VivaColombia Airlines – Operational Analysis

TripAdvisor Reviews – Pareto Charts and Affinity Diagrams

Online reviews can be an excellent tool for a company to understand some of its strengths and weaknesses. To get an in-depth look into the social sentiment and perception of the firm’s service, a tool was re-engineered to scrape the last 367 English and Spanish reviews available on TripAdvisor.com under the VivaColombia’s user review page[14]. The sentiment split for the reports were: 47% Negative Review (1-2 TripAdvisor Score), 18% Neutral Reviews (3 TripAdvisor Score), and 35% Positive Reviews (4-5 TripAdvisor Score). The date range for this analysis is between August 3, 2016, through March 6, 2018. Unfortunately, the negative sentiment in the company’s reviews has been trending upwards in the past two years[15].

This exercise intends to gain some insights into VivaColombia’s continued efforts to consolidate services to increase customer satisfaction and to lay the groundwork for areas that will be further assessed for quality and process improvement. This will be done by first categorizing all positive reviews to understand the airline’s areas of strengths. Then this will also be done for the negative reviews to identify the most significant weakness that customers see in the airline. Once the weakest category is defined, an affinity diagram will be produced to determine types for a final Pareto Chart. The ultimate focus on analyzing the lowest category will be to make some recommendations for potential improvements.

Positive Reviews

Pareto Positive Reviews
Figure 1. TripAdvisor’s Positive Reviews Pareto Chart

The categories for positive reviews were the following: Cost, Staff/Service, Overall Assessment, Schedule, Airplanes, and Reservations. In the positive reviews, there was enough evidence to support the strength of VivaColombia’s low-cost-carrier business model. The review category of Cost came up as the most frequent in the Positive Reviews (43% of total), indicating that their customers find Cost to be one of the most positive aspects of the airline’s service. There was a constant underlying thought in the Cost Category’s reviews, which hinted subtly to “getting what you paid for.” This was not necessarily in a negative sense, but more like an understanding of the airline’s value offering and having a positive sentiment about that fact.

Negative Reviews

Pareto Negative Reviews
Figure 2. TripAdvisor’s Negative Reviews Pareto Chart

The categories for negative reviews were the following: Charges, Staff/Service, Schedule, Overall Assessment, Airplanes, and Robbery. The results of the negative review’s Pareto Diagram were consistent with various issues detailed in the VivaColombia case. The Charges Category ranked highest in frequency among the negative reviews. According to the case, the company understood that they were doing business in an emerging market where the traditional airline model was the norm. Their customers don’t always understand the model, and when charges are applied, their service satisfaction decreases.

Affinity ideas were generated to understand the nature of the negative sentiment regarding the Charges Category. These ideas were the following:

  • Are we communicating our charge structure adequately?
  • Do we have to improve the website? Changes to the website
  • Do we have a problem with our Check-in procedures?
  • Customers feeling mislead
  • Standardization of how employees handle charges issues with customers
  • Staff communication skills
  • Website communication effectiveness
  • Are we clear about luggage charges?

The generated ideas fell in the following categories: 1) Check-in procedures; 2) Website; 3) Staff communication; 4) Luggage Charge Issue. Aligning the negative Charge related reviews into these three categories produce the following Pareto Diagram:

Pareto Charges
Figure 3. TripAdvisor’s Charges Pareto Chart

Recommendations for VivaColombia Charges Complaints

From the Charges Pareto Diagram, it’s recommended for VivaColombia to look further at their check-in procedures. They should also validate how their staff communicates with its customers. Over 40% of all charge related complaints were related to unexpected fees. For example, if they printed their boarding pass at the airport. This seems to be an issue of clarity and transparency. VivaColombia states that all potential customer fees are transparent on their website for the customer to see at the point of booking their flight.

Over 20% of the charges complaints had to do with the way that the airline staff communicated with their customers. The surprising fact of this analysis was that customers were not complaining much about VivaColombia’s website. Although the report doesn’t point to the site as the root cause, it’s most likely an excellent starting point. Because if the platform should address these soon-to-be complaints, then chances are that two things might be happening. 1) The company is not communicating its value offering. Or, 2) the customer is not reading the website information correctly (if at all). This might be the cause of customer complaints regarding staff communication.

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