The Hungarian airline Wizz Air has grown from 2 million passengers in 2005 to 39.8 million last year.  However, due in part to this rapid ascent, the airline hit some turbulence in between August 2019 and August 2019:

  • Congested airspace
  • Unexpected technical delays
  • Cancellations
  • Weather events
  • Air traffic controller strikes.

This led to negative online sentiment and declining customer satisfaction, Imre Kiss of Wizz Air shared, in a case study he presented with Dan Foreman of Bakamo Social yesterday at the Quirks Event in London. Imre said he was looking for a partner who could tell them more than the obvious.

Enter Bakamo, founded in 2016 “to use the unique research opportunity of social media to listen without bias.” Dan explained that Bakamo helps its clients to build “bridges of relevance”: finding new insights “in their natural context, collected at scale.” The system operates globally in over 35 languages, using advanced technology to listen, with human teams interpreting what’s heard and creating “high-impact debriefs that provide organizations with strategic recommendations.” This provides for “human analysis of an amazing data source that is happening everywhere around the world, all the time.”

Online comments are analyzed in their native languages but presented in English, which helps obscure the source. Quotes are paraphrases and aren’t presented in a verbatim fashion that could be used to identify who said them. No personally identifiable information is provided.Bakamo found three types of stories in its analysis of conversations around Wizz Air.

Positive story Safest low-cost airline,
Facebook Q&A,
Job creation
Half-marathon sponsorship,
Best low-cost airline award,
Greenest airline in Europe
Negative story Delays,
Fine for passenger
handling of delays,
Problems with ground
handling in Budapest
Negative reaction Positive reaction

One key insight Bakamo delivered was that some positive stories were generating negative reactions:

  • Some reacted cynically to Wizz Air being named one of the safest low cost airlines, with comments like “it’s safe because you leave all the luggage behind!” or “it’s safe because you left us behind!”
  • The cabin jobs are seen as glamorous but the reality is long hours, up early and up late.

Some of the drivers of online conversation were:

  • The meaning of budget in everyday life
  • Wizz Air communications
  • Nostalgia for the national airline, which went bankrupt 8 years ago.

Imre believes some of these insights just wouldn’t have been derived from a regular quant or qual study (the company fields a CSAT tracker).

Bakamo also qualitatively segmented who they observed in social media:

  • Non-fliers – people who never fly and feel unlucky
  • Holiday makers – middle-class families who save money for their one trip, want everything to go as planned, and often worry about their trip in advance
  • Frustrated frequent fliers – have business somewhere and Wizz Air is the only choice flying there
  • Price-sensitive fliers – can travel up to six times a year now but are not very loyal
  • Supportive frequent fliers – people for whom life wouldn’t be the same without budget air, which connects them to their loved ones or their work.

The segmentation was developed with what Dan calls Bakamo’s 3S method: Sense, Sensitive, Statistically valid. “Does the segment make sense? Is it sensitive over time? Is it statistically valid?” Simple segments wer developed and finetuned for ease of making business decisions.

The work helped increase customer empathy within the organization and is being used to drive a new Customer Experience Council. The council is chaired by the deputy CEO with 4 or 5 other officers participating in a cross functional effort to improve CX: to set priorities and allocate resources. The organization has also created a set of guiding principles for customer relationships.

As a result of the initial study’s success, Wizz Air looks to expand the work with Bakamo Social in the future as the airline continues to grow.

Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.