​Qantas eyes customer insight to help with transformation

Qantas has recognised that customer data will play a vital role in aiding future operations and decisions for the airline.

Qantas has said that it will place heavy focus on leveraging customer insight as part of the next phase of its business transformation strategy.

In its investor day report (PDF), Qantas said that a key competitive advantage the company has is its 27 years' worth of customer data. This includes data sourced from 10.7 million frequent flyer members, as well as the over 2.5 million visits per week it receives on Qantas.com, and more than 3.7 million visits per week to its Jetstar website.

Rob Marcolina, Qantas group executive for strategy, transformation, and IT, told investors that customer data will be used to aid operations and the customer journey, plus support airline decisions.

For example, once operational disruption occurs, affected customers will be notified via email or SMS and directed to Qantas.com before they are given three options: To accept a proposed new flight, change to an alternative flight, or cancel and request a refund or voucher.

Most recently, Qantas acquired a majority stake in Taylor Firm to expand its Qantas Loyalty data and analytics capabilities.

Qantas has also invested in several other technology-driven capabilities, which the company believes will see AU$2 billion worth of total realised benefits by the 2017 financial year. Some of these capabilities include auto check-in on mobile to reduce time at major airports; proactively tracking and assisting customers via web chat through the online booking process; and launching RedApp to provide customer history and information directly to cabin crew and ground staff on iPads for a more personalised experience.

Qantas is also looking to further leverage data and new technologies to enable a more tailored, personalised market across its digital channels. Already, 45 percent of total group marketing spend occurs through its digital channels, the company said.

In the back end, Qantas said it will be consolidating more of its contact centres, and simplifying its applications. At the same time, its "spend aware" supplier program is expected to create cost reductions, driven by sustainable procurement across the group, and improved business process and technology. The company said benefits realised from its "spend aware" program will be approximately AU$30 million by FY17.

During its full-year results for the 2015 financial year, Qantas reported that it expects to see cash savings of AU$200 million by the end of FY15, driven mainly by new technology.