My Executive


    Jun 12, 2013

    New SIA system to take personalisation to next level

    Singapore Airlines, Singapore's national carrier, is experiencing turbulence.

    Recently, DBS Bank overtook it as Singapore's most valuable brand, with critics saying that SIA needs to brush up on customer service to stay on top. Now, the carrier has revealed a new data system, to be introduced next year, which will log the personal preferences of each flier.

    My Paper spoke to Mr Tan Pee Teck, Senior Vice-President of Products and Services, about the system, and criticism of the airline.

    Do you feel that there is a need to upgrade customer service standards?

    Competition gets more intense (at every turn). We can't assume that our competitors are not doing anything to improve, on their part. We have to continue to reinvent ourselves, whether incrementally or on a larger scale.

    Why was there a need for the new system, called Customer Service Management (CEM)?

    We already have a very good standard of customer service. The challenge for us is to deliver the same, or better, service... The objective of CEM is to 'wow' a customer without being too obvious about it.

    Some have noticed that SIA tickets are more expensive if purchased in Singapore, as compared to tickets purchased in other cities. Why?

    We don't have special airfares for Singaporeans per se. We run a commercial business... Generally, pricing is always a function of demand and supply.

    The revamped SIA website is a sore point with some. Are there any plans to improve it?

    Over the past few months, we have heard the feedback from customers. We know that we've caused them inconvenience in terms of the efficiency and functionality of the website.

    We will continue to work on improving the website because the nature of websites and IT is that you can always improve on it. I don't think it is in the same state it was a year ago. I think it has improved by leaps and bounds.

    SIA recently updated the SIA Girl's make-up. Are there more plans to improve on her image?

    Not really. We don't want to tweak a winning formula. By and large, the vast majority prefer us to remain as what we are.

    Some say that SIA flight attendants treat Caucasians better. How did this impression come about?

    I don't get that impression, to be honest. All our cabin crew, male and female, are taught to treat every passenger the same, regardless of race and religion.

    It could well be that Caucasian passengers talk more to the cabin crew and therefore cabin-crew members respond. Asians may be a little bit more conservative and some nationalities tend to keep to themselves a little bit more.

    At the end of the day, we welcome all customers. We can't afford to discriminate.