5 Ways to Grow a Rabid Fan Base

by Martin Malden

Group of raving fans. I love flying, but I hate travelling by air. The entire process becomes more unpleasant every year.

So when I had to travel to the UK recently for a family emergency, I determined to use a different approach: instead of taking a direct flight with mediocre service and uncomfortable seats, I decided to break the flight into two legs.

That meant I could get a better deal, and I liked the idea of being able to get off the aircraft, stretch my legs and take a shower in the transit lounge half way through the trip

Qatar Airways has been advertising heavily in Hong Kong for a long time, so my plan was to give them a try. But, as always when trying a new supplier, I wondered whether they were going to live up to their marketing promise.

They did. In spades.

5 things we marketers can learn from my experience with Qatar Airways

Here are 5 things that Qatar did that we should ensure we’re doing (or not doing) in our own businesses:

  1. They were totally transparent throughout the booking process about the costs and what I got in return. (Many airlines exclude taxes from the prices they quote online – these only hit you later in the process. Are you using obscurity to get a new customer hooked only to hit them with more costs later?)
  2. Their shopping cart journey was smooth, logical and well sign-posted. (Many online shopping experiences are a recipe for pure stress. Have you tried buying anything on your own site recently? How was the process?)
  3. Their check-in process was welcoming, they explained the arrangements for the mid-trip transfer and I left with my boarding passes, knowing what to expect. (Many times you’re left to try and figure it out for yourself or to find someone to ask. Do your customers know what the next step is in the process you’re putting them through? Do they know what they can expect from you?)
  4. The meals on board (the feature that stars in their ads) were the best I’ve tasted on any airline, anywhere. (Most airline food, even in business class, is pretty dismal but Qatar met or, rather, exceeded their promise. Are you meeting or beating your marketing promises?)
  5. My on-board meals were served, one dish at a time, with each being removed only when I had finished. (Most airline meals, even in business class, are brought to you on a tray which you’re left to work your way through. Do your customers get personalised, individual treatment or are they ‘processed’ by automated systems?)

For the moment, as a result of that flight, I’m a fan of Qatar Airways.

The difficult part for them, of course, is maintaining the standards they’ve achieved. That’s often more difficult than achieving them in the first place.

Cheers,

Martin Malden.

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