24th Mar 2016
Peter Duffy, easyJet’s group commercial director for customer, product and marketing, flies in his customers’ shoes every day. With a clear focus on helping customers understand everything easyJet presents them with, Duffy is in large part the engine behind the airline’s profitability and soaring reputation.
Taking up his post in 2011, Duffy understood how digital innovation at easyJet could boost the brand. Here, he reveals three ways in which the company has harnessed technology to ease customers’ journeys and build trust.
“Mobile was clearly a huge growth area so we set about making a mobile website where you could do all the things you can do on easyJet.com,” he explains. What’s more, customers can now search, book and manage flights all in the palm of their hand, thanks to easyJet’s free app. “We want to make the smartphone a friend on the customer’s journey,” Duffy adds. “It can begin to change how a customer sees a company.”
The introduction of mobile technology isn’t all that’s changed for the company in the past five years. “We have rebuilt our content management system (CMS),” says Duffy. “Previously, we just sent out the same newsletter every Friday. But it is useless talking about deals in Manchester to customers in Birmingham. Now the email is tailored by the CMS to each recipient. If last year you flew at Easter, but have not rebooked this year, we send you an email showing where you could fly for less money. It’s something I’m really proud of.”
However, new technology will only improve the customer experience if it’s supported by excellent service in person. The latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index produced by the Institute of Customer Service suggests staff attitude and behaviour are much more important to customers now than five years ago, while ease of doing business is also a priority. A combination of technological advances and excellent conduct by customer-facing staff is therefore likely to improve an organisation’s standing in the eyes of the customer – something Duffy recognises.
“Technology will re-engineer the airline experience and make it a lot easier for customers, so the people who surround the technology must provide the right customer experience and the right attitude towards customers,” he explains. “It’s those two things individually, and the combination of those two things, that I think will be really interesting in the customer service industry.”