Throughout the industry, there is a lot of conflict going on right now between airline worker groups and management. Many airline worker groups are frustrated with the current state of affairs and are also looking to renegotiate their contracts as the industry recovers.
Unions will take different approaches to getting what they want, and I think something happening right now at United’s flight attendants union is remarkable and kind of hilarious. I first wrote about this last week, but the first “partition” is now out, and it’s difficult.
Airline management teams are typically obsessed with Net Promoter Scores (NPS) as a measure of customer satisfaction. This allows airlines to measure changes in customer sentiment over time, based on service changes, etc.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), which represents flight attendants at United Airlines, is removing a page from the executive manual. The union is in the process of establishing the concept a Flight Attendant Promotion Score (FPS), intended to measure flight attendant satisfaction with Chicago-based airline management.
Here is how the union describes this concept:
As we all know, United is committed to providing exceptional customer service to its passengers. United regularly surveys and collects feedback on areas where they can improve to provide a better experience through their Net Promoter Score (NPS). United have made it clear that this is one of the most important measures they use and have invested a lot of time and effort in teaching flight attendants all the different ways we can have a positive impact. on United’s NPS score.
United also has another group of customers, aside from their passengers, whose feedback they haven’t yet solicited in the same full way: United Flight Attendants. It’s just common sense that to deliver a great experience for United passengers, the people delivering the experience need to feel valued and supported.
Being the problem solvers that we are, we thought we would offer valuable insights into how management can improve this critical flight attendant experience for internal customers. We are delighted to announce our new Flight Attendant Promoter Score (FPS).
How This Promoter Score Is Measured
Each week, United Airlines flight attendants have the opportunity to complete a survey, which will be used to update the current FPS. This is intended to give a strong visual indicator of where management has improved or where they need to continue to work on.
Flight attendants have the opportunity to provide feedback on the following statements:
- I feel that my contributions to our airline are appreciated
- I can exchange my agreements/reserve days with free time/swimming pool
- I feel supported by management
- My contact with crew planning is timely and my issues are resolved
- Management is attentive to my needs during irregular operations
Flight attendants can rate management on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero meaning one is very disappointed and 10 meaning someone is very satisfied:
- Flight attendants who rate 9-10 are considered promoters
- Flight attendants who rate 7-8 are considered neutral or passive
- Flight attendants who rate 0-6 are considered detractors
FPS is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. While this seems to heavily favor detractors, in fairness it is the same formula United use to determine the promoter’s net score among customers.
The first net promoter score is -95%
The FPS will be updated every Friday, and the first results have just been published. So what is the initial score? -95%. Yes, you read that right, minus 95%. In other words, this could mean that 2.5% of flight attendants would be considered promoters, while 97.5% of flight attendants would be considered detractors (this excludes those who are neutral or passive, which which could be a significant number, in theory).
It goes without saying that these are very approximate results, but it is also somewhat what I expected. I think it’s interesting that the survey is done on a weekly basis, because I don’t think we’ll see much movement with these numbers.
Airline employees tend to have pretty strong opinions, so I can’t imagine that week after week a lot of flight attendants will say “oh yeah, I didn’t like management last week , but this week yes.
At the end of the line
The union representing flight attendants at United Airlines now asks its members to give feedback each week on how they think management is doing, to establish a flight attendant promoter score. The first score has been released, and it is 95% negative, meaning that 2.5% of flight attendants would be considered promoters, while 97.5% of flight attendants would be considered detractors.
If you ask me, this concept is kind of genius. Why? Just because I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a conversation with someone in airline management, and they’ve justified something wrong by saying customers love it, by based on the promoter’s net score (“no, everyone loves our turkey sandwiches and lobster rolls!”).
With this concept, there will at least be no confusion about what flight attendants think of management.
What do you think of the concept of the flight attendant promoter’s score?