Following the completion of the Club Europe embodiment on its aircraft, British Airways increased the baggage allowance for the cabin. Passengers could now take two pieces of hand baggage weighing up to 18kgs on board, doubling the previous allowance.
AirNewco, an airline-led B2B initiative which included British Airways, and MyAircraft, a B2B exchange led by aerospace manufacturers, announced their intent to combine their efforts into one venture.
British Airways launched a new corporate rewards program for small to medium sized businesses, called On Business, following a successful nine months’ trial period. Each time an employee of a member company booked an eligible fare with British Airways, the company earnt points which could be exchanged for a range of business travel rewards, such as free flights, chauffeur drives to or from UK airports, Heathrow and Gatwick Express train tickets and hotel vouchers.
British Airways and Iberia announced further codesharing agreements. BA codes were added to Iberia services between Gatwick and Oviedo, Palma and Ibiza and between Palma and Mahon. The IB code was added to BA flights between Gatwick and Faro, Oporto, Palma, Tenerife and Bermuda and between Heathrow and Faro.
Following a rigorous vendor evaluation process, BA chose ePowerCenter from Astute Solutions to help achieve these objectives.
“Astute had the technology we were looking for, but their experience in our industry and organizational commitment to their customers’ success was of equal importance to us. We needed to have confidence that the company we selected could successfully handle a global implementation. We had that confidence with Astute.”
- Richard Stabbins, British Airways Global Customer Relations Manager
Astute Solutions met BA’s aggressive implementation schedule, rolling out the ePowerCenter solution across key locations within nine months. An entirely web-based application, ePowerCenter was deployed as a unified solution, running as a single application on a single, global database. ePowerCenter replaced 11 non-integrated systems and is currently being used in more than 25 countries.
The reduction in technology platforms helped BA reduce its total cost of ownership, while enabling better cost management across the organization.
The solution was designed to deliver excellent responsiveness across BA’s global wide area network (WAN). Even during peak load times with more than 230 agents processing cases concurrently, there is no degradation in performance. By capturing customer issues across all communication methods, ePowerCenter provided BA with a global view of all customer interactions and service issues at 4 a granular level. In addition, ePowerCenter enabled BA to work with external and existing legacy information systems. Through a web-services interface, ePowerCenter was integrated with reservation systems, baggage tracking and operational customer databases, giving service representatives a complete view of customer information in real time.
Upon completion of the ePowerCenter case and issue tracking implementation, the next step was to add and develop a passenger compensation solution for use across the BA airport network. On the occasions when a passenger’s bag is lost or onward flight connection is missed, the airline is required to offer cash to cover the passenger’s out of pocket expenses. In partnership with Travelex, Astute developed a compensation solution that fully integrated with the ePowerCenter platform, extending it from the contact centers out to BA’s airport operations.
Known for its currency services, Travelex is one of the world’s foremost issuers of pre-paid debit cards. Once issued by an airline representative, a passenger can use the card to obtain cash at an ATM or to make purchases at any point of sale. Utilizing multiple currencies (Pounds, U.S. Dollars and Euro), the solution enables ATM cards to be activated and funds loaded in real time. Simultaneously a record of the transaction is created in ePowerCenter. The new compensation service is currently offered at over 110 airport locations, and when fully deployed, will be available at more than 140 airport locations around the world.
“Astute’s solution was the backbone of our program. We expected it to significantly impact efficiency, customer recovery and continuous improvement on a global scale. And it did. Today, the ePowerCenter solution enables our service representatives to quickly resolve customer issues, enhance recovery and continually improve our ability to measure and act on what our customers are saying. It is vital to our continuous improvement program.”
- Frances Taylor, British Airways Head of Global Customer Relations