Singapore Airlines drives friction out of the customer experience

Singapore Airlines drives friction out of the customer experience
SIA's George Wang.

Improves experiences for customers and operational staff.

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Singapore Airlines is continuing with a digital transformation that it hopes will reduce friction in the delivery of new customer experiences and streamline its operations behind the scenes.

Senior vice president of information technology George Wang told Salesforce’s Dreamforce 21 conference that Singapore Airlines (SIA) wanted to provide a smooth customer experience as international travel resumed.

Wang noted that new requirements on travellers, such as to prove vaccination and other pre-departure checks, would add friction to the experience of flying unless action was taken on the airline side.

“We’ve done a lot of research which indicates to us that one of the key drivers for the customer is health and safety,” he said.

“As much as possible we want to remove the friction and give the customer seamless travel and make our operation efficient.”

SIA was the world’s first airline to pilot the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) travel pass mobile application for digital health verification.

Wang said there was also a lot of work in the airline’s backend systems to make sure the customer-facing aspects of flying with SIA ran smoothly.

He said that SIA had spent over a year rolling out “a number of digital initiatives across the customer journey”.

This included more personalised options at booking, and the ability to contactlessly check in, print baggage tags, order food in the lounge and on the plane, and control the inflight entertainment system from the customer’s own smartphone.

“These are a set of things we’re doing and will continue to do to remove the frictions in the journey and to give customers seamless experience in their travel,” Wang said.

At the same time, SIA has also focused efforts on improving the employee experience, also through the use of mobility and apps.

“For our cabin crew, pilots, engineers, ground services staff, we reimagined the journey of their work,” he said, adding that each cohort now had “automation and data analytics … at their fingertips” and capabilities they could use to execute processes on-the-go.

“For example, we’ve developed a suite of mobile applications to enable our pilots to start checking at home instead of in the airport and to prepare all their flight plans, weather and other information, so they can basically go straight from their home to the gate, just using their iPad,” Wang said.

“It’s about the intelligence we’ve built and the applications we’ve enabled.”

Similarly, engineering staff could now see information on aircraft status in real-time, while ground staff had access to the right information to resolve customer queries or issues.

As part of its digital transformation, SIA chose Salesforce to underpin a major revamp of its customer case and knowledge management systems in April.

The new system, called 1Point, will be deployed across SIA’s contact centres and customer feedback handling units globally from late 2021. 

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