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Rick Denton (00:06):

You’re listening to CX Passport, the show about creating great customer experiences with a dash of travel talk. Each episode we’ll talk with our guests about great CX, travel, and just like the best journeys, explore new directions we never anticipated. I’m your host, Rick Denton. I believe the best meals are served outside and require a passport. Let’s get going.

(00:32):

With the summer we’ve had, I wonder what sort of loyalty might be left for an industry where today’s guest focuses. Mark Ross-Smith, an award-winning global airline loyalty industry leader sits with CX Passport today to talk about just that, loyalty and the airline industry. That’s right, the much maligned but so vital and so loyalty focused industry. Mark is doing his part to make a better experience for that world. Mark brings a depth of experience from the airline industry, previously heading up the Malaysia Airlines Enrich loyalty program.

(01:05):

Currently, Mark is CEO and founder at StatusMatch, which simplifies a key element of customer loyalty for the airlines. It’s always fun for me to talk with someone on the other side of the globe, expanding my perspective on customer experience beyond what I find here in the US. And with a depth of airline exposure, I’ll make sure and get Mark to share his travel stories as well. Mark, welcome to CX Passport.

Mark Ross-Smith (01:26):

Thank you, Rick, for the generous introduction. It’s my pleasure to be here with you.

Rick Denton (01:31):

It’s going to be fun today. Customer experience, I talk about it, it has this wide definition. Sometimes I say it’s kind of like when someone says, “Oh, so you’re a designer.” Well, what does that mean, graphic design, industrial design, all that? And so I love having guests from all flavors of the customer experience world. I’ll get a helping of customer service, a taste of UX, a side of marketing. Today, it’s loyalty. So let’s start by talking about how you see customer experience and loyalty overlapping.

Mark Ross-Smith (01:58):

I think you’re right in that within the customer experience ecosystem, there is a loyalty and a marketing component. And if you’re trying to visualize what this looks like, there’s a Venn diagram somewhere that has customer experience, marketing, loyalty. I think I sit somewhere in the center of that where loyalty and specifically airline loyalty, which is the field I play in has a pretty critical role in gluing these areas together and making a holistic, cohesive customer experience for passengers of the airline.

Rick Denton (02:34):

Yeah. So when I’m thinking about that, just that loyalty aspect of it, I know we’re going to get into some depth of loyalty tying to customer experience and all of that, have you seen it whether in your specific airline experience or just industry experience that those two worlds work well together? Are they working in opposition to each other? How are they even inside of a company, really working together to make an overall experience something a customer would want?

Mark Ross-Smith (03:01):

So we’re seeing a bit of a trend in airlines now where there’s a dedicated customer experience. In fairness, a lot of airlines, it’s a C level role now, like a chief customer experience officer, which is great for airlines because airlines customer experience had 100 years to get this right. Generally, loyalty would report into one of a few different key roles, and one of them we see a lot of airlines is reporting into a chief customer experience officer. And that kind of shows you the track within an airline that it is.

(03:36):

Some airlines that reports into a marketing role, but that marketing roles have traditionally been TV and billboard and print magazine, that kind of stuff. Whereas loyalty programs, especially in the last few years, have really come to the light because of the value that they bring airlines and the cash flow they generate. What airlines are realizing is there’s a link between really great brand experience, the customer experience that goes with that and profitability out of customers. Funny enough, when people are happy they spend more. Who would’ve guessed?

Rick Denton (04:14):

That. So that sounds so simple. If we just hit the pocket, then we could go print up shirts and print up some coffee mugs, maybe put in a throw pillow on our couch. We know it to be true and yet we also know that there is such an opposite experience of that going on in some pockets of the airline experience. You and I both know that there are some airlines where it is an incredibly delightful experience, but you also know, and we’ll keep names out of it, but airlines where it is just an almost near toxic experience. Why aren’t certain airlines buying into that? Or if they are buying into it, not doing it for real, just paying lip service to it?

