With more people flying than ever before, it’s never been more important for airlines to have powerful ways of communicating and sharing information internally, says Unily chief commercial officer Jo Skilton
Leading airlines from around the world are investing in communication and collaboration solutions that promote efficiency and have the potential to drive down operational costs. This year both British Airways and Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific invested in new intranet projects to unite employees and resources on a centralized platform.
Drew McMillan, Director of Colleague Communication and Engagement at British Airways, described the airline’s motivations for launching the new intranet as part of a wider strategy for improving the customer experience and maintaining a competitive stance.
Commenting on the introduction of their new platform, McMillan said, “British Airways is committed to a multi-billion investment program, focussed on improving the experience for our customers at every stage of their journey. By providing a new, mobile intranet solution to our 44,000 colleagues, we are helping them to connect and communicate more effectively, which ultimately means a more consistent, high-quality service delivered to our valued customers.”
So, how can implementing a modern intranet translate into better service for the customer, and what features are most powerful in supporting these aims?
Fostering a united culture with a mobile intranet
Many intranet projects are taken on primarily to support cultural aims. While hard to define, strong cultures create satisfied and engaged employees, which leads to a better experience for the customer.
Intranets offer many ways of fostering a stronger sense of culture; they can be used to spotlight employee benefits, deliver rich internal communications, and as a platform for networking with colleagues using social and collaboration features. This allows companies to elevate the employee experience and feed a positive culture.
However, in years gone by, intranets have not been fit to deliver on cultural aims in an airline environment since most airline employees lack access to the desktop devices on which the intranet has traditionally presided. Now, advances in mobile technology mean that intranets are becoming powerful tools for connecting non-office staff with corporate communications and key resources.
Mobile intranets, those with native apps or mobile responsive design, offer a solution for uniting the entire workforce on a single platform where they can consume, collaborate, and create. With the addition of multilingual functionality, airlines can now ensure every member of staff has access to the same content regardless of language or location.
When combined, these features open new opportunities for airlines to foster a consistent internal brand, which provides employees with a greater sense of pride and belonging, ultimately delivering a better service to the customer.
Sharing knowledge with a social intranet
Another advance in intranet technology that has attracted the attention of airlines is the advent of the social intranet. Now considered a standard feature for most intranet platforms, social networking capabilities offer airlines the ability to connect dispersed employees scattered locations and departments. Not only is this beneficial for company culture, it also provides an intuitive platform for knowledge sharing.
Historically, managing the logistical pressures involved with running an airline has relied on highly skilled teams to oversee isolated areas of the business. Over time, this has created deep-seated silos that leading airlines are increasingly seeking to bridge.
Social networking tools are helping airlines to overcome these challenges by providing a mechanism for colleagues to build relationships and share information. Employees can ask questions, share news, and problem solve in an open forum. How does this translate into an improved experience for the customer? In many cases, the information shared between department’s results in innovation and enhanced team working, which results in an improved service.
Real-time updates, anywhere, anytime
The communication demands on an airline intranet are extensive. Airlines must be able to respond rapidly to the many external variables that could affect a customer’s journey; from policy changes and minor travel disruptions to all-out crisis. Therefore, open communication channels between head office and the front line are essential to effectively managing changing circumstances and delivering a high standard of customer service.
A mobile intranet provides a host of powerful mechanism for connecting employees with urgent updates. Push notifications can be targeted at staff so that everyone receives information relevant to their role and is notified of changes as they happen on whatever device they have to hand. For the customer, this means when inevitable disruptions and delays happen, they can rely on informed and up-to-date staff to provide the most efficient resolutions possible.
Download the complete Airline Intranet guide
For a full picture of all the ways modern intranets can be used to solve challenges specific to airlines, download the complete Airline Intranet Guide available here.