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Conference Agenda

September 2011 Rekjavík, Iceland

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The Importance of a Branded Customer Experience
Gillian James
Managing Director, TMI UK

In an increasingly competitive market, the winners will be those organisations who do not just deliver a brilliant level of customer service but deliver a service that clearly differentiates them from the competition in a way that is relevant and compelling for their customers. In this keynote, Gillian James, Managing Director of TMI will introduce the audience to the concept of a Branded Customer Experience and the significant commercial benefits it can bring to airlines today.

In particular she will cover:

  • What do we mean by branded experiences? 
  • How does this relate to the global service trends in the airline industry?
  • The key stages for developing a branded customer experience
  • The importance of customer intimacy 
  • The levers for delivering a branded service experience
  • The commercial benefits for a branded customer experience


Dealing With Customers Who Drive You Crazy!
Dr. Joel Freeman
Corporate Trainer, The Freeman Institute®

Studies have shown that 15% of financial and career success can be attributed to technical competence, while 85% is due to good interpersonal skills. We all are different. Some of us are thinkers, others are doers, some are passive, and still others are aggressive. Most people (travelers and co-workers) come to your respective airports with pretty good intentions, but we get on each other's nerves just by being ourselves. In this session we will focus upon the 85% aspects of work and home. Dr. Freeman (professional counselor) explores the wide range of emotions we deal with and how our emotions can positively impact communication skills and our personal approach to customer service. This popular session is a lot of fun, quite interactive and introduces very practical information...

First Part of Session: View of the internal world. We gain an excellent view of each participant by administering a personality profile. We celebrate the strengths and develop strategies for the vulnerabilities.

Second Part of Session: View of external world. We develop a profile of the productive team, discussing ways that each person can connect with each other for the common good of the whole. We talk about three areas of potential conflict and how to work through the predictable nature of that conflict.


The Social Media Business Equation™
Eve Mayer Orsburn
CEO, Social Media Delivered

A vast majority of CEOs remain hesitant to embrace the new era of emerging media and continue to wonder if it’s possible for an organization to truly leverage these tools and grow their business as a result?

According to Eve Mayer Orsburn’s new book entitled The Social Media Business Equation™, the answer is a resounding YES! This seminar dispels common social media myths, and rather focuses on the logic behind using social media regardless of an organization’s size or industry. In her presentation, Eve will review several different case studies from a variety of small, medium and large companies like Lane Bryant, Mayo Clinic, and General Motors to exemplify how social media worked with their particular marketing scenario


The Importance of Customer Service in a Self-Service World
Jeff Ulrich
Senior Manager of Emerging Technology, United Airlines

A customer recently wrote:

For many years, I have dreamed of the day that I could board a flight and have my first interaction with any employee to be the flight attendant.  Last week on CO flight #1, it happened.  They are testing automated self service boarding at IAH at that particular gate.  I was able to use to make my reservation and assign seats, print my boarding pass, used my mobile phone to check the status of my flight, scanned my own boarding pass (which was on my phone) at the gate, which opened up for me much like a metro/subway system.  I boarded the flight and my first interaction with an UA/CO employee was the flight attendant asking me what I wanted for a pre-departure beverage.  Bravo!

But what happens when things don’t go according to plan?  And with United (like the airline industry as a whole) pursuing more and more self-service options—from online and “app” reservations, check-in, mobile boarding passes, self-tagging of baggage, and self-boarding—the limited contact our guests have with a representative becomes even more impactful, even more critical.   Add social media to the mix and the customer service landscape is altering substantially.

Jeff will take you on a tour of emerging technology and contact channels in our industry and strategies to maintain that critical human touch…


The Tip Of The Iceberg: Grasp The Rationale Behind Complaints, And Deliver The Right Consumer Experience!
Diana Derval
President and Research Director, DervalResearch

In the service and hospitality industry, DervalResearch has been working with airlines, railways, hotels, restaurants, and retailers. Their findings show many customer complaints are related to waiting time, food, level of service, temperature, and boredom. The perception of each of these elements (food, waiting, temperature, etc) depends on people's biological perception of the received signals. This explains differences between countries (often wrongly explained by culture), younger and elder, men and women, and even among men and among women. By explaining these findings on consumer perception, participants will learn - in a fun, easy to understand, and interactive way - how to improve contact with clients and deliver the right experience, at the right moment.


Volcanoes and Aviation: Economic and Societal Impact
Haraldur Sigurðsson
Emeritus Professor, University of Rhode Island

Explosive volcanic eruptions world-wide can have important impact on aviation. Ever since the first encounter of flight BA-9 with the atmospheric plume of ash over Indonesia in 1982, this potential hazard has become of increasing concern, as air traffic continues to rise. In his talk, Sigurdsson reviews recent examples of explosive volcanic eruptions that have had an impact on aviation. He will discuss the conflicting issues on aviation safety on one hand, and the issue of maintaining flight schedules and a viable industry on the other hand. Are some aviation controls too cautious, or must we at all costs avoid any possibility encounter with volcanic ash in the air? It is an evolving story.