Mark Ross-Smith (04:54):

I think if we take a step back and look at how airlines traditionally make decisions around customer experience, and there’s a lot… It’s come from the perspective of… If you work in an airline, right?

Rick Denton (05:04):

Right.

Mark Ross-Smith (05:04):

And I think if you’re working on an airline, you get cheap flights or it’s near freight when you fly. And what happens is genuinely most people work in airline, not genuine customers of their own product, right? They’re not there spending five, 10, $20,000 to go fly around the world just ’cause they get free flights or cheap flights. Why would you spend that? Right?

Rick Denton (05:24):

Right.

Mark Ross-Smith (05:26):

And so there’s a bit of a disconnect in some airlines around that. Less so in low-cost airlines, right?

Rick Denton (05:31):

Okay.

Mark Ross-Smith (05:32):

Because staff generally can’t afford the tickets, whereas-

Rick Denton (05:35):

I see.

Mark Ross-Smith (05:35):

… if they work for a really big airline with really nice first class suites and stuff, not every staff member is out there spending 20,000 bucks on a flight. And so when you have people that work in the company that are real customers of their own product, generally that customer experience goes up. If we look at another example like Starbucks, everyone that works there is a customer, right? Because it’s pretty easy. You open the store, you’re in there for two minutes. You open, oh, that smell of like, “I smelled the coffee. There’s my addiction again.”

(06:10):

It’s easy and everyone knows how it works and how it should work. Whereas an airline is a little bit disjointed because the experience or the customer experience from the moment you book a flight is vastly different to how people that work in an airline, that experience they go through versus you and me and everyone else and the millions of other travelers, how we book flights and how we check in from a flight. Just a really different experience. So I think especially in airline, if more staff there were users of their own product, I think we’d see a closer alignment of closing that gap and an overall better customer experience that starts from the decision-making process.

Rick Denton (06:53):

Having flown a ton, you and I have talked about our shared extensive and our loyalty levels and that kind of stuff. I hadn’t really thought of that before in the sense that what I’m going through is clearly different. I mean, I guess on the surface of course we know the gate agent is clearly experiencing something different than what I am as the passenger trying to board in an organized fashion. But that overall sense of operating in an airline being different than being a customer of it, that principle holds true across so many aspects of customer experience. That idea of go out there and live what your customer lives.

(07:26):

I know at some point like, “Okay, the CEO of big brand airline in the Americas, they’re still going to get special treatment on the plane just because people know who that person is, but somehow find a way to go out there and taste that and see what that’s like.” You’d mentioned a term to me before and it was completely new to me. I’d never heard this before Yūgen. And I would love for you to share that concept with the listeners and explain how that concept of Yūgen applies to travel.

Mark Ross-Smith (07:56):

So Yūgen is a traditional Japanese aesthetics concept and it’s defined as the subtle and the profound. Fundamentally, it’s the appreciation of beauty or art. It’s from Japan obviously. It talks about how it values the power to evoke an emotion rather than the ability to state it directly. So what that means is it’s a way to describe an emotional moment that we feel and when we see something that is indescribably perfect.

(08:29):

So for example, it’s the moment as you gaze out the horizon and that moment when the sun just pops up over the horizon, like that one second that it just… There it is. How do you describe that? Right? The word for it is it’s a Yūgen ’cause it’s invoking an emotional response within you about it, right? It’s the valleys between the mountains. You don’t really notice the valleys, but the beauty of the mountains is only there because of the valleys.

Rick Denton (08:57):

Oh.

Mark Ross-Smith (08:57):

Yeah?

Rick Denton (08:57):

Yeah.

Mark Ross-Smith (08:58):

It’s the moment that a calligrapher puts the ink on the paper for the first time and you see that first brush stroke, it’s just so perfect because they have years and years of experience and you see it like, “Wow.”

Rick Denton (09:12):

Nice. I like the beauty of that. I think we could just listen to that and enjoy just thinking about Yūgen. But it is a travel so does Yūgen when you’re introducing that concept apply to travel, that beautiful thought that you’re describing?

