Flying High with Data Insights

2014 Customer Champion Kyle Groff, manager of customer insights at JetBlue, harnesses data to improve travelers' experiences.
Customer Experience

Customer service professionals often take on the role of detectives when investigating customer complaints to resolve an issue. Kyle Groff, manager of customer insights at JetBlue, uses data analytics and other tools to uncover insights in the vast amounts of customer feedback data that the airline collects.

Groff joined JetBlue approximately two years ago and one of his first moves was launching a companywide voice of the customer initiative. His goal? To take the customer feedback data JetBlue receives and use it to help frontline employees better serve travelers.

Groff and his team implemented a system that gathers feedback from travelers via social media, email, and surveys and tracks Net Promoter Score (NPS) trends for each airport JetBlue services. The team mapped out the customer journey and determined the experiences to measure across the check-in, security, and boarding processes. Using NPS as a guide, Kyle's team started tracking experience trends at each airport. If a score began to dip, the team used survey data to identify issues and share the feedback with appropriate employees from the CEO to gate agents.

This led to better visibility into how customers felt about traveling with JetBlue and allowed the airline to address issues more efficiently. Several months ago, for example, Groff's team noticed a low NPS trend at an airport and recent customer surveys revealed morning travelers were consistently providing lower ratings at that airport.

After examining specific survey responses targeting these travelers, and digging deeper into open-text feedback, the problem appeared to be that airport amenities were not located close to where these early flights departed and it was having a negative impact on travelers' overall experiences.

Groff's team communicated this insight to the frontline employees and the airport managers and developed a solution. Gate agents began passing out coffee and orange juice while travelers waited for their flights and NPS scores shot up quickly.

Groff attributes his success in helping JetBlue maintain its reputation for customer centricity to his colleagues and frontline agents. "Being the manager I oftentimes have to be the face of the voice of the customer," he says. "It's great to be nominated and to win awards like thisbut our customer support would be nowhere without the team that stands behind me."

In terms of challenges, quantifying the value of a customer experience initiative for corporate leaders who are looking for profits can be difficult, Groff notes. "It's such a challenge when you look at something like the customer experience and try to quantify the kind of financial impact that it has," he says. "I think intuitively most people would admit that a happy customer likely leads to more profit. But saying, 'this is why we need to focus on the customer because it's worth this amount of money,' is hard to do."