NBAA Convention News

Honeywell asked, and their customers told

 - October 19, 2010, 4:29 PM

With 30 years of industry customer service experience, Honeywell’s vice president of customer and product support for aerospace business Adrian Paull never forgot that old story about what happens when you ask for feedback… sometimes you hear things you don’t expect. When Honeywell reorganized into segments five years ago, Paull’s people asked customers for as much useful guidance as possible. “They told us we were unresponsive and arrogant,” he said. Some might have cowered, but Paull took the responses as a call to action. “I wasn’t that surprised at the feedback and certainly I knew there was always room for improvement.” The regional meetings that evolved as a new central focus for customer service meant the company had an opportunity to listen to thousands more customers. “It gave us an unprecedented quality of dialogue,” Paull added. “We studied some of the best examples of customer service at other companies like Ritz-Carlton, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Zappos for help.” Honeywell learned its customers’ biggest complaint was how difficult it was to buy the aerospace giant’s products. Buying engines was different from buying brakes or lighting or avionics. “When people called Honeywell, their complaints often fell on deaf ears because we were trying to do too many things for too many people all the time.” The journey over the past five years has been about how we improve our customer service, “such as how our field people behave,” Paull said. The company’s MyAersopace Web portal has turned out to be a “key manifestation of our customer feedback,” he explained. “We have tried to make it much easier to navigate as well as considerably more intuitive.” Honeywell now lets customers tell them what their priorities are and the company works to make it happen. Paull said that 70 percent of the company’s quotes now come though the portal. “A year ago, this kind of functionality didn’t even exist on the MyAerospace site.” Paull realized the need to “make it [the buying experience] real for customers. They wanted to know where and how they could participate more interactively. Today, customers can build a complete cockpit online, for example. “We can show them all the options and make this process very experiential.” Most of all though, Paull said, customers are giving Honeywell the ideas it needs to build future functionalities the company had never thought about. Aircraft disabled on the ground (AOG), for example, was one of the toughest hurdles for Paull and MyAerospace because pilots and maintenance folks wanted to speak to a live body when the boss was stuck in Hong Kong. Paull’s service staff have convinced customers in the past 18 months to try the online option, even for an AOG. “If you can demonstrate to the customer that even an online AOG solution works, you can drive adoption. They needed to know that an online AOG order rang all sorts of bells here. We can often have the part on the way anywhere within four hours, often less,” Paull said. Honeywell can give customers the waybill number right over the phone or in an e-mail as well.” They’ve learned to trust our online portal.”<o:p></o:p>