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- Airship is a customer engagement platform (CEP) with a strong emphasis on mobile utilities.
- Focused on the B2C space, Airship works with top brands such as Gamestop, Alaska Airways, and Accuweather.
- ClickZ spoke with Airship’s SVP of Technology, Mike Herrick, to learn more about how their technology helps customers.
- Airship creates experiences within native mobile apps such as push notifications and in-app messages that are triggered based on behavior. They also have mobile wallet technology which enables companies to utilize features like mobile ticketing.
- Alaska Airlines works works with Airship to facilitate an optimal mobile CX throughout Alaska’s “Day of Travel” experience.
- Customers can log into Airship’s user interface and craft experiences through the composer, enabling them to configure their messages via a dashboard.
- Half of Alaska Airlines’ 6.5 million users check in through their mobile app via the use of Airship’s technology.
- 68% of travelers opt-in for “Day of Travel” messages, thus avoiding long lines at the gate
- Alaska generates over a million digital boarding passes with Airship each month.
Airship is a customer engagement platform that provides a variety of CX solutions within one integrated platform with a strong emphasis on mobile utilities including SMS and mobile app push notifications, in-app messaging, and mobile wallet marketing.
Examples of mobile wallet passes created within Airship
Based in Portland, Oregon, Airship is part of a growing suite of technologies serving the customer experience management space.
The customer engagement solutions market was valued at $13 Billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $23 billion by 2017.
Airship currently focuses on the B2C space, working with major brands such as Gamestop, Adidas, Alaska Airways and many other top brands.
A sample of Airship’s customers
Airship can be used as a standalone platform or integrated with other CX platforms.
Per Airship, “We bring the best of breed mobile capabilities to other marketing solutions along with real time behavioral data and predictive analytics.
Airship integrates with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, IBM Universal Behavior Exchange, Adobe Campaign, Oracle and more.”
ClickZ spoke with Airship’s SVP of Technology, Mike Herrick, to learn more about how their technology helps customers like Alaska Airlines reach customers on their smartphones, enabling them to provide exceptional customer service by leveraging their customers’ mobile devices.
A quick background on Airship
Mike Herrick has been with Airship for nine of the ten years since its founding.
He describes Airship as customer engagement software that helps brands orchestrate customer journeys across channels with a heavy focus on mobile, though they can reach people on any digital channel.
“We can create experiences within native mobile apps such as push notifications and in-app messages that are triggered based on behavior,” says Herrick. “We also have a product called Message Center which is a dedicated branded inbox for an app. Outside the app, we can reach people through SMS.”
Example of Airship’s Message Center within an app
Through Airship’s mobile wallet technology, Alaska Airlines sends boarding passes to travelers via their mobile devices.
The system updates the passes based on seat changes status upgrades, and other elements.
Example of an Alaska Airline mobile boarding pass—source: Airship
Airship also sends email, particularly in support of the mobile app.
Says Herrick, “If we predict that someone is going to disengage from the app, we can trigger an email or SMS.”
Airship’s open channels enable them to reach people anywhere such as a set top box, gaming console, or proprietary messaging system.
Says Herrick, “We’ve built great technology specific to customer engagement with a focus on becoming increasingly more intelligent in how we orchestrate experiences personalized to the individual. We do this for enterprise companies around the world.”
All companies can benefit from mobile CX capabilities
As noted above, Airship’s focus is on working with B2C brands.
“If you’re a B2C brand, you need to incorporate mobile CX,” says Herrick. “Focusing on advertising and top of funnel activities is complicated and expensive. The easiest way to grow is to take the customers that you have, keep them engaged, and get them to transact with you more often. The best way to do that is with a customer engagement platform that keeps them educated, informed and connects them with your brand.”
Alaska Airlines is a good example of the type of engagement that Herrick is describing.
Airship works with them to facilitate an optimal CX throughout Alaska’s “Day of Travel” experience by leveraging the Alaska Airlines app and other channels.
Alaska’s focus with mobile CX is to be as useful as possible by providing timely information such as informing travelers about gate changes, upgrades, and boarding pass updates.
“These are all kind of magical micro moments keep travelers informed and help them trust Alaska Airlines to do their job,” explains Herrick. “Alaska creates a really positive experience with the traveler who is more likely to choose them over a competitor in the future.”
Airship has been working with Alaska Airlines since 2013, and they were the first airline to launch with their cross-platform, mobile wallet boarding pass solution.
What onboarding with Airship looks like
The complexity of integrating Airship into your tech stack depends on the use case and the customer.
Some customers only use Airship for SMS or limited mobile wallet use cases, which are basic functionalities.
In each case, a tech team isn’t required for implementation.
Says Herrick, “Generally, due to the complexity of B2C and the types of experiences that brands try to create, a technology team is involved in implementation. Our client teams typically include a marketer, product manager, and developer who create the experiences on the consumer side.”
Customer technology teams work with Airship’s account management team which includes technical, business, and strategic experts to help create great experiences.
Customers can log into Airship’s user interface and craft experiences through the composer, which enables the customer to configure messages via a dashboard.
The Airship dashboard interface
“We have an SDK for a mobile app or website which is the other major integration point,” says Herrick. “Our customers can integrate our SDK in an hour or so for basic use cases. If they’re doing something more elaborate and customized, that can take longer. It depends on how precise the customer wants to be about the design or use case.”
Alaska Airlines reap benefits from Airship’s mobile CX platform
Airship helps Alaska Airlines with their “Day of Travel” interactions which span from the point of purchase (e.g., ticket booking) to baggage pickup.
“Within that entire span of time, they probably touch the traveler at least a dozen times,” says Herrick.
Airship’s technology also helps Alaska communicate with their employees.
“They created an app for their employees, so they had the same information as passengers. Thus, everyone is kept up to date in real time,” says Herrick.
Half of Alaska Airlines’ 6.5 million users check in through their mobile app via the use of Airship’s technology.
This has a huge impact on helping to reduce the airline’s costs by minimizing the amount of service calls coming in.
Additionally, 68% of travelers opt-in for “Day of Travel” messages, thus avoiding long lines at the gate and reducing the burden on customer service personnel.
Alaska generates over a million digital boarding passes with Airship each month, providing both cost and environmental benefits.
“The biggest impact is in achieving a positive ‘Day of Travel’ experience by informing travelers about what’s happening throughout their travel day,” explains Herrick. “Alaska sees this impact in their bottom line because they’ve got such a loyal customer base.”
Herrick advises companies to focus on improving customer experience to stay competitive.
“Price clearly matters,” says Herrick, “But consumers often pick the brands that provide the best experience. Many companies are under investing in mobile channels, but that’s where people want to be reached. The technology that comes out of the box in Airship’s platform is not something that brands can easily build themselves. They should be focused on growing their core business and leveraging a platform like Airship so they can compete on customer experience.”