British Airways is a huge international airline, which is based in London’s Heathrow Airport. It is considered to be the largest airline in the United Kingdom in terms of its physical size, number of international flights and the possible destinations. Additionally, British Airways is the largest airline in terms of passenger numbers based on the analysis of the same company (2009). British Airways established partnerships with leading airlines such as USAir (US), Qantas (Australian) and Tat (European). Via the strength of the global flight network and the operations of British Airways, they assist more than 95 million passengers a year using 441 airports. Overall the number of plains exceeds 1,000 planes. According to Statista (2019), British Airways served 44,142,977 passengers in 2018, which is 3.17% increase compared to 2017. Originally British Airways was created in 1947 after the government of the United Kingdom established the British Airways Board mainly to manage two different airline companies, British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.
Although British Airways is the company that reached the success due to it enormous size and efficient operations, during all the period of activities British Airways emphasized the importance of customers, their satisfaction and the relationship built with the company. The airline has 13 million customers approx. 44 million journeys every year including interaction with
40,000 colleagues at multiple touchpoints. With an addition to 280 aircraft flying to 170 destinations in 70 countries and you get around 400 million customer interactions per year. British Airways implemented several loyalty programs to decrease the probability of having churning customers problem. They implemented a loyalty program called Executive Club, which was the membership to special lounges and the opportunity of having “fast” queues. Another program was dedicated to the corporate clients, mainly giving them the title “Premier”, which opens up several incentives for the members. Based on the frequency and loyalty of the customer, he/she was granted more and more advantages and incentives. Based on the experience gained during the several years of operations the company was reviewing the programs and making some changes for the benefits of the customers. A common example of a change could be the merged loyalty program with Iberia, which enables customers to use the offerings of both. An aspect that unites all the programs mentioned is that the offerings were not unique and personalized with the help of data. The customers were classified either high-class customers who were buying Business class tickets and the rest. The customer should take action and register for the programs, meaning that tracking of the customers was also on a low level. Basically what they did is that they didn’t look at the customer lifecycle as a whole complete picture. British Airways offered some memberships or programs to individual customers at some point in the life cycle, without taking into account the way the customer came and what he/she would love to encounter in the future of the life cycle.
In order to solve all the earlier mentioned issues British Airways implemented analytical CRM, in a form of a loyalty program called “Know me”. The logic of the program include the following thinking: every human being wants to feel that the information (the data) that he/she is providing the company was used for the purpose to benefit the customer but not just for a simple sale. The aim of the company’s new “Know Me” program was to transform the concept of customer centricity. The program had to combine already existing loyalty information( from the other loyalty programs implemented before) with the data collected from customers based on their online behavior. The mix of the mentioned two sources of information British Airways was able make more targeted offers, personalized experience, rewards for loyalty which in the end result in a more comfortable and positive experience for the customers from the check in till the baggage claim. BA has focused on competitiveness via customer insight. BA’s has petabytes of customer information gathered from their Executive Club Loyalty Program and website which they decided to their big data to work in Know Me program. The object of the program is to understand customers better than any other airline, and leverage customer insight accumulated across billions of touch points to work. The airline started predicting the patterns from data and turn them into business outcomes through:
This features not only helped British Airlines to collect data and make conclusions based on the analysis implemented but also create potential profile of a British Airline’s customer. This process is not limited to developing/guiding current customers through customer’s lifecycle but also to decrease the probability of customers becoming customers in danger.
The “Know Me” program sends messages about customers to customer service agents, alerting them of executives, frequent flyers and even first-timers in business class. The alert prompt in case of new traveler to a flight attendant to explain the perks of the business class cabin. Email Intelligence can tell exactly who your subscribers are, what they want and how one can reach them. It can transform a list of meaningless email addresses into people with social media profiles and specific interests. The system is capable enough to search Google Images for a photo to immediately recognize their customers. Personal recognition, this aspect of Know Me involves recognizing customers for being loyal to British Airways, expressing appreciation with targeted benefits and recognition activities Service excellence and recovery, BA track the service they provide to its customers and attempt to always keep it at a high level. BA also understand what problems their customers experience, and do its best to recover a positive overall result Offers that inspire and motivate, BA’s customers are busy people, don’t have time for irrelevant offers, so this pillar of the program analyzes customer data to construct relevant and targeted “next best offers” for their consideration.
At first, BA issued “thousands of iPads” to senior cabin crew for a successful trial involving 100 cabin staff. The carrier was provided with 2,000 crew with new iPad 2s, allowing them to access individual passenger’s data such as Executive Club status, previous travel arrangements, special meal requests and onward travel plans. Timetables, safety manuals, customer services updates and destination guides were also pre-loaded onto the iPads, to allow crew to offer “a supreme and more thoughtful onboard service to customers in every cabin”. The tablets were refreshed via 3G prior to departure that would allow crew to more easily follow up on in-flight customer service issues once back on the ground.
There are no reported results about the effect of the Know Me program on the satisfaction rate of clients or the sales of the company but Boswell BA’s head of customer analysis states that market research which was done before launching the Know Me program showed that the satisfaction level of customers increased drastically.
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