Case study:

Helping a major international airline to set customer satisfaction targets

Hartley McMaster often provides statistical and analytical support to clients and has over many years worked regularly with the Research and Insight team of one of the world’s best known airlines.

The client’s R&I team use market research and customer feedback to help plan improvements to services and monitor passenger satisfaction across a broad range of service areas such as check-in, cleanliness, punctuality, catering, and staff performance.

Hartley McMaster has helped the airline to set customer satisfaction targets for their next operating period. These targets need to be set at a route level (for the Heathrow to JFK route, for example) and need to recognise planned initiatives – but they also need to be consistent with the high-level targets set for the whole airline. This produces a complex statistical problem.

The work, although statistical and analytical at its core, also draws on the softer consultancy skills, supporting the consultative and iterative process of developing, explaining and agreeing targets with the many stakeholders across the airline.

“This project is the perfect example of our work, combining analytical methods with consultancy skills.”

We supported the airline’s R&I team in four tasks relating to their main customer survey:

  • Supported departments across the business in setting survey score targets and provided improvements to the methods employed
  • Reviewed IT processes behind the survey and proposed improvements and testing procedures
  • Supported embedding major changes to the survey, including calibration
  • Helped the business make the best use of data extraction tool AskiaVista

The client’s R&I team also looked to Hartley McMaster to provide technical skills to assess and rapidly produce the breakdown and aggregation of survey scores and targets, to meet the varied needs of stakeholders across the business. We wrote Excel tools that kept these measurement tasks as simple as possible for future use, and we provided a more rapid means of assessing large quantities of IT process scripts than normal IT maintenance procedures would have allowed.

The outcome

Hartley McMaster delivered the airline:

  • Carefully tested target proposals over a number of years
  • Excel tools to make this and related work easier in the future
  • A significant increase in survey sample size following an IT process review
  • Insight into the impact of the major survey changes
  • Training and documentation in retrieving data more quickly and effectively


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