Singapore Airlines has long been a pioneer in customer experience, not just in airlines, but the hospitality industry in general. They’re investing in taking their customer experience even further, partly with a sophisticated app that tracks granular customer data from check-in, through the flight, to baggage claim.
Here’s how HBS professor Rohit Deshpande describes just how granular the customer data they’re collecting in this new system:
“Let’s say you go from Sydney to Singapore to change flights from Singapore to London. You decide when you’re going to Singapore that instead of drinking your normal gin and tonic, you’re going to ask for a vodka and tonic. They will record that, and when you reboard in Singapore to go on to London, the flight attendant will ask if you will continue with vodka and tonic or go back to gin and tonic. This might seem intrusive, but their feeling is that people want to know that they’re cared for. They want to be recognized with not just customer service but personalized customer service.”
This was from an interesting AMA article aptly titled, “How Airlines Get Customer Experience Wrong with So Much Data.”
We’re in an interesting stage in the evolution of customer experience. At one end of the spectrum, there’s customer frustration with how little companies remember about their customer information and preferences, particularly across channels (“why do I have to give this information again”). And at the other end of the spectrum, the level of customer data collection can be kind of creepy (a flight attendant remembering your exact drink from the last flight).
I spoke at The CDO Summit in Israel last week where I described this period as an “awkward adolescence”. Powerful new tools and access to data are becoming increasingly available, but the mindset of how we can best use that data and tools haven’t quite kept pace.
Here are some related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:
“Personalization” November 2014
“The Customer Journey” September 2016
“Right Person, Right Message, Right Time” October 2017