Jet Airways’ focus on guest experience has steered it towards constant innovation and much of it has been brought about by the unstoppable force of technology. The airline is currently running a pilot programme of linking Aadhaar card with bookings that allow passengers to travel without any ID for Bengaluru airport, another first of its kind.
A good indicator of success for a company, second only to its P&L, is customer feedback and Jet Airways seemed to have scored high points on that account. It recently won the ‘Best Airline – India’ by TripAdvisor’s first annual Travellers’ Choice awards for airlines. This, says Jayaraj Shanmugam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways (India), is a reflection of the company’s growing inflection on its customers. “Our philosophy is ‘guests first’. After streamlining our company in 2014, we went back to the basics to see what will drive our business forward. Things have changed dramatically now and the way customers book us has also changed. We are talking about the millennials and we need to adapt to them,” he says.
This journey was made across several touch points that meets with customers. Belson Coutinho, Vice President – Marketing, eCommerce & Innovations, Jet Airways (India), who has been at the forefront of some of its innovations shares insights. “It started with how customers interact with us as a brand and the website was the core. Not only did we revamp it, we even customised it to cater to our visually-challenged guests and guests with hearing disability,” he says. Jet Airways claims to be a first-mover for many industry innovations. It brought onboard the latest digital payment modes with 21 options today including the latest Uni- fied Payments Interface (UPI) and the first airline to do that. Starting from check-in kiosks at airports to e-tickets, Jet Airways was the first airline to work with airports like Bengaluru and Hyderabad to bring in mobile barcode technology that allows passengers to board their flights without a physical boarding pass.
“We were the first ones to have an iWatch app and the first to allow check-in on Twitter. India’s eco-system is changing and digital is becoming an important part of it,” Coutinho says. Yet another first that the airline is working on is linking the Aadhaar card with the booking that allows passengers to travel without any ID. “This is currently a pilot program for Bengaluru airport. When the boarding pass is scanned, the system opens up the Aadhaar ID. The technology is working beautifully and it’s just a matter of scaling it up across airports. We are talking with multiple airports including international ones like Changi,” Coutinho adds.
Finally, it all boils down to offering choice to customers. Shanmugam adds, “We operate on four Cs: Choice, Convenience, Comfort and Connectivity but my favourite is Choice. We demonstrate this in our interactions with them across platforms and from the time they get on our flight until they get off. The entire industry works on technology simply because the aircraft is in itself a technological marvel. You have to see what the customer experiences with other service providers and then replicate that convenience into the airline industry. We no longer talk about the airline industry alone but also include other industries in the conversation.”