Mark Ross-Smith (09:27):

So I think we’ve actually all experienced to some degree a Yūgen moment, what I call Yūgen moment in travel. I call them small moments. So it’s that moment when you’re sitting in a seat, the flight attendant comes over and brings you a glass of wine, but the glass of wine is full to the brim.

Rick Denton (09:45):

Nice.

Mark Ross-Smith (09:46):

Right?

Rick Denton (09:46):

Yeah.

Mark Ross-Smith (09:46):

It’s not expected. And you look at them. There’s that moment where you look at their eyes, they look at you and there’s this acknowledgement of, “You understand me, thank you.” For those of us lucky enough to have had an upgrade at the gate, you’re at the gate, you scan your boarding pass and then it goes beep, beep, beep, beep. And it’s like, “Sorry, we’ve had to reassign your seat.” And they say, “Here’s your new seat.” It’s like, “Oh, sorry, we had to put you in 1A. You’re in 63E and now you’re in 1A. So I’m sorry.” It’s that moment and it’s like, “Ah, this is why I fly that airline. This is why I’m so loyal to the airline.” That feeling is there for about three seconds, but what happens is positive feelings repeated over and over and over.

(10:34):

They get locked in your subconscious mind and it’s your subconscious mind that remembers things innately. So next time you go to book an airline ticket for some reason, you go to your favorite airline and you start looking at your ticket. You don’t know why, you’re just loyal because you feel good about that brand because you’ve had all these positive experiences, all these positive Yūgen moments.

Rick Denton (10:55):

Yeah. Actually, as you’re telling that I’m immediately going through all of my Yūgen experiences that I’ve had. And what’s interesting is there’s a couple that… I’m talking about from the ’90s, so it’s that long ago and if this podcast lasts into perpetuity, we’re recording it in 2022. But back in the ’90s, 1990s, there was a particular US domestic airline that I have subsequently fired from my business now because their experience is so bad.

(11:20):

But I still remember the smell of the warm cookie that would be provided on a longer flight coming if you happen to be up in first class. Or a Sunday that they provided. I also remember the delight of a particular carrier that I would choose to fly to Asia. There was something about being able to walk up the stairs to the bubble I called it at the top of the 747, that moment where it just felt, “Ooh, this is special. This is why I want to do that.”

(11:48):

These are memories from decades ago and yet they sit with me today. Now, I guess I did mention that you have to deliver consistent experiences beyond the Yūgen or you get fired as an airline. And so maybe that’s something I’d want to ask about. What about the anti-Yūgen experiences? And so you mentioned boarding and the particular airline that I’m describing, their boarding process is one that’s group one, group two, group three, group four, which sounds like it’d be really organized, right? Except that at the gate level, frequently what happens is group one, one 1,000, two 1,000. Group two, one 1,000, two 1,000. Group three.

(12:20):

By the time you’ve gotten to about 15 seconds into the boarding process, groups one through six are crowded around a tiny space and it is just utter chaos. So if Yūgen is so vital, the loyalty you describe it caused memories for me decades later, how do these anti-Yūgen experiences occur?

Mark Ross-Smith (12:38):

You mentioned something really interesting on the boarding process. They’re funny enough into one Yūgen. There is a Japanese airline. They have a first class, a business class, premium economy, economy. And when they call for boarding, it’s always we invite our first class diamond members to board. What they deliberately, it’s not 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, it’s 1,000, 2,000, 34,000, 35. There’s a good 30-second wait there and I’ve observed this many times. Obviously, not picking first class. I’m sitting there waiting for-

Rick Denton (13:12):

You’re getting a lot of time to observe it from the outside.

Mark Ross-Smith (13:15):

And I’m looking at it, I’m like, “You know what? There’s no one boarding.” There’s actually no one in first class on the flight because I checked on the flight. There’s a giant advertisement for first class. That was my interpretation. It’s like, “You know what, you could be in this line but you’re not. So next time think about it.”

