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Customer Stories

 

Scandinavian Airlines uses SAS® to improve services and ensure superior customer relations

Scandinavian Airlines has made important progress in the competition for passengers in the airline industry. Using world-leading SAS technology, Scandinavian Airlines can now record and evaluate customers' spontaneous comments in order to improve the company's flights and services.

Staying a step ahead
Competition amongst airlines for customers is very tough. It is essential for airlines to listen to their customers and adapt their services to meet their customers' requirements, while also ensuring that their prices match the services they are offering.

Scandinavian Airlines is a customer-focused company, and its management decided that it should make active use of customers' suggestions and criticisms. "Customers speak out mainly to avoid encountering the same problem again, not to get compensation for what happened to them. Now we are taking their views into account as part of our ongoing efforts to improve our service and quality," says Jens Ericsson, manager of analysis and systems in Scandinavian Airlines' Customer Relations Department.

Scandinavian Airlines chose SAS Business Intelligence solutions to collect customers' opinions daily through a wide range of channels, including the Internet, letters, paper-based forms and the telephone. In Scandinavia alone, the company has a total of 55 people working on processing around 50,000 spontaneous customer comments a year.

Closing information gaps
Before Ericsson started the project with SAS, the data was incomplete and difficult to access, because the guidelines for recording customer comments were unclear and there were no tools available to analyze what customers had said or to produce statistics. For example, in the old system "Sweden" was spelled in 20 different ways, which obviously made it difficult to search for "Sweden" and get a complete picture of the opinions of Swedish customers. Extracting the relevant information was a time-consuming task, and the results did not form an adequate basis for decision making.

The initial phase of the project involved developing new forms on which to record customer comments. One important part of this stage was to identify 560 codes for the different areas in which customers may have opinions. The objective of the project was to create a fast, relevant and easily accessible process to manage customer information.

According to Ericsson, the main reason for choosing SAS software was because it supports decision making and predictive analysis, and is fast and easy to use. "It was mainly a question of creating reliable added value for the users of the analysis and feedback systems on the basis of our current situation. The be-all and end-all was to find a software package which was flexible and could easily be integrated with our other systems."

Customising reports for fast answers
The new system can produce both generic and tailor-made reports for users on the basis of all the data that has been collected. The statistics are presented in a portal environment on the airline's intranet, which means that all employees can access any of the information. Customised reports for a large number of department managers are also available, which allows them to see exactly how the areas they are responsible for are experienced and perceived by customers. For example, it is easy to find the answer to questions such as "What can we do to improve the flights between Stockholm and Göteborg?" or "What do customers of other nationalities think about our EuroBonus system?"

"The SAS consultants have done an excellent job in designing the reports to our standards," says Ericsson. "They have also checked the modules, made continuous improvements and fine-tuned the parts which we developed. We were able to do a lot of the work ourselves, but they were always there to help when we needed them. It is now likely that a lot of departments in the company will install and use the SAS software. It is easy to use and, now that we have server licences, a large number of departments can install it at a relatively low cost."

SAS offers almost unlimited possibilities for users to drill down through the data and get answers to the questions that interest them. In addition, the analysis procedures have been simplified considerably.

Better service, more satisfied customers
"A more simplistic system would just allow us to see what had happened in the past. Using SAS, however, we can also find out why, and therefore identify ways of making profitable improvements for the future," continues Ericsson. "In addition, it is really fast. I can ask a specific question and get an answer in a few seconds. It used to take several days to put together all the information manually, if it was possible at all."

In granting every employee full access to all the information in the portal, the company hopes to see an increased awareness of quality and performance, and thus more satisfied customers. Amongst other things, it is possible for department managers to explain in their monthly reports why the number of complaints in a specific area has risen, and also to report on what they are doing to resolve the problem. This gives management groups greater control over the company's strengths and weaknesses and over what is being done to make it more competitive.

"SAS is way ahead of its competitors," concludes Ericsson. "All airlines have some sort of case-handling system, but we are probably the only company in the industry that can analyze customer contacts in such a sophisticated way that also adds value. In the near future, the spontaneous customer comments will also be available to our product developers. Another benefit of the project is that we have an excellent benchmark to show us how well our suppliers are doing their job."

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Scandinavian Airlines

Challenge:
Find a better way to collect and respond to customer complaints.
Solution:
SAS allows Scandinavian Airlines to quickly record, analyze and respond to customer concerns and provides better service and performance. 

All airlines have some sort of case-handling system, but we are probably the only company in the industry that can analyze customer contacts in such a sophisticated way that also adds value.

Jens Ericsson

manager of analysis and systems

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