Customer Centricity Goes Digital

Candice Iyog, Vice President - Marketing and Customer Experience, Cebu Pacific Air

Candice Iyog, Vice President - Marketing and Customer Experience, Cebu Pacific Air

According to researchers, customers who experience physical warmth or talk to a human being are more likely to make a purchase. But what should a business do when borders close and customers and their families are ordered to physically isolate due to a global pandemic?

The global pandemic that started in March 2020 was the major catalyst that pushed Cebu Pacific – the Philippines’ leading carrier – to speed up its digitalization pivot.

CEB, a low-cost carrier, places passengers at the heart of its business and innovates to improve customer experience. Yet, it needed to adapt to the times.

CEB Introduces Chatbot

The airline observed that in the first quarter of 2021, 87 percent  of our passengers used Cebu Pacific’s website to directly book flights. Along with this, 67 percent  were able to conveniently manage their bookings online when there were flight disruptions. This suggested that a suitable number of customers were ready for the transition to a fully digital support, hence the replacement of CEB’s Philippine call center number with the push to use Charlie the chatbot.

While there was mixed feedback about chatbot Charlie as passengers took some time to adjust, CEB used these valuable inputs to ensure that it continuously improved the chatbot’s conversation design and logic. Through the live agent surveys, guest feedback helped CEB determine opportunities for better user experience. Live agents were still available 24/7 should guests need additional support. Cebu Pacific was optimistic that with time, passengers will be able to adapt to the change.

Charlie can provide the relevant information passengers need, anytime, anywhere. CEB also has a WeChat mini program for its China market, in line with responding to our customer (and market) needs. In addition, CEB promoted self-service options such as online booking management to empower customers to make their choices.

The effort paid off. By the first quarter of 2022, 96 percent  of its passengers have availed of their preferred flexible option online, indicating how the traveling public have adjusted to the airline’s digital self-service capabilities.

“Driven by data, technology and a lot of heart, the long-term goal is to build lasting relationships with our customers”

“It has always been in our core purpose to put our customers’ needs first that is why we came up with options and online enhancements to enable everyone to fly easy with CEB. We still believe this is the way forward for travel and now we are very happy to see that majority of our guests have accepted our digital self-service platforms,” said Candice Iyog, Vice President for Marketing and Customer Experience.

Apart from its website enhancements, the airline has also deployed self-bag tagging kiosks in some of its key domestic destinations, to support existing contactless flight guidelines and minimize physical interactions between passengers and staff.

Digital Journey

Cebu Pacific began its digital innovation journey in 2017. It was among the first airlines in Asia to invest in an integrated facility and technology for social intelligence and customer engagement. Its customer command center is equipped with social monitoring, publishing, and engagement tools to assist travelers on their concerns and inquiries 24/7.

Driven by data, technology and a lot of heart, the long-term goal is to build lasting relationships with our customers.

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool used by our Customer Care team has the automation capability to filter, prioritize, and route customer concerns faster, which in turn makes the process more efficient.

Various initiatives are ongoing to optimize operations and maximize resources. Apart from Charlie the chatbot, CEB launched contactless flight and digital front-line procedures, including digital check-in via self-service which uses a digital boarding pass, and improved self-service care channels, and on-the-spot, online flight disruption management. These address the health and safety concerns of our passengers who are travelling during a pandemic.

Our one-stop-shop website,  is dedicated to keeping our passengers informed about CEB’s contactless flights, flight schedules, travel requirements, and testing partners.

The airline also automated the accreditation and onboarding of passenger and cargo agents and streamlined catering processes for cashless transactions. For the employees, the office implemented the Facial Recognition Software for better timekeeping management of our employees on a work-from-home arrangement.

CEB will continue to evaluate its business to identify opportunities for innovation. Cargo operations will continue to grow as it reprioritized and used existing aircraft fleet to respond to e-commerce demand.

Aligned with our sustainability commitment and business philosophy, CEB will continue to take all necessary steps to stay formidable and to consistently provide safe, reliable, and affordable air transport services.

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