23 July 2018 | Case study
SWISS case study: Driving efficiency with Automated Check-In and Home-Printed Bag Tags
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) operates more than 100 routes to 43 countries from its Zurich and Geneva hubs, carrying over 17 million passengers each year. The company strives to reflect the traditional values of Switzerland, always aiming to achieve the highest possible standard in product and service.
As its passenger and fleet numbers grew and operations became more complex, SWISS knew it needed to further advance and align its digital services and internal strategies to maintain the high-quality, individual customer care it aims to provide as Switzerland’s national airline.
SWISS used its migration to Amadeus in 2015 as a catalyst for the creation of a holistic booking-related communications strategy. With the objective to deliver consistent, relevant and personalised notification services through a single system, they approached 15below to develop and implement such a concept.
This case study illustrates some of the solutions available to airlines looking to become more operationally efficient as they scale in size, whilst maintaining a tailored and seamless level of service using personalised communications.
Challenges and objectives
The number of passengers flying with SWISS increased from 12.2 million in 2007 to 16.9 million in 2017 as the company grew, mainly by replacing aircraft with significantly larger models. With Zurich Airport already operating close to capacity, SWISS was faced with the challenge of having to move more passengers through the airport while maintaining exemplary standards and a personable service.
The challenges facing SWISS included:
- Maintaining excellent customer service levels during a period of substantial growth.
- Multiple notifications providers as a result of previous implementations – resulting in inefficiencies when dealing with large passenger numbers and with the coordination of booking-related communications.
- Gaps in communication between SWISS and passengers/ground staff.
- Serving more customers without extra airport facilities while maintaining quality of service and efficiency.
To resolve the above issues, SWISS required a major gain in operational efficiency to meet the needs of its growing number of passengers.
The following objectives were set and would be used as a measure of success:
- Aligning digital services and internal strategies to allow faster travel and a seamless customer experience.
- Operating a single system for all booking-related notifications to ensure messages are coordinated, consolidated where possible and available across all channels.
- Tailoring notifications to suit the precise circumstances of each case and ensuring a high level of personalisation.
- Increasing the speed at which passengers move through the airport.
- Reducing the amount of time spent at check-in/bag drop desks.
Scalability and customer experience were both important considerations for the solutions that were implemented. SWISS knew that to scale operations efficiently in the future it needed to give more control and power to passengers now. The solution, therefore, had to have the ability to manage and process customer interactions across multiple channels and functions and allow passengers to self-serve where possible.
Based on these criteria, the following solutions were developed among others and are now consolidated through the 15below platform:
Automated Check-In: Automated Check-In maximises the number of passengers who are checked-in and issued with a boarding pass before arriving at the airport. It retrieves PNR data from the booking system and determines which passengers qualify. They are automatically checked-in and receive a notification including their boarding pass or check-in confirmation. Passengers not eligible for Automated Check-In are reminded to check-in online. All passengers checked-in in advance are not required to visit the airport check-in desk, reducing queues and allowing SWISS to move people through the airport faster.
Home-printed/mobile boarding passes: Passengers who checked-in prior to travelling to the airport are provided with a boarding pass to print at home or store on a mobile device. This allows them to proceed straight to the security area (after dropping bags at a dedicated counter if required), creating a more streamlined and stress-free experience and reducing queues at the airport.
Home-Printed Bag Tags: Passengers who checked-in before arriving at the airport are invited to print their baggage label at home up to 23 hours before departure (at all airports where this is legally allowed). This is folded and inserted into a reusable, branded plastic pouch and attached to baggage before it is dropped at a dedicated Fast Bag Drop counter at the airport. Baggage receipts are delivered by SMS or email. As with Automated Check-In, the Home-Printed Bag Tag scheme reduces the time passengers spend at check-in kiosks or at airport desks, creating efficiency gains for SWISS while offering faster, hassle-free processing for passengers at the airport
Pre-flight emails: A series of pre-flight emails were created and are delivered to provide customers with all the information required before they travel, reminding them to complete their APIS, informing them of special services and products and promoting ancillaries to generate additional revenue.
Two fundamental aspects of the passenger journey – checking-in and preparing baggage for faster processing – are now carried out by significant numbers of customers each year prior to their arrival at the airport, with more than half of all passengers receiving their boarding documents before setting off. Through efficient scaling of its airport operations SWISS can move more people through the terminal while continuing to provide a comprehensive and personalised service.
The objectives have been met in the following ways:
- SWISS has introduced a series of pre-flight notifications designed to inform and advise passengers, allowing them to travel with greater knowledge and confidence and prepare for their trip in their own time.
- All notifications are provided by 15below, ensuring consolidated and consistent communications output that leads to greater efficiency and data capture.
- Information (such as news of delays) is released to ground staff via the 15below platform prior to being sent to passengers, ensuring staff always have the same knowledge of disruption as passengers in advance.
- Pre-flight notifications have helped to generate an increase in passengers completing APIS before arriving at the airport. With more passengers checking-in and printing bag tags in advance, ground staff are freed to support customers who require special assistance and deliver a more personalised service.
- Far more than 50% of passengers are checked-in off airport and home-printed bag tag users require a fration of the time to drop a bag compared to the classic bag drop where a tag needs to be printed and attached.
The future - feedback from SWISS
"Working with 15below has allowed us to revolutionise the service our passengers receive before, during and after their journey. Moving through the airport has never been faster or smoother than it is today with the use of our innovative Automated Check-In and Home-Printed Bag Tag systems. The solutions allow us to make the most of the airport facilities available to us and ensure our ground teams work as efficiently as possible. We are committed to working with 15below to go even further in driving operational gains and delivering optimum customer service."
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