How Scoot Airlines plans to make CX the competitive advantage in the low-cost carrier space

Chief commercial officer details the voice-of-customer technology investment, as well as restructure and KPIs being adopted in order to improve customer service at the airline

Scoot Airlines has made a significant investment into a voice-of-customer platform and overhauled its customer service and experience team structure in order to make CX its key competitive advantage in the low-cost carrier market.

Scoot Airlines is owned by Singapore Airlines and services 65 destinations across 18 countries. The group more than doubled the size of its fleet to 41 aircraft via a merger with Singapore-based peer, Tiger Airways, in 2017, and has more recently focused on integrating the two businesses.

But once integration was done, it became clear to the executive team customer experience and building a service-oriented culture was vital to long-term success and growth, chief commercial officer, Vinon Kannan, said.

“While as a group we’ve experienced significant uptake in the market, customers do have a lot of choice, and the executive team realised customer experience and service are important areas to focus on,” he told CMO. “Just because you’re a low-cost airline, doesn’t mean you can avoid taking customer care and service into consideration.

“Travellers often hold the perception that low-cost carriers offer minimal service quality and offerings. To change that mindset and retain our loyal customers, Scoot aims to value add to our customers’ journey by delivering high customer satisfaction across all touchpoints. In this customer-centric world, price is no longer a sole differentiator.”

To help realise this vision, Scoot has adopted Qualtrics’ Experience Management Platform to collect and analyse feedback from customers in different countries. Core to this platform is the  iQ predictive intelligence engine, which consists of three components: Qualtrics Text iQ, natural learning processing and machine learning algorithms for analysing open text feedback; Driver iQ, which is designed to identify key experience drivers within data; and Stats iQ, which automatically chooses statistical analyses for customer feedback data such as relate, univariate and regression.

The first-phase rollout of Qualtrics’ VOC offering took just four weeks. Kannan attributed this both to the simplicity of the platform, as well as the optimised structure and CX appetite within the Scoot business. The platform went live in early July, and in the first instance is being used to glean post-flight feedback.

Every customer that flies with the airline is asked via an emailed survey to rate their experience using standardised Net Promoter Score (NPS) questions.

“We’re trying to get more information on the areas we did and didn’t do well in,” Kannan said. “The intention is to look at which key customer touchpoints need improvement. We also put in data indicators useful to us, such as the aircraft type, which airport, what kind of check-in a customer did – data that we already have. The power of the survey tool is marrying the data from the customer with data we have and providing a more high-level view of where we should be improving.”

From there, Scoot hopes to quickly go deeper into customer insights. “For example, if we identify there’s a check-in process that requires improvement, we want to zoom into that and take that forward as the next stage,” Kannan said.  

Scoot is also working with text feedback analytics, which is presented to the CX team via a word cloud. Kannan said this provided an easy way of seeing areas the company should be focusing on.

Team culture and process realignment

Of course, technology isn’t the only investment Scoot is making. From the outset, Kannon said the executive team had opted for customer service as a corporate indicator of how it’s tracking in the market.

In addition, Scoot recently brought together service and experience into a dedicated CX team, which will sift through the customer feedback on a manual basis initially. Medium-term, the plan is to integrate feedback with service systems in order to automatically create cases and assign them to the right users, Kannan said.

“We wanted to have a team spanning across the whole organisation because customer experience itself spans different divisions,” he said.  “Many of the members are new and come from CX backgrounds in different industries and they’re now looking to see how we can improve the customer journey, using data from surveys plus other datasets to get more holistic customer experience.”  

Scoot has also been running Salesforce Marketing and Social Clouds since last year, and has integrated Qualtrics with both platforms. Although still quite new to the Marketing Cloud, Kannan said his team is working to build customer journeys that can be optimised through the integration of marketing software capability with its new VOC platform.

As it finalises the rollout of Service Cloud, Qualtrics will also be integrated with that environment to share and record insights across the customer support and care teams in a continuous loop.

At this stage, Scoot is on the entry-level Qualtrics offering. Longer term plans include bringing on add-ons and functionality over the three-year partnership that deliver more mathematical analysis on what’s driving the NPS score, as well as key drivers for better customer satisfaction and experience, Kannan said.

Existing booking systems data, for instance, which is being passing into Salesforce Marketing Cloud, could be further utilised with Qualtrics data to improve and better understand customer journeys.

Like many organisations, there’s also an ambition at Scoot to realise a 360-degree view of the customer.

“That will require significant investment into further data clean-up, and restructuring of internal databases,” Kannan said. The team hopes to start this project in the next couple of months.

“Many want a 360-degree view of customers but it’s easier said than done. And it’s a major project to get that data in order,” Kannan continued. “But once we have that, the question is how we use that data and action it. We already have set up this NPS survey and undertaken internal process realignment to see how this data flows on to other departments.

“For example, if we have a customer saying our cabin crew didn’t answer their queries, that needs to go back to the relevant department to take action. That feedback loop is now being formed.”

Kannan admitted it’s still early days for the VOC platform, and said he expected some internal resistance due to the additional work involved. “But from a corporate perspective, we’ve all said customer experience is one of our key performance indicator, so the tone is right: Everyone needs to be involved and has a role to play,” he said. “It’s clear we now we have to close the loop and see how these works.”

On a positive note, some responses from customers have already been actioned and investigated at by relevant areas, while others are longer and require process revision.

“We have regular forums where the customer service team meets up with relevant departments… to prioritise what the key areas customers are having gripes with. That’s the point: To improve what we are currently doing,” Kannan said.  

The simplest measure of success Scoot is looking for is improving its NPS. “You can’t run away from it. It’s something we have captured and will be capturing it. Trends in NPS is important not just to overall experience but also specific experiences,” Kannan added.

Other metrics include how quickly Scoot can close cases, and closing off the customer feedback.

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