As manager of the Customer Insights & Analytics group, I spend most of my time providing Delta with input from our customers and our potential customers so that we can better serve them.
One of the most direct ways we get customer input is through focus groups. Typically, we’ll call customers (and sometimes non-customers) to gather in a facility with a one-way mirror. A professional moderator on my team will lead the group of usually eight people through a conversation around the given topic, while other researchers and Delta management sit in the back room and take notes.
Sometimes, participants know that Delta is “behind the glass.” At other times, it is important for Delta to maintain anonymity, especially if we are testing ideas that are not yet public.
Usually, groups are held in hub cities or focus cities: Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, New York, and Los Angeles. But as a global airline, we’ve also conducted focus groups in London, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, and Moscow, among others. Most international groups are led by a local moderator in the language of that country, with a simultaneous translation occurring in the backroom over headsets. It feels sort of like the United Nations!
My team also conducts many surveys. This is especially helpful when we need to quantify our results. Typically, when there are burning questions, we’ll go right to our frequent flyers, usually offering 250 SkyMiles to complete a short survey. And we get amazing response rates! Hours after sending out an email, we will have received hundreds of completed surveys. If you ever want to take part, make sure you are a SkyMiles member with an email address in your profile and that you have opted in to receive SkyMiles promotions.
Of course, we also are many other ways of getting customer input, including one-on-one conversations in airports, on-board surveys, telephone surveys, online panels, and online discussion boards—all used from time to time, depending on the situation and the scope of the project.
Customer Insights & Analytics