Exclusive - Alexandra Paves the Way for Reinforcing SWC’s Status as ‘Customer Champion’
Alexandra Dahl-Augustin is new Senior Manager Head of Cargo Marketing and Communications at Swiss WorldCargo (SWC). Under her guidance, the freight carrier will officially launch swissworldcargo.com next Wednesday, their fundamentally revamped online appearance.
In this exclusive interview, Alexandra’s first in her new position, she illustrates the multitude of functions the new site offers users, enabling clients to autonomously create transports according to their individual needs.
Alexandra, Communications, Marketing and PR have been upgraded to an independent staff function under your stewardship at Swiss WorldCargo. What’s behind this decision?
It means nothing else than that at Swiss WorldCargo the focus is now again clearly placed only on Marketing and Communication as a subject matter which has been separated from the product and vertical industry department which was one department in the past. The reporting line is now also linked again directly to our Head of Cargo Ashwin Bhat which ensures a fast information flow, shortest decision times and no distances. Also the fact that Marketing and Communication is combined in one department ensures that PR, internal communication and all Marketing activities are aligned and in sync.
Environmental matters are not part of your competencies. Why was this increasingly important segment not added to your area of responsibilities but left stewing in its own juice?
Within SWISS we have one person being fully responsible for driving the topic of sustainability and environmental matters for SWISS. With us being part of this we exchange jointly on a regular basis to work on the topic of sustainability. Swiss WorldCargo is an essential part of SWISS. It makes perfect sense to me to speak with one voice and as an airline regarding this so important matter. This is the clear & simple reasoning behind that.
While speaking with you, you emphasized that Swiss WorldCargo intends becoming a “customer champion.” Do you mind telling us what exactly a “customer champion” is and how your airline wants this vision to become practical?
We highly appreciate our customer’s inputs, we listen and care for their needs and our approach is to take fast decisions to do the extra step and go the extra mile to prove that only full satisfaction of our clients lets us rest. In fact, we do not intend to become customer champions, but rather stay at this level. Our clients have approved us being best in class in many services and levels. This is shown in the results of our last Customer Satisfaction Index Studies again and again. Again in this sense means that this was the case already in the years before. Therefore, it is a clear obligation for us to stay on this level of service and make sure it does not change.
Next Wednesday you will officially launch your new swissworldcargo.com site, replacing your old web presence that dates back to the beginning of this century. Which are – in brief – the main features of your new electronic platform?
Well, there are many new important features. It is a brand new page intuitively designed alongside our customer’s experiences. In short, here is a list of rock bottom news: Swiss WorldCargo improves the digital customer experience with the re-launch of our website swissworldcargo.com. It’s more than just a new website: it provides a new and improved digital customer experience.
These are the main features in short:
- Enhanced and renewed content that better reflects our business strategy
- Integrated social media feed to enhance our online visibility
- More engaging user interface to improve the user experience
- New Track'n'Trace functionality that provides more accurate data on shipment status for better customer service
- Route Finder with an improved timetable function
- Geo-location function showing Swiss WorldCargo’s local contacts on the homepage
I like to add to this that next to the improved usability of swissworldcargo.com and the enriched contents the responsive design of our new site is worthwhile mentioning.
´When taking a close look at your site one conspicuous difference to most of your competitor’s online presentations is the extremely customized approach, offering many upgraded functionalities just mentioned by you. To make it short: Is your new site a key tool to actively involve your clients in the electronic co-creation of air transports from A to Z?
Yes, this is our intention. You have this well summarized, Heiner. Traditionally, many logistics companies have offered specific services. Prices were set as cost plus, and marketing was about filling the capacity. At the same time, logistics companies are very pragmatic and very close to customers. Depending on their business, they develop combination portfolios of standardised or signature services (‘products’) and customization services − putting the price first in commoditized markets, and customer value first for individualised solutions.
But: we want to keep things simple, interact with our clients, learning from them about what they really need. Therefore, we need a dialogue. It lies close that we do this via our website, which is “the mother of all information and exchange!”
Simple application, enhanced transparency, easy way of navigating through the contents of your site - how much will all of this help enhancing your performance and gain new clients? What’s your expectation?
We go from ‘marketing to’ to ‘marketing with’.
The new elements in communication and marketing reflect the above mentioned intentions and strive to actively engage customers in communication, a dialogue resulting in the co-creation of new services. This allows getting ahead of the competition, trying to avoid the horrors of just price-based competition. Understanding the customer experience and the customer journey from search to re-purchase is key. In view of contact points in multiple channels and media, mapping this experience and fostering interaction must be well-orchestrated. To succeed, logistics companies must integrate multiple business functions and communicate well with customers and external partners. This will enable them to create and deliver customer experiences that are closer than ever to market demands. This way we intend to stay Customer Champions, enhance performance and gain new clients.
Could your extremely customer friendly website, that caters for the day-to-day business needs of your clients become a blueprint for the sites of the entire Lufthansa Group of airlines and their cargo entities?
Well the basic marketing questions remain: What are customers’ needs and wants? Are customers aware of our services? What factors do customers consider in their purchase decision? Do customers like or trust us? How much are customers willing to pay? Are they satisfied with the existing services? Do they come back for more? Are customers engaged in and interacting with new service development? Are they advocating our services to others? All of these questions need to be answered individually from each company’s point of view to the satisfaction of our clients. Each company needs to do this on its own, representing its brand and its brand values also within the Lufthansa Group. We are individual brands under one group umbrella and learn from each other – this makes this group diverse and interesting to our customers.
Finally, what motivated you personally to become Head of Communications and Marketing at Swiss World Cargo, a post you are responsible for since January this year?
It is very simple: I do believe in truthful and authentic, content driven Marketing as well as I love to communicate, Heiner! When given the chance to take over this position, I did this with greatest pleasure. Thank you!
Our pleasure. We’d like to thank you for your time and effort.
Interview: Heiner Siegmund