Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lufthansa Airline is Customer-Focused

by Thomas Hinton

Recently, I flew Lufthansa Airlines round-trip between Los Angeles to Frankfurt. While I have traveled internationally many times, this was my first international experience with Lufthansa. Given the mediocre in-flight service I’ve received from various U.S. carriers in both coach and business class, I must confess my expectations for Lufthansa were not very high. Boy, was I surprised! Not only were the Lufthansa airport representatives and in-flight personnel exceptional, their courteous service in both coach and business class exceeded my expectations.

While courtesy, kindness, and in-flight comfort aren’t rocket science, very few airlines have mastered these simple pillars of superior customer service. It’s too bad because studies show that good service breeds customer loyalty. Lufthansa understands this simple equation because Lufthansa has analyzed its’ in-flight customer experience and determined how to make a ten hour flight a pleasant experience instead of agony and torture like many of their competitors.

I realize there are certain costs associated with providing passengers warm hand towels, a free glass of wine, complimentary newspapers and magazines, and in-flight entertainment programs including two movies. But, these simple in-flight niceties demonstrate that Lufthansa has moved beyond the “bean counter mentality” and makes operational decisions using a higher principle. That principle, namely, is customer satisfaction! Lufthansa has figured out that customer loyalty generates repeat business and repeat business is money in the bank!

While there’s still (leg) room for improvement -- especially in terms of the leg room and hobbit-sized seats most airlines use in coach class -- I think Lufthansa earns kudos for its exceptional service and challenging its airline competitors to raise the customer service bar! I look forward to my next exceptional experience on Lufthansa!

About the Author: Thomas Hinton is president of the American Consumer Council, a non-profit consumer education organization that represents 85,000 consumers in North America and administers ACC's “Green C” Certification Initiative that promotes environmental compliance and sustainability for businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. He can be reached at tom@americanconsumercouncil.org

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