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.”