IATA Developments
Monique de Smet
Regional Director, IATA Europe

261, 1107--these are familiar "numbers" to industry insiders. A more recent regulation, EC1008/2008, has implications to airlines regarding fare transparency. Possible revisions are pending to the regulation of GDS/CRS systems. Recent discussions with the European Commission impact the protection of passengers in case of airline bankruptcy and European Court of Justice rulings have clarified--or muddied--the legal landscape. In this interactive session, learn about IATA's approach to the many rules that impact our world of airline customer care as well its many actions, initiatives, and lobbying activities on behalf of its global membership.


Mystery Flyer
Paul Bol Raap
Managing Director, International Hospitality Check

Paul Bol Raap, Managing Director of International Hospitality Check, will present on “Mystery Flyers”. This technique has been used for a long time to assess the services provided by those in the service industry – usually under the name “Mystery Shopper”. Paul will explain how this technique can equally be applied to the airline industry, to determine for example:

  • are the cabin crew selling/promoting Duty Free?
  • do the limousine drivers drive too fast and overtake on the inside?
  • are the check-in staff asking security questions always?

The answer to questions like these help Customer Relations staff more fully understand customer complaints and put these in the context of the objective results of a Mystery Flyer exercise. Paul will explain some of the Do’s and Don’ts of implementing a Mystery Flyer initiative and will also go on to talk about some of the other, more subjective, methods for collecting this sort of feedback data.


The Mysterious Rosetta Stone: Cracking the Code to Your Team's Success
Dr. Joel Freeman
Corporate Trainer, The Freeman Institute®

Highly visual. Participants will learn a lot about history, along with some very practical problem-solving concepts.

First Part of Session: Dr. Freeman provides an historical overview of the significance of the Rosetta Stone and it's connection to all of us. Found in 1799 on the west bank of the Nile by French soldiers, this 1,700 pound fragment of an ancient slab gave up the clues that ultimately cracked the code to hieroglyphics some 23 years later in 1822 -- unlocking the secrets of ancient Egypt.

Second Part of Session: The Napoleon invaded Egypt, seeking to cut off the British trade route to India. In spite of all the bad feelings between the British and the French, lack of teamwork/mutual respect and rampant egos -- the ultimate objective was met. What can we learn from this series of historical events?

Dr. Freeman discusses the practical "problem-solving" lessons we all can learn from the long, protracted 23-year process required to crack the code to hieroglyphics. Contemporary wisdom: In spite of systemic issues in organizations that seem to work against creativity and productivity, we can still implement some principles that provide practical solutions to real problems -- enhancing productivity and creativity.


Building a Branded Customer Experience within an Airline
Gillian James
Managing Director, TMI UK

This interactive breakout session explores in more detail some of the ideas raised in the branded customer experience keynote from the main session. In particular it will explore how airlines can bring a branded customer experience to life at critical touch points.

Specific content areas:

  • What are the building blocks for developing a branded customer experience?
    • Understand your customer’s needs
    • Know what service style you want to provide
    • Co-create the desired experience with your customers (and staff)
    • Developed standards and measures that support the desired experience
    • Engage and train
    • Sustain with tools and processes
  • Exploring (and experimenting) with key tools and methodologies
  • Some best practice examples
  • Taking the first step – how to make it happen


Expanded Passenger Protections Affect US and Foreign Air Carriers
Sam Podberesky
Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, US Department of Transportation

New protections in the United States will require airlines to reimburse passengers for bag fees if their bags are lost, fully disclose hidden fees, and provide customers who are involuntarily bumped from flights with greater compensation.   Notably, the existing ban on lengthy tarmac delays has been expanded to cover foreign airlines’ operations at US airports, establishing strict limits on delays and mandating levels of care for customers stranded on a tarmac.   Additionally, while many U.S. and E.U. regulations are similar, others—such as those related to emotional support and service animals—are not harmonized.   As Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Sam Podberesky is uniquely positioned to offer his direct insights into how this evolving regulatory landscape affects your airline and your customers


Break The Ice: Turn Consumers' Complaints Into Powerful Insights
Diana Derval
President and Research Director, DervalResearch

In this interactive workshop, we will see how to develop and adapt products and services from complaints feedback. Criticism of existing solutions often reveals real consumer needs and new market opportunities. Participants will learn and apply a powerful technique in order to turn complaints into insights that can be used immediately to fix the consumer experience or as an input for the company's innovation roadmap. Through the fascinating examples of Sofitel, Dutch Railways, Starbucks, and more, this session shows how to break the ice of complaints and reach the blue ocean of opportunities waiting behind.


Legal Update: Dusting Off the Ash Cloud Claims
Darcy Beamer-Downie
General Counsel, Airclaims

Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the legal workshop at last year’s conference in Abu Dhabi, Darcy will be providing WACRA delegates a fresh outlook on the legalities surrounding ash cloud claims many of us still have pending.  In addition, as a legal expert on EU261 and the Montreal Convention, Darcy will be able to answer any questions you may have that will help you avoid unnecessary litigation.

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