The recent announcement by Air Asia Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes to collaborate with Google Cloud is to enable the budget airline to reinvent its business model to stay competitive amid more competitive business environment is believed to be able to maintain its market leadership position.
He said this during the Google Cloud Next’18 conference and industry exhibition held recently in London, from Oct 10-11. Due to the raising price of oil, he added that new methodologies and platforms need to be initiated to maintain competitiveness.
With this empowerment found in Google Cloud technology, which is using cloud computing, he hoped to diversify into other ancillary services. He planned to monetize the data and customer base through its website making full use the power of leveraging on the digital business platform.
Indeed with the unbelievable growth seen from a mere two planes 17 years ago to 250 planes currently, and from 200 staff to 20,000 staff, and with passengers volume to reach 90 million this year, the data itself speaks loudly about the achievement they have been able to outperform other budget airlines.
Air Asia was established in 1993 founded by a government-owned conglomerate, DRB-HICOM but began operations on 18 November 1996. On 2nd December 2001, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes bought it with RM1 but with RM40 million worth of debts.
He managed to turn the company around in 2002 by registering profit. The rest is history. Even though he was from Time Warner, not related to airline business, his ability to drive Air Asia to what it is today, I believe it was his ability to plan and articulate and think outside the box that makes Air Asia is today.
In addition to this, innovation, IT driven and a good team are their strengths take make Air Asia named as the world’s best low cost carrier for 10 years in a row.
Well, so much about their high flying profile. The negative side is that they need to be more customer-friendly. I, myself has encounter some unpleasant moments during using some of their services.
I believe if they can improve on the customer satisfaction index, that will be even more accolades will be bestowed on them. One example is the feedback/complain platform. Personally, I feel that they need to improve on this, as of now; there is “no effective avenue “to do so.
With the incorporation with Google cloud, it deepens my concern over the issue of “hearing the customers”. Please do not forget that if the grievances of customers are not attended to, sooner or later the “cash cow” will no longer remains a cash cow.
I am glad this is a Malaysia product with Global appeal but my observation is that it needs to address the issue of complacency arising from “not-customer satisfaction compliance.” The higher one climbs, the lower one will fall. It needs to remain focus on customer-friendly issue.
IT driven is usually not synonymous with customer satisfaction, this is one area, AI (Artificial Intelligent) will not be able to replace human touch, at least that is my personal conviction…