It’s all very good and proper to have a shiny flight booking application. We have one at VistaJet, our customers love it, and it’s changing the way they fly. But offering a genuinely global experience, that can provide exactly the same bespoke service whether a customer gets on board in New York, Lagos, or Papau New Guinea, requires data and technology investment like no other. It might not often make the headlines, but back end architecture is what differentiates a true premium service from a well presented marketing company.
In 2016 VistaJet’s technology teams worked around the clock to lay down the infrastructure to meet ambitious targets, by building and equipping the business with:
1) Extensive knowledge of each customer to make every flight personal and memorable;
2) The capacity to deliver a double digit growth in number of flights whilst ensuring the same high quality of service;
3) Tools and channels to promote and maximize sales.
Know Your Customer and Know Yourself
Building technology and using it to its full potential requires making the right choices. VistaJet’s mission is to provide the simplest service in business aviation, with a flight experience second to none. These are the projects VistaJet chose to develop in 2016, and the rationale behind them.
1. Customer Relationship Management. It never gets old: knowing your customers and sharing this knowledge in a timely manner amongst sales, customer service, crew, catering, operations and finance teams has always been a driver for customer satisfaction and repeat business. Detailed knowledge provides the essential insights to achieve a high quality service in a scalable manner; creating lasting memories for the customer supports brand positioning and reduces the pressure to compete in the competitor price war.
2. Real Time Management Information: Business leaders must be provided with a real time pulse of the business wherever they are in the world, at any time: updates on landings, flight hours, number of passengers, and projected revenues allow for efficient management of resources. Late information is an old picture in a fast paced world: it’s just not sustainable anymore.
3. Integration with Key Suppliers. Real time awareness of flight preparation is of fundamental importance to flight operations, customer services and the end customer. The supply chain of services in business aviation includes many stakeholders and suppliers: electronically requesting and confirming services enables the business to keep a more accurate view of each query. Additionally, we worked to integrate key suppliers onto our electronic billing platform; electronic invoicing of services and goods provides efficiency to all parties, whilst also strengthening supplier relationships.
4. Sales Pipeline Optimisation. Following up on quotes in an effective and timely manner is key to winning deals. For it to be effective, historical context must be provided to each salesperson, to allow for prioritization. Recording and understanding lost deals also helps to improve and forecast for future successes. Managing availability and pricing is a dynamic process, and knowing precisely when and how to review a deal can only be achieved through the support of technology.
5. Business Process Automation: Any business contains processes that are repeatable enough to be partially or fully automated. Digital transformation offers endless possibilities to free staff from the chains of low value added admin work. The result is more time for staff to focus on the customer.
6. Digital Booking. Customers demand the most effective ways to take control of their flights: booking flights, adding passengers, choosing their catering and more. For them it is also crucial to be informed in real-time of current flight preparations (a common source of anxiety!). For a global aviation company, a strong digital back- and front-end infrastructure is critical to offer a true premium service.
Nothing stands still
In spite of the head winds and turbulence caused by terrorist attacks, political turmoil and economic uncertainty, 2016 was a great year for VistaJet.
We welcomed many new customers on board all around the globe. We added more jets, devised new business processes, and opened up more offices. We grew significantly along the way: not only as professionals and individuals but literally in number of flights, hours, passengers, and revenues.
We also welcomed the knowledge, collaboration and skills of many new employees. Today the VistaJet family is as culturally diverse, as it is passionately united about flying and serving customers.
Don’t wait for the future
Although we can already appreciate return on each one of the projects we invested in, the decisions that are made today are only going to bear full fruit months, if not years, in the future. Ultimately, only a clear and confident long term technology plan will provide a company with the tools it needs to focus all its attention on providing excellent customer service, from booking to boarding and beyond.