Good customer service said to aid Malaysia Airlines’ Q4 results

Malaysia Airlines Berhad said it "reported a strong result" for Q4 2016 due to “accelerated” bookings, a focus on customer service, along with  premium business traveller and all-inclusive economy fares.

In a quote to The Star, Peter Bellew, CEO of MAS said the airline finished 49% ahead of ts budgeted loss for the year 2016 and had identified a further RM400mill of cost reductions in 2017. He added last quarter saw a good performance in a challenging environment as staff worked hard to improve customer service which is reflected in increased bookings. He added at the core of the brand is "The Golden Rule - treat customers as you would wish to be treated yourself”.

He added "The Golden Rule" will be supported by simpler customer service policies and a large investment in training in 2017.

Last year, during the first half, MAS focused on reducing cost and improving customer experience. The second half of 2016 saw a hard push on revenue generation with more aggressive sales and marketing initiatives.  In a statement, MAB added customer satisfaction and experience are key for the future growth of the airline and as such, Malaysia Airlines has continued investing in aircraft, product, service and technology as a core principle of its transformation programme.

Customer satisfaction was up 7 percentage points compared to the corresponding quarter a year ago, and reached an all-time record in October 2016.  Steady improvements continued with better food and beverage.

For a more seamless and efficient check in process the airline introduced the Self Print Baggage Tag for all economy class passengers out of KLIA. Moving forward the Group hopes to embark on more self service functions in order to streamline the check in experience further.

Meanwhile it is also eyeing the China market as the expansion plans to China successfully began in Q4 2016 with the launch of flights to Haikou.  Sales for Nanjing, Wuhan and Fuzhou also started in Q1 2017 with the first flight expected to commence in June 2017. The quarter also saw a service upgrade, for the morning Kuala Lumpur-Hong Kong sector, with the Airbus 330 replacing the Boeing 737.

2017 will see work commence on the upgrading of Malaysia Airlines’ lounges in KLIA and London Heathrow airport.

Looking forward, the Group remains cautious in the outlook for 2017, where the weaker ringgit to the USD, overcapacity, and intense competition are expected to be the dominant themes for the year.

"Across the Group we expect to carry over 17 million customers in 2017 and we see an opportunity to grow our position as a five star full service airline into 2018 with confidence," the statement read.

Most recently, Malaysia Airlines appointed Schrene Goh Miow Ying as head of marketing. She brings more than 15 years of experience in regional marketing and digital experience. Goh was most recently the head of marketing, communications, brand and digital for U Mobile for over a year, where she was oversaw the digital engagement and overall direction of the department.