Nov 30, 2023

Applying the Power of Customer Centric Service

New philosophy, new infrastructure, and new technology puts Bombardier on top for customer support.

Performance and technology have long made flights aboard a Bombardier business jet a superlative experience. Today, those same traits are transforming the Bombardier ownership experience, as the global service team embraces what company Customer Support vice-president Anthony Cox calls, "a customer-centric culture."

"By one definition, our team's role is to ensure the safe, efficient, and effective use and performance of Bombardier business aircraft," said Cox at the Canadian company's Montreal Customer Response Centre. "But in the culture that we're building, our role is to provide customers an amazing experience with the aircraft — We, the Bombardier team, are dedicated to the exceptional care of our customers."

The stage for the shift has been set with the completion of a multi-year strategic buildout of Bombardier's global support infrastructure, capped by a massive expansion at its London Biggin Hill facility; construction of a new Service Centre in Melbourne, Australia; major expansions at its facilities in Singapore and another halfway around the world, the inauguration of the new Miami Service Centre in Miami-Opa Locka; and the acquisition of a service center at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. That's in addition to substantial upgrades at other locations, together adding close to one million square feet of infrastructure to Bombardier's service network footprint. Meanwhile, an ongoing workforce expansion will add 250 technicians this year alone, Cox said.

"Now, we’re continuing to bring our customers home, and offering them an amazing OEM experience," he continued. "Not just pragmatically or with skilled technicians, but by going above and beyond to make our customers feel heard and understood. We see every interaction with our customers as an opportunity to build their trust and delight them."

Cox admitted Bombardier's industry leading platform performance and technology gives the support team a head start.

"Customer satisfaction is relatively easy when you have a fantastic lineup of products like we do," said Cox. But the support team has set a far higher bar, pledging to deliver an elevated experience, "In the time of crisis: When the airplane has an issue that's interfering with dispatch." For that, "Our AOG responsiveness is the absolute critical factor," he said.

That's why the global infrastructure buildout included enhanced AOG support worldwide: More mobile service unit trucks in the North American service fleet; AOG investments throughout Europe, led by the opening of a new facility for transient line maintenance at Paris-Le Bourget, traditionally the Continent's busiest business aviation airport, along with upgraded AOG capabilities in Geneva, Nice, and at London Luton and Farnborough Airports.

In a reflection of Bombardier's technology leadership, the support network is now harnessing insights gleaned from AOG events to further improve platform reliability and service, having linked the company's entire global support network through a Customer Resource Management system. "We work from a common, modern, master data set," said Cox.

Now Smart Link Plus, a milestone in the marriage of technology and the service experience, has arrived. An advanced aircraft health monitoring and management system, Smart Link Plus, installed on all new, and retrofittable on nearly all in-service Bombardier Challenger and Global aircraft models, collects and distributes crucial aircraft data in real time. The support team has already developed troubleshooting and analysis tools for using the information proactively.

"It's going to change the way we operate," said Cox. "Troubleshooting remotely, with pilots and technicians, is going to be transformed into real time analytics, with feedback from the airplane synthesized into a format that's easily understood — Not just by our own experts, but by the customers."

The Global 7500, he noted, generates and shares some 12,000 parameters every millisecond. "With that degree of crystalized data, we can today use actual intelligence to find faults that perhaps the pilots haven't even observed," Cox said. "That moves us into a proactive methodology where we identify minor anomalies before they manifest into a potential dispatch interruption.

The growing data pool also coincides with the development of artificial intelligence (AI) tools capable of mining the information. AI can analyze the performance of a single parameter, said Cox, "and if it deviates by one or two or three standard deviations from what the AI perceives as normal, the system gives us a flag" that a human can then investigate using intuitive system prompts and if needed, address.

It's all part of being "a customer-centric organization," Cox said. "We understand that we have to earn your business. We are not entitled to it."

Cox can speak with certainty for the entire team, having just completed an exhaustive, global mission, "visiting every team employee around the world," to explain, answer questions, and ultimately ensure support for the customer-centric approach.

"I'm a firm believer that employee engagement is absolutely, intrinsically linked to customer satisfaction," said Cox, celebrating his 30th year in the commercial and business aviation maintenance sector this year.

A customer credo the support team created, "with some very thoughtful input from the front lines" keeps the goal in focus. "It's a value set from an organizational point of view that helps our employees understand where true north is," he explained. "We encourage all of our staff, if you're not sure what to do in the moment, then do the right thing for the customer."

Innovation awards and a Credo Ambassador program are among other efforts promoting the customer support network's cultural shift. The quarterly innovation awards rewards any customer satisfaction-related ideas from team members "that can be implemented and measured for success," said Cox. Employee-nominated Credo Ambassador honors recognize team members whose actions demonstrate the company culture and ethos.

"We want each of our employees to make a personal commitment as part of the customer facing team — And we truly believe that all of our people are customer facing," Cox said, reciting the credo: "I take ownership and responsibility for customer concerns. I work with my colleagues with the team spirit to deliver the best customer experience. I honor my commitments, and I aim for excellence in everything I do. I am transparent, I am authentic at all times, and I am an ambassador at Bombardier."

Yet the quality of the customer experience depends on the quality of the team, and Cox emphasized Bombardier is committed to providing the best to both of these stakeholder groups.

"We are working on a number of initiatives to ensure Bombardier is the employer of choice," he said, citing the importance of hiring the right team members, and doing right by them.

"Our culture is about the customer experience, but it's also about our people, because that's who's going to enable our business to grow," Cox said.

New philosophy, new infrastructure, and new technology puts Bombardier on top for customer support.