Interview with Yin May Lau, Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Malaysia Airlines – “Our customers are our centre of gravity”
In the run up to Aviation Festival Asia 2023, Yin May Lau discussed the airline’s approach to the customer from several angles.
The interview looks at how to remain customer centric, the passenger journey, digital transformation, giving customers agency, the pandemic, and tying Malaysian culture into the airline’s product.
Within the interview, Yin May explained the approach the airline adopts with regards to the customer. At Malaysia Airlines, customer centricity is of paramount importance to the entire organisation. Customer satisfaction is monitored across ten touchpoints which begin far before the passenger boards the plane. Tracking this allows the airline to understand any deviations in the passenger experience and respond to this, rectifying any problems and amplifying the successes.
Yin May also explored what passengers want, discussing flexibility, convenience, and empowerment. As airlines are increasingly turning towards digital solutions, passengers are simultaneously becoming more technologically minded. Thus, the agency that the digital transformation can give the customer is welcomed.
Reflecting on the pandemic, Yin May highlighted that it was an extremely challenging time. However, within Malaysia Airlines it was simultaneously viewed as a time to expand employees’ skillsets, diversify the airline’s offering, and pull together as a team to ultimately provide customers with an enhanced product. One such improvement made during this time was the introduction of Journify. With 98 per-cent of flights grounded, the pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of solely relying on flights. Consequently, the airline developed Journify, their e-commerce platform, capitalising on the wider expenditure associated with travelling. Again, this emphasises Malaysia Airline’s commitment to the passenger journey more broadly.
The positive workplace culture of Malaysia Airlines is reflected back into their customer experience. One example Yin May gave highlighting the organisation’s culture took place during the pandemic. To ensure the employees of the airline could stay on during Covid, everyone from the assistant manager level and above took a pay cut, some up to 65 per-cent. Like other airlines who did not let staff go during the pandemic, Malaysia Airlines has hit the ground running.
- Could you describe the ways you position customer experience at the centre of your model?
- How are you responding to the change in passenger expectations since the pandemic?
- This year you put a fun twist on in-flight safety videos, can you give an example of other creative ways you are improving customer experience and engagement?
- What role does culture play in your marketing?
Yin May will be speaking on omnichannel experience at Aviation Festival Asia, exploring ‘How have passenger expectations changed post-pandemic and how can we enhance passenger engagement levels?’
Article by Jess Brownlow