Improvements to passenger experience discussed in webinar hosted by IATA and Airlines.

Airlines have been urged to look outside the industry for ideas on how to improve services for passengers.

In an IATA/Airlines. webinar—entitled Redefining Customer Experience—former Head of Brands at British Airways, Hamish Taylor, discussed the challenges for aviation leaders.

He says it is paramount a company puts customer satisfaction at the heart of all its operations, and abolishes pre-conceptions.

You’ve got to look outside your own industry, or all you’re going to do is copy what people are already doing

“We must get into the head of the customer, understand their feelings and base services around this,” he said.

“You’ve got to look outside your own industry for new ideas, or all you’re going to do is copy what people are already doing.

“At BA, when we wanted to put beds in airplanes, we went to the normal people who design the interiors of aircraft and we couldn’t get a solution – so instead we went to the people who design interiors of yachts.

“They didn’t think of all the constraints, they were just thinking about luxury in a small space and thought ‘let’s play’.

“Heathrow Airport used to be a complete disaster for queuing. Where do you go to improve this? We went to Disney.

“They know about queuing. They taught us so many things, such as making the queue narrow so it moves faster, and managing expectations. If it’s a 25-minute wait, tell them it’s 30 then they’re excited when they get to the front.”

In a wide-ranging webinar, the many benefits of the ONE Order system were also highlighted.

ONE Order will remove the confusion of multiple documents

Eric Leopold, Director, Transformation, Financial and Distribution Services at IATA, discussed the importance of moving away from “airline-specific” processes. He says following a more generic retail approach will allow for greater simplicity.

“We found there was still quite a lot of confusion around the various documents customers receive when they make their booking,” he said.

“If they need to make changes, things get even more complicated.

“ONE Order will remove the confusion of multiple documents. For example, when you buy something on Amazon, you just get the order and everything is there. That’s really the concept of ONE Order."

Naresh Khurana, Travel and Transportation Practice Head at NIIT Technologies, added that is vital airlines embrace technology as a means to improve the passenger experience.

The game is now about personalization

He said airlines have two choices when it comes to digital innovations: to sit back and watch, or become frontrunners.

“Passengers want everything at their fingertips,” he said.

“Customers are ready to pay, as long as a stress-free travel experience is delivered.

“The game is now about personalization, we must make the customer feel special. One size does not fit all anymore.”

Watch the webinar here