The story of Pulse: What you can learn from British Airways


May 18, 2016

Last week, Associate Director Tobin Sparrow took to the stage with British Airways at the MRS Travel, Tourism and Hospitality conference to present the story of BA Pulse, a real-time customer feedback programme. Here, Tobin shares the story of Pulse and what other businesses can learn from a successful real-time programme.

BA Pulse is all about driving better customer experiences throughout British Airways. It’s key that the programme captures specific feedback from customers about what they can see and feel during certain stages of their journey, and to achieve this, it has to be an enterprise-wide programme with smart technology at its core.

Fundamentally, BA Pulse is about real customers, experiencing real events, and creating real outcomes.

But how do you turn a highly-technical feedback programme into something that delivers real results for a business?

Make it a way of working, not a survey

Customer feedback is no longer a centrally owned survey, but a new, democratised way of working. It means giving all staff, including those on the front line, the tools and insight to empower them to do their jobs better more efficiently and more effectively.

All BA Pulse responses are automatically fused with vital supporting information – such as flight details, aircraft type and even seat number.  Through real-time dashboards, front-line staff have the all the information they need at their fingertips, enabling individual staff members and team leaders to proactively take informed, incremental steps they need to improve service.

Give people what they want, create fans

In order for any customer feedback programme to have a real impact on a business, all staff need to be engaged with what the programme is trying to achieve.  However, additional processes or tools for front-line staff can often be seen as a hinderence or burden.  Instead, bring together key stakeholders at the very start of your programme journey – including during initial design.  By creating a tool that fits their needs, and the wider needs of the business, you’ll create fans who will spread the word and encourage others to use the programme the way you intend it.

Embedded within a broader, coherent VoC programme

Real-time feedback often gives a different insight angle to that from post-journey surveys. It means that, if running both in tandem, we must consider the strengths of each methodology, and insight should incorporate results from both to inform continuous changes and larger, strategic business decisions.

Never forget the respondent experience

For feedback that’s a true representation of your customer experience, you need to be intelligent in the way you approach customers, and never lose sight of the respondent experience.

It’s intuitive that if you’re gathering feedback on a customer’s experience, the respondent experience also needs to be the very best. Everything from survey design to sampling needs to be carefully considered.

Using smart technology, at eDigitalResearch (edr) we sample respondents based on strict rules guided by our clients. It means no person is ever over surveyed during their end-to-end customer journey.

We’re also experts in survey design. Our research team have years of experience in designing surveys that give you a greater level of insight, while our in-house design team ensure surveys look and feel how they should across devices, and allow respondents to provide feedback how and where they choose.

Demonstrate successes to demonstrate ROI

Demonstrating ROI is not all about big, strategic wins for a business.

ROI also comes from the aggregated impact of improving individual experiences, or those of a group of customers, or by making small changes to many customer experiences. By making continuous, incremental improvements to key moments across the customer journey, you’ll see a similar return in uplift to what you get from a larger, more significant change. That’s why continuous incremental improvement and strategic change need to run in parallel.

The story of Pulse is all about Real Customers, Real Events, Real Outcomes. It’s turning about marginal gains and continuous improvements into a customer experience that goes above and beyond.

The story of Pulse was presented at the MRS Travel, Tourism and Hospitality conference in partnership with British Airways. For more details, get in touch with our travel team