At this year’s 20th edition of the Amadeus e-Commerce and mobile conference Christina Ericsson from SAS shared her views on why SAS has unified its social, mobile and e-Commerce teams into a single, digital organisation. With comScore estimating US travel e-Commerce exceeded $100 billion in 2012 alone it’s an issue all airlines are at least considering.
Q: How is digital strategy at SAS changing?
It’s wider in scope and is not focused on e-Commerce alone; we focus on the whole ecosystem with wifi on-board, social and mobile. Our digital organisation now spans everything in a single department but works closely with loyalty, marketing and other functions as needed. You have to recognise the customer experience is linked across the plethora of digital channels and that’s why we wanted a single team. Our next major move is to re-visit our core websites as we have given social and mobile a lot of attention in recent years.
Q: You mention the digital strategy is focused on delivering a consistent customer experience. Please can you elaborate?
To sum it up we are trying to make travel easier by giving customers total access to us, across any device, in all digital touch points, providing a personalised customer experience regardless of where and why the customer wants to get in contact with us. That means recognising the customer and their preferences if they visit us from a mobile, a PC, a tablet, the call centre or any other channel.
Q: How is SAS moving forward with this approach?
Our vision is clear, we want to know who the customer is in order to make the experience easier. However getting there is going to be a long journey and we are beginning by looking at our back-end systems. We have a lot of systems and that means there could be multiple customer profiles scattered across them, each containing a partial view of a customer’s history with us. One of our first steps is cleaning this up so we have a consistent view of the customer.
Q: How is the strategy starting to be reflected in digital development?
Mobile is a good example. We want the customer to have a simple experience and to always be recognised by us and so we have chosen to build a single app, one access point to SAS for all our customers. We launched the app in mid 2013 and the default view within it is the customer profile. This profile includes booking information no matter how the customer originally decided to make that booking. Even offline, in-direct booking information is integrated here in one profile too.
Q: Recognising the customer seems central to the plan, how are you thinking about loyalty programme members?
Our loyalty scheme offers a great amount of useful information and again our customers have to be provided consistent access no matter how they interact with us. For example, our new mobile app is integrated with our EuroBonus frequent flyer programme. Customers can see their latest 20 EuroBonus activities and choose to book flights using cash or miles, or a combination of the two. The app allows them to see the number of points needed to reach the next tier of the programme just as if they were using our website or calling our contact centre.
Q: What have been the highlights of the Amadeus e-Commerce and mobile conference this year?
Everyone here has been open-minded and has shared their best practice – it’s been helpful and it is rare to see such a collaborative environment.
Q: How do you work with Amadeus today?
We are a big Amadeus IT customer using the Altéa platform for reservations and inventory management as well as the e-Retail engine that powers our website. Recently we have also just gone live with our mobile app using the Amadeus Digital Design Services.