WOW Air Founder and CEO, Skúli Mogensen, is used to disrupting an industry dominated by struggling flag carriers and regional low-cost carriers.

His airline will fly you from Europe to North America for a few hundred dollars, and sometimes as low as $69.

This previously unthinkable low-cost, long-haul format made possible by fuel efficient modern aircraft and a conveniently located mid-Atlantic base in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Personalized relationships based on customer behaviour

Now Skúli sees a time when the value of an airline is based not on ticket revenue, but on the way the brand uses data and preferences to drive customer engagement, with airlines addressing the reason for the flight, rather than charging for the flight itself.

Crucially, this runs far deeper than un-bundling flights from baggage charges, in-flight meals, entertainment, and WiFi services.

It’s about putting more effort into addressing the customer’s underlying desired outcome rather than worrying about any of those things.

In an interview with Business Insider, Skúli explains that “it means having a deeper, more personalized relationship based on your prior behavior, needs, and obviously always with your privacy in mind.

He continued: “if we can understand your needs better, it allows us to interact with you more effectively and help you have a more successful trip whether that be for business or leisure.

Desired customer outcomes over brand outputs

People rarely fly on a commercial airline for the fun of the flight alone. They are trying to get somewhere and for a reason. They might have a sales pitch to give to a new client, a friend’s funeral to attend, or a wedding to enjoy.

They might be on their way home to kiss their kids goodnight.

By focusing on customer outcomes, WOW Air is embracing the experience economy, forging deeper relationships with their customers, and exchanging value (read: charging money) in new and innovative ways.

Using our CX Canvas, we can illustrate this approach with a specific outcome a potential WOW Air passenger might have: a successful business meeting:

Having understood the customer’s desired outcome and then analysing the thoughts and behaviour this desired outcome drives we can start to look at the insight that could be extracted to reduce customer effort and create higher-quality products and services.

Imagine if a truly loyal customer gave WOW Air access to their calendar, when they schedule client meetings:

With access to their passenger’s calendar, WOW Air could check for appointments scheduled away from home but near a destination served by the airline.

With this information, as well as previous flight preferences — such as class of travel, preferred flight times, and seating arrangements — WOW Air could proactively reach out to their customer with suggested flight times.

Airport transfers and a hotel near the customer’s meeting could, of course, be included in the suggestion itinerary.

Perhaps provisional bookings could be made at the time the calendar entry is created, only confirmed once all meeting participants have responded with their attendance.

In any case, a number of customer behaviours are reduced in effort or removed entirely as WOW Air take care of travel arrangements on their customer’s behalf.

A passenger sharing their calendar with an airline might be seem extreme, but such thinking is required by airlines — and brands in all industries — if they are to move their reliance from selling products and services by staging memorable experiences that customers will continue to pay for.