Rick Denton (13:35):

Fascinating. This is your captain speaking. I want to thank you for listening to CX Passport today. We’ve now reached our cruising altitude, so I’ll turn that seatbelt sign off. While you’re getting comfortable, hit that follow or subscribe button on your favorite podcast app so you’ll never miss an episode. Love if you’d tell a friend about CX Passport, leave a review so others can discover the show as well. Now, sit back and enjoy the rest of the episode.

(14:03):

You’re right. It is an absolute ad. It’s not only just a better boarding process, but it’s marketing built in. I love it.

Mark Ross-Smith (14:11):

So I think to a point the opposite of Yūgen. There’s probably a word for that. One of your listeners will go Googling that.

Rick Denton (14:17):

It’s not anti-Yūgen but I’m sure there’s something better.

Mark Ross-Smith (14:20):

No, I think you’re right because when you have a consistently negative experience, or we’ll call it not so positive, less than 50%, and that’s over and over and over again, you start to feel why am I interacting with this brand? And I think to your point when you know fired that airline, that’s what happened. You had these small moments that were not so great over and over and over and over. Sometimes airlines can get away with this as well.

(14:51):

They could neglect you to some degree. They can could lose your bags. They could deliver you an hour late to your destination, but get these small moments and you still feel pretty good about the flight.

Rick Denton (15:03):

I hope you’re right. I know that I can certainly say that my experience with Southeast Asian carriers like you’re describing were much vastly different than what my experience with my carriers here in the US. But that idea of… At least I hope that customers begin to vote with their wallets towards those positive experience because I guess to some degree the airlines are saying, “Look, I can treat you like crap and you’re still going to show up.”

(15:29):

So there’s an element of that. At least it feels that way in the US but I know that I’m not the only one that has fired this particular airline and has chosen others because of that experience. I do hope that it will change and I hope that there’s… I think something else that exists right now and maybe it’s particularly a US element that there become this combativeness between passenger and airline that has actually manifested in real physical combativeness.

(15:57):

But even just that attitude between the two that they almost felt as enemies of each other, and I would love to see aspects of that both in the airport, inside the plane, some of that come together realization. Actually, we’re all trying to achieve the same goal, which is to have a great flight that takes off and lands on time, safely with a positive experience inside the cabin.

(16:18):

I want to move out of that for a little bit here because when I’m talking to someone who has access, let’s use that term, has access to such a wide opportunity to travel, working for Malaysia Airlines being one example, but just being in the region that you are, I always like to ask, “How did you leverage your flight benefits? How well? Was there a time that you stood there in the airport. You had your backpack on, you had your passport and you thought, “Yeah, I’ll head to Kenya this weekend.”

Mark Ross-Smith (16:49):

I have not headed to Kenya for the weekend. Before Malaysia, I lived in Hong Kong with my wife and my wife actually worked at a pretty big airline there. And this is back in the day without kids. You could do this kind of stuff. There were times it sort of jumped. She’d come home from work and we’d go, “Oh, let’s go to Bangkok for the weekend.”

Rick Denton (17:13):

Nice.

Mark Ross-Smith (17:15):

There was one time I remember actually I needed to go back to Australia for some family reason I think, and this is in the evening. So I go to the airport, I’m like, “Sorry, I need to get on this flight.” You’re standby passenger of stuff, right?

Rick Denton (17:30):

Oh, yeah.

Mark Ross-Smith (17:31):

There’s no seats available and I’m all bummed out like, “Oh, what am I going to do? Do I go by another city? You got your phone out thinking of that 300 options that you’ve got to get to a country, right?” Via this airline via this city. This one via this one. As I was doing that, I remember the person at the service desk comes over and says, “Actually, I can get you on the flight.” The captain said, you can have the jump seat. Do you want it?”

Rick Denton (17:58):

Whoa.

Mark Ross-Smith (18:01):

I ended up being an avgeek. I’m like…

Rick Denton (18:02):

Heck yeah.

