Acing customer experience chemistry to improve satisfaction scores

How a playful approach to immersive training helped one major airline embed customer 
service skills within its front-line workforce and deliver on brand promise.

video shoot for immersive employee training exercise

Founded on charisma and innovation, the brand set itself apart by framing air travel as a fun, luxurious adventure. Nearly 40 years later, the carrier’s customer-centric approach continues. But significant shifts in the aviation industry prompted efforts to re-energize its customer-facing teams and help travelers fall back in love with flying.

The brand’s team turned to NKD, ITA Group’s UK-based subsidiary, for support in delivering an exceptional customer experience. The organization wanted a creative approach to guide its quest to become a travel company loved by customers, while ensuring inventive service training messaging truly resonated and stuck with employees. The challenge was to launch an innovative program that addresses customer feedback, rolls out new brand values and improves employee engagement.  

Bringing experimental methods to experienced customer service teams 

Many of the airline’s agents have been in customer service roles for over 20 years. The new skills-based learning initiative needed to inspire behavior change by leveraging team member loyalty. Our discovery phase found that when employees felt recognized and involved, they felt better about their work.

In short: employee engagement influences the customer experience quality. 

Bridging digital expectations and personal interactions 

The program’s science-based theme centered around strategies to strengthen “human chemistry” between the client’s team members and its customers. A blend of digital delivery and live experiments helped team members understand their role in bringing organizational values to life. The omnichannel approach mimicked the customer journey from online booking to their experience at the gate. 

  • Videos: “Scientist Red” was introduced in videos as a fictional character at the center of a storyline about uncovering the formula for human connection.
  • Messaging: Creative content tailored new brand values to different roles and functions. 
  • Training: In-person training at a “human science lab” helped agents and contact center staff connect mindset and behaviors to provide seamless human service interactions in a digital world. 
  • Custom tools: Custom “lab kits” included behavioral tools participants could take back to work. 
  • Manager coaching: Extra coaching for managers helped them integrate learnings with their teams.

Reinforcing learning to create lasting impact 

To encourage universal uptake, the brand went beyond toolkit and training basics. Three months after rollout, we sent behavior coaches dressed as scientists to the team’s place of work. The client used this surprise-and-delight strategy to see what behaviors were taking off and where staff still needed guidance. The unannounced visit reminded team members of their lab experience and connected concepts to their day-to-day work. 

  • Staff coaching: In-the-moment, on-demand coaching helped staff see the results of their learnings right away.
  • Recognitions: Customers were encouraged to recognize great service as they journeyed through the airport, which deepened engagement and generated success stories for internal communications.  
  • Awards: Teams earned awards based on positive feedback.   

Boosting customer satisfaction with immersive learning 

As a result of the human chemistry program, the brand’s colleagues now feel more valued, connected and empowered to make a difference through their work. Customers felt the shift in service. This engaging “experiment” translated to improvements across all three key satisfaction measures.


increase in understanding the customer service issue


increase in providing personal and relevant customer service


increase in the tone of responses being warm and friendly