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How SkyTeam is flying high in terms of customer centricity

As an association of twenty airlines, SkyTeam’s mission is to create a seamless travel experience through operational excellence by putting the customer at the center. This particularly for their SkyPriority offering, where they aim to give high value customers a consistent, premium experience. However, covering over 1,000 airports, SkyTeam faces the daunting task of creating and implementing such services across a group of disparate members, all with unique characteristics, cultures, languages, and geographies.

SkyTeam sought to bridge the divide between themselves, their members and the end customer. To guarantee a consistent superior customer experience, they wanted to hear from SkyPriority customers throughout all journey touchpoints.

What did we do?

To become truly customer centric and fuel consumer-led business thinking the research program onboarded a network of high value customers, who could provide real-time feedback throughout their journey using a mobile application. Using near-field-communication technology, feedback is prompted in relevant occasions (e.g. when customers enter an airport), allowing passengers to review each journey touchpoint when relevant for them. Next to completing these short surveys, the broader narrative of their experience is captured through pictures and bottom-up comments, ensuring feedback is always in context.

SkyPriority app

Rather than the traditional feedback loop of days, weeks or months, all SkyPriority managers have access to a customized online dashboard with real-time response data – survey figures, stories and photos – allowing them to have a finger on the pulse at all times. Back-end system triggers notify relevant stakeholders of critical incidents allowing to address them as they are happening. By embedding these continuous feedback loops, SkyTeam moved from a push to a pull approach.

The results

Following a 6-month pilot, we examined the impact of the program both for customers as SkyPriority managers. During the pilot period, more than 34,000 audits were performed by more than 8,000 members. The key objective of the program was to have an impact on customer experience, where customers feel they are helping to build and improve the SkyPriority experience and their feedback triggers actionability internally.

Airline managers strongly supported the use of the program as a way to collaborate with customers and improve their services. More than 3 out of 4 airlines managers said the program allows them to better understand the needs of high value customers, better envision the strategy and better execute their roles as SkyPriority managers. Furthermore, 95% said the program provides more relevant data and insights. Next, we found that users of the app gave significantly higher scores on measures of collaboration. Participants felt they had an impact on the future of SkyPriority and that SkyTeam truly wanted to learn from their customers.

SkyTeam SkyPriority research impact

In crafting the research program, which has won a Silver Trophy ESOMAR Research Effectiveness Award 2016, SkyTeam succeeded in changing the hearts (establish a culture of customer centricity), minds (better understand customer needs) and actions (fuel operational excellence) of the SkyPriority managers. Soon the program will be expanded in terms of scope, adding lounges as a touchpoint, and methodology, including additional discussion techniques to get an even better understanding of the context airlines are operating in.