Appointed as Satair’s Head of Digital and Business Transformation in June 2017, Christian Agger has a clear vision of what the business needs to do to become a world leader in the aviation digital aftermarket.
He was previously Digital Strategy Lead at Saint-Gobbain Distribution-Nordic, responsible for the digital strategy and best practices across Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland and Switzerland. He masterminded the tripling of sales through e-commerce and the raising of customer loyalty by 100 percent.
Christian spoke to SimplyFly about his new role and how Satair’s digital journey is beginning to unfold.
Q: How would you describe Satair’s e-commerce position at the moment?
A: The customers’ expectations towards digital solution have rapidly increased in the past few years. At the moment we don’t have digital solutions which support a modern customer experiences. It’s like the old VHS cassette in that it still does a job; if you have a cassette it will play a film for you, but that’s all. We want to go to the Netflix model where big film selections are offered, there are connections to other movies you might be interested and it is much more intuitive. We want to use data to create better content and to move from an old world that still works to a much more modern world with much greater capabilities.
So our first task is to build a new digital solution with one portal combining Airbus Spares and Satair Spares, which will ease the customer experience as they will no longer have to visit two different portals to handle their business with us.
Q: What excites you about the task you have taken on?
A: Aviation is a fast moving industry with many exciting digital opportunities and a great potential. For me it is a great opportunity to work with digital & business transformation in a company that aims towards being the digital frontrunner in an industry. Setting the bar is important in order to keep up with the digital agenda and alongside meeting customer expectations and needs we also want to inspire the industry and our customers.
I have a lot of experience in do’s and don’ts from both B2C and B2B. So, hopefully I can use my experience to shortcut the processes and speed up the digital journey of Satair to the benefit of our customers and suppliers. I am especially focused on delivering digital projects that drive high value for our customers and suppliers and allow us to be fast and agile meaning that we are able to adapt and assess feedback and plans as we go along in order to ensure the best possible experience for our customers.
Q: How do you make sure the customer is heard in this process?
A: It is important to realise that we are not doing this for its own sake; it has to be digital for the customer and their needs are first and foremost.
Through direct feedback from customers and also from our own Customer Order Desk & sales people we have found what is needed from a customer perspective, namely an easier portal with clear ordering process, fleet overview and features such as being able to upload extensive part number lists for quotation. Part of the process of identifying the customer needs is called ‘Customer Journey Mapping’ where we analyse every step a customer has to take to place an order, get a technical query answered and so on.
From that we create a map showing these interactions and then we get with the customer to show them what they go through and which aspects they are satisfied with and also where they are not satisfied - the latter being extremely valuable and important in order to develop features and solutions that can satisfy the customer.
Q: What can the customers expect?
A: We are developing the new portal to embrace six key themes, based on the take aways from the Customer Journey Mapping. We are building in simple, smooth and speedy solutions with strong orientation towards search functions. We are going to make it easy to use so that customers don’t have to do a lot of cutting and pasting when creating parts lists, but instead dropping files into those lists. There will be no one-size fits all solution; instead communications will be personalised to each customer to create better relationships. Finally we are building in self-service and transparency, making it much more convenient for customers to log in when they want to and to find out what is happening with their orders or requests.
Q: You mentioned personalised communications. What do you mean by that?
A: We are changing the way we communicate with our customers and using new digital channels. We acknowledge that people in different parts of the world use different tools to communicate and the smartphone is becoming key to this. In many areas WhatsApp, Messenger and other tools are used heavily for instance.
We call our solution ‘Mobile First’. This means that the portal is designed from the outset to be used on a mobile phone as the design is easier from there to fit on to an I-Pad, laptop or PC. Whereas, if designed the other way around, the screen material is often too large to easily fit onto a mobile phone. So from the beginning the solution will be supported by all devices.
Our communications with customers need to be more proactive so we are looking at all these new channels, including social media. We call this omnichannel and this is where no matter how the customer wishes to engage with us – and it will be entirely their choice – all the channels used will be talking together and totally synchronised.
Q: Have you looked at other industries/platforms to learn from them?
A: Yes we have done that. We have looked at the sort of service solutions you get at home from providers such as Amazon. We don’t want searches that are difficult, time-consuming and not really working. So we want what you get in consumer portals and it will be designed to be more consumer-oriented.
Q: When will the new portal go live and what will be on it?
A: Go live is early 2019. It will incorporate all the functions already mentioned, but we are also going to combine technical data with transactional data. As an example when a customer buys a part, we know from the aircraft manuals that the part he has bought will interact with another part on the aircraft, which might need to be changed and so this will be alerted to the customer. It is far better that the parts are bought at the same time, rather than run the risk of the other part failing later and which might cause an AOG situation. We believe this will increase customer satisfaction.
Q: How will the portal improve the customer experience?
A: We have a number of ideas but it is important that we do this step by step and building on experience so the customer sees consistent and gradual progress rather than waiting for one ‘big bang’. We will continue to build in new features based on feedback from our customers.
However, we do have high ambitions and really want to take this to a new level in terms of customer experience and this is the first step on a long digital transformation.
As we are connected to Airbus Skywise, an open aviation data platform offering e.g. advanced predictive analytics, we are looking to see how we can add value to our customers in the future with services based on data. This sounds easy but it is not; the future scope will be very complex. However, it is aspirational and we are working on a solution that could be with us in about the next two years.
Also the portal gives us possibilities to create a much bigger role for Satair and, for example, to start selling a much larger parts scope. In other words to become a bit more like Amazon, to bring efficiency to our customers and giving them the convenience to buy more at one place, saving them a lot of time and adding real value.