Your airline reservation system has more in common with your work software than you think

It’s been a rough year for a certain airline’s PR team. But as angry as people get over flying in the unfriendly skies, they should be just as outraged about the outdated, hard-to-use technology airlines expect their customers to use. Unlike many other industries where technology has helped pave the way for a smooth customer experience, airlines have only made a few advancements like Mobile Boarding Passes and the ability to add your itinerary to your Google Calendar.

Similarly, workplace software still remains some of the most inelegant, difficult to use, and least user-friendly systems that you will find yourself using today. Despite small improvements over the years, enterprise applications continue to lack the kind of true transformation that would constitute the modernization needed to keep up with the expectations of today’s employees. In my experience, both airlines and workplace tools are still stuck in the 90s, and it’s time for IT teams to adjust—or risk losing out.

So, what are airlines and enterprise software getting wrong?

Your experience should be the same, no matter where you are

When it comes to dealing with airlines, the experience isn’t consistent between desktop and mobile devices. One experience is typically great ... the other is not. It’s easy to check into your flight on an airline’s mobile app, but if you don’t have the app, it’s a struggle. Similarly, getting a boarding pass is often easier from a desktop since adding it to Passbook is not consistently an option. Customer experience should be the same no matter what channel you are in. Why should you have to switch devices to complete an airline reservation or check into a flight?

Workplace software is even worse. In most cases, the experience is bad no matter what channel employees are using. Enterprise applications suffer from feature bloat and usually contain too much data for a single person to digest. In today’s omnichannel workplace, mobile-first is no longer sufficient. IT teams should focus on a “mobile-also” approach to create a user-friendly way for employees to complete tasks across any device or in any channel, regardless of where they are.

Attaining consistency across channels can be challenging, especially in today’s environment where good customer experience is key. Both airlines and IT teams building enterprise software should think about this mobile-also approach to improve the customer experience and ensure that tasks can be completed in the channel of the user’s choice.

Data should be relevant and easy to access

A recent survey Forrester Consulting conducted on behalf of Sapho found that 62 percent of employees delay completing tasks that require them to log into multiple systems because it takes too long, which often leads to a task being avoided altogether. For both airlines and work software, users shouldn’t have to struggle to find the data that they need. When employees can access relevant data in apps, it increases productivity by more than 45 percent, saving companies 240 hours of lost time a year.

For airlines, once users get past the hurdle of remembering a password or rewards number, it’s simply hard to locate the information they want within an airline’s application. Items like seat upgrades, departure statuses, free drink tickets, and more can be hard to find, especially if users are moving between mobile and desktop devices. By focusing more on the customer experience and offering easy data access, airlines will have happier, more engaged customers.

Similarly, relevant data should be easy for employees to find in their work tools so they can make intuitive, data-based decisions - today that isn’t the case. IT teams need to focus on modernizing existing tools like Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle to ensure employees can easily access data and get their jobs done.

Data aggregation needs to be a bigger priority

When traveling, every airline has their own booking system. If you booked an outbound flight with Delta and an inbound flight with Southwest, you must have both apps to access your reservation.

Like airline apps, work information and data is usually scattered across multiple apps and employees must log into several systems to find what they need. Airlines and work software must meet users’ needs by delivering relevant updates and information that can be found in a single place, from disparate apps and systems.

Now, there are good examples in travel as a whole: TripIt is travel app that is meeting users’ needs. It aggregates all airline, hotel, dinner, and car rental reservations in one place so users can easily access them. It makes intelligent recommendations, such as providing driving directions from the airport to the hotel if it sees you booked a rental car.  IT teams building enterprise software should take a page from TripIt’s book and aggregate important information into one organized place to help encourage employee usage and engagement, without the frustration of having to search for it.

Airlines are failing consumers with outdated, hard-to-use systems that don't provide the user experience people expect. Unfortunately, enterprise software is the same, and users are ready for a more modern, easy-to-use, omnichannel experience.

Check out this short video to learn more about how Sapho improves employee productivity, engagement, and effectiveness at work. 

 

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Natalie Lambert

Natalie Lambert is the Vice President of Marketing at Sapho. She joins from Citrix where she held multiple product marketing leadership positions. Before that, Natalie was a principal analyst at Forrester Research where she was the leading expert on end user computing.

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