Big Interview: Monarch aims to deliver on the promise of customer service

Big Interview: Monarch aims to deliver on the promise of customer service

Former Tui director Tim Williamson is excited about the chance to revitalise airline marketing at Monarch, where he took up his new role this week. Lee Hayhurst spoke to him ahead of his first day in the job

When Thomson Airways operated its first Dreamliner flight few people would have taken more of a professional interest than Monarch’s new customer experience and marketing director.

Tim Williamson led the design work on the Boeing 787 project at First Choice, where it was conceived, before becoming Tui Travel’s customer director following the merger in 2007.

Although he wasn’t there to see the project finally come to fruition two weeks ago, he notes that most of what he helped plan for the aircraft has survived to become a reality.

And it is a burning desire to similarly rekindle the drama and the romance of getting on an aircraft that Williamson hopes to bring to Monarch as it goes through a major fleet modernisation.

“I love the aviation sector and I certainly loved working on the 787 as a project,” Williamson told Travel Weekly ahead of his first day at Monarch this week. “If you are not really interested in what you sell it makes work really hard.

“So I’m looking forward to getting into airline marketing again, which I do think can be greatly improved with a real focus on the benefits to the customer.

"I’m also looking forward to getting into the customer experience and, a bit like I did at Tui, the way to do it is to see it for yourself.

“There’s nothing like putting a uniform on and getting out to meet and talk to customers and to staff. While you are new and people don’t know your face you can get in undercover!”

Williamson said he had numerous offers of work following his decision to leave Dublin-based Travel Department in March after a year.

But he said he was sold on the opportunity at Monarch by the energy of the new leadership team and their ambitious plans.

“There was lots to really interest me, like the return to profitability, expansion and renewal of the fleet, and wanting to carve out quite a unique proposition in the airline world,” he said.

Williamson said there was an opportunity for airlines to offer better customer service.

“You have to be competitive on price, but you can do this and still offer superior service. Monarch has been delivering this, but I hope I can take it further.

“You can always improve service. What Monarch has shown is they can be competitive on price and that’s the basis of why they are back on track and doing well.

“You have to have the right training, customer insight and the right people in place.”

For Williamson the task at hand at Monarch will be only half done when the customer service offering has been devised: the crucial next step will be telling people about it and delivering it.

“Ultimately, the person who makes the promise in marketing has to deliver it through customer experience and I’m really excited about that accountability.”

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