Mark Ross-Smith (18:04):

This is like an upgrade. I was happy to get in the a coach seat in the back in the last row next to the bathroom. I was happy with that. I see this better than first class in my eyes.

Rick Denton (18:23):

That’s awesome. That is just simply awesome. So imagine when you’re standing there at the board and in the case of not getting upgraded to the jump seat, which is fascinating and would be truly my best seat if someone would ever offer that to me, which I know no longer can happen sadly. But when you’ve got all these destinations, sometimes the travel can wear you out and it’s nice to jump in the first class lounge. So I’d love for you to join me here in the first class lounge. Let’s move quickly here and have a little fun. What is a dream travel location from your past?

Mark Ross-Smith (18:56):

Hong Kong. Great buzz. Love it, lived there. I still love it. It’s just the best place to go. I

Rick Denton (19:02):

I love Hong Kong.

Mark Ross-Smith (19:02):

Hong Kong still is.

Rick Denton (19:04):

Just the blend of West and East? The food is phenomenal. The beauty is off the charts. What a great place. I can see why that would be the dream travel from your past. What is a dream travel location you’ve not been to yet?

Mark Ross-Smith (19:16):

Maldives. Still not been there. It’s on the bucket list.

Rick Denton (19:20):

I am amazed by its beauty as well and hopefully get there someday as well. Maybe a little easier for you than it is for me, but hopefully you get there someday. We talked about food or I mentioned it of Hong Kong. What’s a favorite thing of yours to eat?

Mark Ross-Smith (19:38):

So burgers and mojitos. That’s how I grade how good a hotel is by-

Rick Denton (19:42):

Burgers and mojitos?

Mark Ross-Smith (19:43):

Burgers and mojitos. I got a habit of doing this years ago and so I go to a new hotel I’ve never been at, as long as they serve these two things. It’s like I’ll just get a burger and a mojito, and that’s how I’m going to rate this entire experience.

Rick Denton (19:58):

Oh my gosh. I love the first class lounge because I always get something out of a guest that shocks me. I love it. Burgers and mojitos. Maybe that’ll be the title of the episode, but we’ll see where this goes. What is a thing on the other side your parents forced you to eat but you hate it as a kid?

Mark Ross-Smith (20:14):

Broccoli. And I’m doing it to my kids right now. They hate it. I’m making them do it. I’m trolling them now. I’m having a lot of fun.

Rick Denton (20:22):

I think sometimes as parents… And mine are much older. I’ve got one in university, one almost in university. But as parents that trolling our kids is actually a key part of parenting that I did not realize until I became a parent. I look back on some of the things my parents didn’t, and I’m thinking, “They were trolling me, weren’t they?” So I encourage you, keep that broccoli trolling up, Mark. It’ll be something they will be able to talk about on a podcast 40 years from now as well. What is one travel item, not including your phone, you will not leave home without?

Mark Ross-Smith (20:51):

Fun fact, I actually didn’t have a phone for a long time. I smashed my phone about a year ago and I’ve started to try and not have a phone for a while. I lasted about six months with no phone.

Rick Denton (21:00):

Wow.

Mark Ross-Smith (21:00):

But put that aside, I think realistically, you can’t leave home without your American Express. Right?

Rick Denton (21:07):

Tell me about StatusMatch. Why’d you create it and how were you making that specific experience better?

Mark Ross-Smith (21:20):

Bit of backstory. So years ago when I moved to Hong Kong, I asked the major local airline there for a StatusMatch. I had a top tier status with a competing airline. And so I said, “Can you match my status? Can you give me the same thing with your airline. I’ll switch my business to you because I’m moving to Hong Kong.” They said, “No, and I couldn’t understand it because I spent all this money with this other airline. Why wouldn’t you want my business?”

(21:49):

Status matching as a concept is not new. It’s been around since at least 1986. So airlines know what it is and they said no. I thought, “Oh, this is disastrous customer experience.” So I asked another airline and they said, “I’ll give you a silver status,” which is… Oh, at the time time I was like ultra uber VIP status. So having a silver is not really like for like. And I thought that was a bit of an insult really.

