The Spanish airline Iberia is part of the European IAG airline group which hasn’t made any secret of the fact that Net Promoter Score (NPS) or customer satisfaction scores are one of its most important metrics for measuring success – aside from financial performance of course.
The beauty of NPS is that it’s a widely used measure that’s used across industries so its easy to benchmark how one company is performing against its competitors. If you’ve ever been sent a survey that asked you how likely you were to recommend a company to a friend or family member on a scale of 1 (being least likely) and 10 (being highly likely) then you’ve taken part in an NPS survey.
Unfortunately, the IAG group doesn’t publish the NPS scores for its airline brands like Iberia, British Airways and Aer Lingus – in fact, it doesn’t even tell us what target they are trying to achieve. All we know is that NPS is an important internal metric and investment decisions are made in a bid to improve NPS.
Interestingly, Iberia has now decided to tell us that customer satisfaction scores have improved by 10-points on its Madrid to New York JFK route. The reason for such a dramatic increase has been the introduction of the Airbus A350 aircraft – who would have thought that passengers might be happier on a brand new plane with new seats and the very latest technology?
Or is it that simple?
It stands to reason that passengers would enjoy a new plane, especially one like the A350. Iberia says the aircraft is fitted out with wider seats and aisles, that air is filtered every 2-3 minutes and that humidity levels hover between 11% and 16%. Overhead bins are larger than older aircraft used on the same route and seven temperature control zones across the plane mean that everyone is comfortable.
On top of that, improved inflight entertainment, onboard WiFi and super quiet engines help to improve the experience. Iberia even reports that the A350 has cut 15-minutes off the average journey time between the two cities.
The plane has a lot to do with increased customer satisfaction but so too does the way in which Iberia has decided to outfit the latest addition to its fleet. Customer scores specifically relating to seating have increased by just three points – a marginal improvement which no doubt could have been even higher if Iberia had chosen to invest in a more industry-leading product across cabins.
In reality then, the plane is just one small part of a very big puzzle. Are customer satisfaction scores improving on brand new A320NEO aircraft with slimline seats, reduced seat pitch, no recline and tiny lavatories? Perhaps fitting out these planes with Wifi, individual power ports and streaming entertainment balances out the negatives – they might even tip the scales, especially if you can set the price point right.
A new plane is a good start but we can’t read too much into these scores without further information – and that’s something that the airlines most definitely don’t want to be made public.