managing Director of Customer R&D, and Jerry Tolzman, Customer Innovation R&D Manager, walked us through a recent effort to develop more personalized services, and shared some slides. Both will be leading a session at our Seattle Field Study later this month.

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Goal: Get more personal

For this project, we focused in on one area of our mandate: personalizing the travel experience for our customers. We wanted to explore what areas within personalization are ripe for our type of work. That started in June of 2014.

One way we brainstormed was by asking what it would be like if we were the worst airline for personalization, and so we came up with funny ideas around that. We’d make customers tell us who they are over and over again. You’d have a prison jumpsuit with a number on it. You’d constantly show your boarding pass. Some of it wasn’t very far from reality, actually.

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