Qantas Made Better by Technology and The Human Touch

18th Feb 2013

Simon Hickey has a lot up his sleeves as he assumes his new position as Qantas International CEO from being the head of Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

Some of the things that have kept him busy these days surely have given him more time strategizing as to how he would lead the airline back to global prominence. The recent completion of its tie-up with Emirates may have been his biggest accomplishment to date.

Hickey was very upbeat about Qantas' new service, referring to iPads and Red customer service app that goes with it.

He explained that their customer service managers would be equipped with the tablet to be able to get real-time information about the passengers while on flight.

For instance they can approach a passenger on board who's just obtained Frequent Flyer Platinum and tell him "Congratulations! You've just made Platinum!" and surprise him with a glass of champagne.

With the iPads on hand, we would be able to collect feedback as quick as possible from our customers and be able to act on any issues just as fast. For instance, Hickey explained, we may be able to resolve issues brought up by our passenger on the earlier leg of his flight while still airborne for his second flight.

Hickey, however, reiterated that the technology is only there to facilitate service efficiency. The international cabin crew aboard all Qantas planes underwent rigorous training on "service culture" before their deployment on actual flights.

He added further that their frontline staff in the past were trained on everything from setting a table to serving the meal, from safety measures to technical stuff which an airline crew should learn.

Recently, the management realized that it is not enough. So they invested a substantial amount to train their crew how to communicate effectively to their customers. The service culture, therefore, is all about understanding communication and effective conversations with the people, especially their customers and business partners.

The human touch, he concluded, on everything that they do at Qantas is so important. It is where their customers find satisfaction with their service and feel the genuineness of their passion to serve them.