Customer Loyalty to SAS: How Exceptional Customer Experiences Can Lead to Increased Loyalty to SAS

Tolgahan Celik & Mustafa Burak Kara

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this master’s thesis is to investigate how SAS through exceptional customer experiences can affect the relationship between SAS and its customers and thus increasing loyalty. The relevance of loyalty towards SAS is important because the industry is under pressure by the low-cost airlines. SAS can not compete on price and therefore it is important for SAS to find other factors that can be competitive. Exceptional customer experiences was therefore included as a factor that differentiates SAS. The concept of CRM was used to elucidate trends on the market and among consumers and thereby the use of relations and brand marketing. The CEM concept has provided tools to provide strategic suggestions for how customer brand relations can be enhanced by creating an exceptional customer experience. The strategic proposals are based on the results of the quantitative survey as well as the SEM modules SENSE, FEEL, THINK, ACT and RELATE. The questionnaire survey is based on the conceptual model for Brand Equity. The SPSS program was used to investigate reliability and suitability in order to estimate a final model with SmartPLS. As the data set values were at the level of acceptance, the analysis could proceed and thus apply the Brand Equity Map. Based on this map and the results derived from the analysis the main focus area showed to be the variable Emotional Brand Evaluation. The subsequent proposals were therefore to strengthen the customer's emotional ties to SAS's brand. The preparation of the strategic solution proposals involved 5 steps: Step 1 included SENSE, which consisted of focusing on creating a Scandinavian sensory experience, while FEEL intended to create a Scandinavian context in which aspects of the Scandinavian history were included. Step 2 was about introducing a THINK campaign involving social dumping and SAS as “the Scandinavian airline”. Step 3 included ACT, which emphasized emergency relief and "working for a good case" locally by establishing cooperation with different orphanages and incorporating this during the flight itself as a WOW-experience. Additionally, emphasis was placed on good profits and optimizing standard parameters in the flight. Step 4 included RELATE and was intended to create an "us WITH them" between SAS and its customers, for achieving a special connection to SAS’ brand and making the journey with SAS an overall experience. Based on the evaluation section, it can be said that if all steps can be integrated into SAS's brand, a holistic SAS experience can be created which makes SAS's brand a part of the customer's lifestyle and thus creating a "brand religion". In this way, SAS can differentiate its brand and make its customers more price-indifferent. In particular, SAS can achieve success if it manages to move customers, cf. NPS, from passives to promoters. This in itself will have a significant effect as it will mean a bigger share of wallet and more positive word of mouth.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages126
SupervisorsAnna-Bertha Heeris Christensen