10 minutes with...

George Efkolidis, Head of Customer Experience at IAG Cargo

In this new role as Head of Customer Experience, George Efkolidis brings with him a wealth of experience and ambitious ideas about how to transform the service offering and customer experience journey at IAG Cargo

Your role is a new one at IAG Cargo, what does it mean for IAG Cargo customers?

Yes, it’s is a brand-new role, a great opportunity because I can, in effect, map the output and define the deliverables that need to be set and I couldn’t be more pleased to join the team leading IAG Cargo into its next chapter. I’ve got a wide canvas to paint the customer journey and how I visualise it and boost it by the experience and creative thinking of my colleagues.

Historically, cargo providers have focused on mainly moving shipments from A to B, but today’s customers expect more than that – increasingly they place more emphasis on the overall service and experience they have with the entire logistics ecosystem.  Our new customer vision reflects this. We want to keep the world’s cargo moving delivering reliable service, fast and with a smile. My appointment comes at an exciting and crucial time for the business as we focus on the end-to-end customer experience whilst the business continues to increase capacity across its wider network. Customers are at the heart of IAG Cargo and our continued success depends on how we, as one team, proactively engage and support them with any requirements they may have at any stage of their journey.

Could you go into some detail about your experience in the field?

I’ve been working in aviation for over 24 years, having started out at IATA in London, looking after global aviation business intelligence as well as passenger and cargo forecasts for the aviation industry, before moving to network planning and schedule analysis for the Official Airline Guides (OAG). I then spent a couple of years at London Business School as Associate Director of Revenue and Portfolio Management, and most recently from 2009 onwards in the customer experience arena, working as Head of Customer Experience at Heathrow Airport and at Munich Airport International in Germany. The role here at IAG Cargo is an opportunity to apply my learnings from the passenger space to cargo because there are so many synergies & opportunities that are still untapped.

What does a positive customer experience for air cargo customers look like to you?

A positive experience is a memorable one, where a customer will advocate our brand to those around them – simplicity, transparency, personalisation and ‘ease of doing business’ with IAG Cargo will be some of the key attributes of our success. We want customer interactions with IAG Cargo to ignite a sense of strong advocacy for the brand, establishing a customer-centric vision that will inspire everyone to keep our ‘always moving’ mantra alive.

What did you learn from your time working at Heathrow and Munich Airport about successful customer experience? Could you share any case studies or success stories?

There are plenty of tactical changes and improvements that I plan to bring with me to this role. At Heathrow, we worked closely with Security and Border Force to define a new set of service level agreements, looking at opportunities to enhance the offering through the introduction of automation and e-gates at arrival in the UK, as well as differentiating the service between EU and non-EU, premium and non-premium passengers or those with hidden disabilities, for instance. It would be a first step to mirror that in some description at IAG Cargo, focusing on key areas and how our proposition can differ based on the segments of our customer base. We’re currently conducting journey mapping exercises that map out the journey from a digital, physical and emotional lens. This yielded a massive return when we performed the same exercise at Heathrow, because the changes we made impacted almost every passenger that enters or leaves the UK.

What changes are you looking to implement within IAG Cargo to augment and enhance the customer journey?

Our roadmap is driven by a truly transformation programme that ensures all touchpoints across the end-to-end customer journey are engaging, effective and sustainable, underpinned by a strong ‘people agenda’. Colleague engagement and customer experience go hand in hand. We will focus on bringing the voice of the customer into the business, empowering everyone at IAG Cargo to drive our customer transformation plan forward and deliver outstanding levels of customer experience.

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