(22:15):

So I thought, “I’m going to start investigating this. I’m going to start why airlines saying no to this guy.” I had a bit of time at my sleeve, obviously. Why are airlines doing this? And I thought, “I’m going to build a business around this one day. I’m going to fix this customer experience. What my firsthand experience, a poor customer experience. And there’s got to be other people like me out there.

(22:40):

And fast forward seven, eight years and there is. There’s people that change jobs and move cities all around the world every day. Thousands, and thousands, and thousands of people. And if you’re like an expat or a foreigner in a country, generally you’re making some decent money. And when you move to New City, what do you do? You get a new bank account, you get a new credit card. I’ve got to fly a new airline ’cause my old airline doesn’t service this city or this country anymore.

Rick Denton (23:05):

Right.

Mark Ross-Smith (23:05):

Right? So I need to move my life a little bit. So there’s totally legitimate reasons why people would ask for these things. And the majority airlines are just not set up for this. They’re great at doing a lot of things. They’re generally not that great at onboarding new high value customers. They don’t really know how to act or what to say. So StatusMatch, we’ve effectively built a process around that to help to manage it on behalf of airlines. So instead of airlines saying no to the customer, they can just say, “Sure, go here, go to this website, go to our partner, and they’ll look after you.”

Rick Denton (23:47):

Well, one, I like the origin story because I love anybody that’s created a company based off of pain point that they experienced themselves. The, “All right, this is broken, so I’m going to go solve it.” I too have experienced that. I happen to live in a particular part of the US that it’s dominated thankfully by two carriers. That’s why I was able to fire one and be able to stick with the other. But if I moved to another city in the US, some of these airlines would have no relevance.

(24:11):

So all that status disappears. So I would want to be able to have that. And you’re right, so much of what my purchasing decisions are based off on my loyalty. And some of it even translates into all the ancillary benefits, the credit cards, the hotel membership. All of that ties into can I earn a particular thing with this airline this year because that particular thing is so valuable to me. And being able to translate those dollars to another carrier through something easy like StatusMatch would be very valuable to me. But I imagine also very valuable to the airline as well, making things simpler for them.

Mark Ross-Smith (24:47):

It’s actually really good for airlines, even the airline that, quote, is losing your business because ultimately all airlines want you to be what I call loyal to loyalty. Although it’s a premium loyalty. They want you to keep using that current credit card even if it’s with another carrier. Because if you disconnect from that system, so you’re not loyal to loyalty, what happens is through your mind, you’re like, “Well, you know what? I’ve had these bad experiences. This airline has said, ‘No, they’re not going to do this, give me a StatusMatch or whatever.'”

(25:20):

In your mind that’s the moment that’s like, “Well, you question yourself. Hang on. I’ve been going to this airlines website for the last 14 years I’ve been booking. I spent how much money with them. And they’re saying no? What happens then is like, “Well, you know what?” I’ve just seen this offer for this credit card. It’s a cashback card. It’s not going to earn airline miles anymore, but gee, look, it’s 5% cashback. Hang on.”

(25:47):

And you start doing the math in your mind. You’re like, “Well, hang on. I might be better off getting this card instead of the airline card. And hang on, this other airline, this other low cost airline or a different airline that has no premium loyalty program, it’s just a lot cheaper to go to the cities I need to fly for work. What happens is people are kicked out of that premium loyalty sort of flow. And this is actually bad for all airlines.

(26:16):

So status matching, even if you’re an airline losing a customer, it’s actually better for them to take up status with your competing airline than them to disconnect entirely because as soon as they disconnect entirely, they get the cashback credit card, they cancel their programs. And then what happens is you start flying based on price and network, and timing instead of based on the flashy, shiny platinum card you’ve got on your wallet. And that’s the worst thing ever for airlines.

