This is the year we focus on making our guests happy. This means placing customers and their needs at the centre of everything we do. Salesforce is the heart of this customer-obsessed approach”

Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO
 

400,000+

people registered for the AirAsia Community Knowledge Base

 

AirAsia Customer Happiness department must be one of the hardest working teams in aviation. They are not only charged with managing customer support for the nine airlines that make up the AirAsia family, but must do so in eight languages and across six communication channels.

That’s a mighty task and one that is vital to the ongoing success of AirAsia as the company puts a renewed focus on customer satisfaction.

AirAsia also looks after its employees. AirAsia head office in Kuala Lumpur – known as RedQ – which aims to be a home away from home for its people. From an on-site physiotherapy centre, gym and doctor’s clinic, to a hairdresser, sleep pods, food stalls and even a fun slide, AirAsia cares about employees’ health and wellbeing.

The company is deeply committed to innovation. There is a dedicated innovation centre at RedQ, and the company has pioneered new facial recognition technology, called FACES (Fast Airport Clearance Experience System), that is used for seamless automatic passenger boarding.

Now the company is applying its expertise in innovation to the overall customer experience. The first step, says Mimi Phua, Group Head of Customer Happiness,  is to streamline the company’s expansive communications network.

“Traditionally, our customer communication channels have not been managed through a central system,” says Phua. “We have six call centres all in different locations, web forms were managed through a variety of platforms with varying degrees of compatibility with each other.”

The result was silo thinking that put the onus on the customer to use the right communication channel for the right request in the right location.

“Our call centres operated on airline codes and guests would need to contact the call centre in the destination city of the flight,” says Phua. “So, for example, if a UK guest who happens to be in China called the China call centre to make changes to her flight to the Philippines, staff there would have to ask her to please call the Philippines call centre instead.”

That was frustrating for customers who don’t understand – or care about – AirAsia’s internal processes, but just wanted to make a simple change to their flight or obtain current information about flight delays.

Language was also an issue as customers were asked to contact the call centre in their destination city with little concern for language barriers.

“That’s all changing,” says Phua. “Our guests see us as one organisation. We want guests to be able to communicate with us on their own terms.”  This new centralised approach is made possible, in part, by AirAsia’s recent adoption of Salesforce Service Cloud.

Phua explains that Service Cloud is bringing together web forms, live chat, social media and phone communications to create a 360-degree view of customer service cases that can be centrally managed in the appropriate language.

“Salesforce is helping us to clean up customer communications and standardise all customer touch points. It’s also reducing the handling time of customer service cases on our side, as well as giving us the ability to see how each channel are handling communications with our guests.”

Customer data collected through Service Cloud also plays a role in AirAsia’s strategic decision making -  through the company’s quest for continuous improvement.

“Salesforce data helps us to pinpoint areas in the customer experience that need to change,” explains Phua. “For example, we are able to identify instances where guests don’t understand aspects of our product and as a result, where areas of our website may need to be simplified.”

This is particularly important when the airline launches in new territories and is dealing with new customers who may not be familiar with its products and services, says Phua. The data collected will also help AirAsia to understand where to place additional staff in order to serve customers through their preferred communication channels.

“We can capture guests’ contact preferences through Salesforce, and can then decide where to put more staff on a country-by-country basis,” she says. “For example, we can see that some countries currently favour other channels over email. So we can monitor that through Salesforce and know where to allocate more resources and see which channels may be phased out over time.” 

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “This is the year we focus on making our guests happy. This means placing customers and their needs at the centre of everything we do. Salesforce is the heart of this customer-obsessed approach as it gives us a complete view of our guests across all channels, allowing us to deliver a faster, more personalised service.”

 

Salesforce is helping us work toward a near future where communication will be instant and the customer experience will be consistent no matter which channel our guests choose to use, which language they speak, or where they are in the world.”

Mimi Phua, Group Head of Customer Happiness

Of course, a project of this scale and complexity requires a sophisticated deployment. So Phua and her team turned to the Salesforce Services team to assist.

“Some companies use a third party to integrate their system, but we wanted a company that owns their product and one that we could hold accountable,” she says. “We felt that because the Salesforce team knows their product best from both integration and usability points of view, the project would be much more successful.

The Salesforce team have been able to assist with the integration of Google services also, like the single sign on option for Customer Happiness agents, and the use of Google Analytics for data gained through Salesforce Community Cloud.

The results so far have been impressive. Phua says Salesforce has helped to  reduce the handling time of customer service cases, around 41,000 social feedback surveys have been submitted via the Twitter feedback app exchange, and more than 400,000 people have registered for the new AirAsia Community Knowledge Base through Salesforce Community Cloud.

The Salesforce Services team also facilitated the deployment of the Sales Cloud system that AirAsia has rolled out for 120 sales agents operating across 12 markets. Sales Cloud will help to establish a standardised sales process, improve visibility into the sales pipeline, and measure sales effectiveness and the performance of travel agents representing AirAsia.

When it comes to AirAsia customers, Phua knows that AirAsia cannot stand still as customer expectations continue to evolve. She’s preparing for a near future where live chat and social media are the front line for service centres.  

“I believe chat messaging will be at the forefront,” she says. “When flights are interrupted, everyone wants the right information immediately. But you’re at the airport and you don’t know who to call to find out the current status. We’re looking to build a mobile live chat app our guests will be able to use to log into live chat and get an instant update wherever they are. 

“Salesforce is helping us work toward a near future where communication will be instant and the customer experience will be consistent no matter which channel our guests choose to use, which language they speak, or where they are in the world.”  

 
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