Rick Denton (26:44):

All the way back to our first question, how do loyalty and customer experience tie together? Sometimes loyalty itself can overcome a bad customer experience up to a time as you’re describing that loyalty. All right, I can overlook that recline. I can overlook that bad seat assignment. I can overlook that mishandling to a certain degree. But customer experience then influences that loyalty over time. They weave together in separately.

(27:06):

I want to close with this. We’re actually a little over time, but that’s all right. The theory of loyalty is good. What we just said there, it influences customer experience and vice versa. But actions, what matters to the customer. We alluded to a little bit of it earlier, but how do you help companies get out of that theory of loyalty and into actual action of loyalty and customer experience?

Mark Ross-Smith (27:27):

So I guess the question is really how do you scale this? How do you do it more than just a one-on-one kind of experience, which is difficult when you’ve got how many millions of airline passengers a year? So I think step one, I mean for any airline employees listening, be a customer of your own products. It’s kind of a step easy thing to do.

Rick Denton (27:51):

You almost want to say it like, “Yeah, of course you got to listen first, right? Everybody understand that? Listen.”

Mark Ross-Smith (27:56):

Step two, what I would do is show other customers how you are wooing your best customers, right? So imagine if an airline created a YouTube channel or something and posted videos or… There’s TV shows like the airport TV shows or the border control ones. They show you behind the scenes of the airport like that cool stuff. Why don’t airlines do that with great customer experiences?

Rick Denton (28:18):

Interesting.

Mark Ross-Smith (28:19):

Show the world how the small things they do really well every day, showcase the good things. Remember the old, WestJet Christmas videos they used to make?

Rick Denton (28:31):

I do remember that. And I still remember crying when I saw it. That thing was beautiful.

Mark Ross-Smith (28:35):

It wows you to the degree that you didn’t expect it. And for these people that were part of that, I think this would’ve created a lot of lifelong WestJet fans. Why can’t airlines do more of that? Maybe not to the same degree and not every week, but something really cool that people would just never expect. I think if they did that, and airlines really showcase what they can do, what they’re capable of doing, because airlines have the ability to invoke emotional experiences better than a lot of brands in the world. And I think they should really leverage that.

Rick Denton (29:08):

I’m hearing the listen, the emotion. And by the way, Mark, let’s talk after the show sometime. Maybe you and I need to create that offering for the airlines and we suddenly become a new YouTube channel. But we’ll talk about that later. Let’s leave it at there. I like that. I think we can end with that. I love the emotion aspect of it, and that doesn’t surprise me when you’re describing loyalty, having such an emotional component to it that airlines do have that ability to deliver and also destroy great, great experiences and emotions and the like. So Mark, if people want to know a little more about StatusMatch, more about you, how can they get in touch with you?

Mark Ross-Smith (29:43):

Check out statusmatch.com. You can add me to LinkedIn. I’m pretty active on there. Or I have a blog, traveldatadaily.com. It’s free. Check it out.

Rick Denton (29:50):

Awesome. I will get that all in the show notes. Scroll down, check that out, connect with Mark and learn more about StatusMatch and then get out there and do some flying. Find the airlines that you love and let both Mark and me know of some great experiences out there. Mark, it was a delight talking with you today. I really enjoyed it. I certainly have learned some things about airline loyalty. I hope that what we talked about in the middle that someday we’ll see some improvement throughout the airlines and that day is coming. I’m looking forward to that, but wonderful conversation. Thank you today, Mark. I enjoyed it.

Mark Ross-Smith (30:23):

Thank you, Rick. It’s been a pleasure.

Rick Denton (30:28):

Thanks for joining us this week on CX Passport. Make sure to visit our website, cxpassport.com where you can hit subscribe so you’ll never miss a show. While you’re at it, you can check out the rest of the EX for CX website. If you’re looking to get real about customer experience, EX for CX is available to help you increase revenue by starting to listen to your customers and create great experiences for every customer, every time. Thanks for listening to CX Passport and be sure to tune in for our next episode. Until next time, I’m Rick Denton and I believe the best meals are served outside and require a passport.