France Takes to the Skies: Interview with Air France

ISSUE #68 – Nicolas Ricard (pictured below), Country Manager, Air France-KLM Singapore talks tech, new digital initiatives, and what the Air France experience is about.



What are the challenges today in improving the consumer experience?

Air France wants to be a world leader in brand value and market trends and be the most customer intimate, innovative and efficient European network carrier. To achieve this we need to be innovative, creative and roll out new technologies to enhance the customer experience which extends far beyond the journey itself. Improving the customer experience to create a memorable journey for everyone is key.

Thanks to digital, we know what customers like and don’t like, and what they consider important. We need to engage customers with relevant and personalised experiences. The challenge is choosing the right technology at the right time.

The Air France Digital Factory was launched in November 2018. This is where new digital solutions are developed for Air France to make travelling simpler, more innovative and more exclusive to make customers feel welcome at all times.

The Air France Digital Factory


What role does technology play in improving consumer experience for Air France?

Air France has the ambition to offer travellers a high-end, top quality travel experience for a truly exceptional moment in the air. From the start to the end of the journey we want to be a company that is easy to do business and we want to be where our customers are. We build presence on existing social media platforms to communicate with customers and provide automated services such as flight updates, check-in notification, boarding passes.

And conversational chatbots, like ‘Louis’ can reply in real time about customer baggage issues and in case of flight disruptions we are now able to help our customers at the airport through virtual assistants. Another chatbot ‘Lucie’ is able to chat with customers 24/7 on Facebook Messenger. Lucie can help put together their ideal trip based on the customer preferences. Technology obviously enables us to personalise each journey.

Louis the chatbot

But the customer experience extends beyond digital. Our customers also need real experiences. For example, we need to keep investing in quality airport business class lounges to keep providing unique experiences where customers can relax or work. Last year we unveiled our brand new, ‘French art de vivre’ lounge at Paris-CDG airport. The new lounge features many different spaces, including a breath taking centre piece bar called ‘Le Balcon’ (above) where bespoke cocktails are served created by head bartender of the Hotel Lancaster in Paris. There is a unique ‘Gourmet table’ dining area with an open kitchen where a chef prepares dishes and a wellness area with a Clarins Spa, relaxation areas and even a detox bar serving teas and detox drinks.

Le Balcon, French art de vivre lounge at Paris CDG Airport. Photo credits: Felipe Ribon


Do tell us, what defines the Air France customer experience?

Air France today still is the flagship of France, we combine innovation and style. Our customers have different reasons for travelling, leisure travellers going on holiday, when taking a flight is an exceptional occasion. Customers travelling for business or traveling in our La Première and Business cabins expect an exclusive experience with luxurious cabins, comfortable seats and beds and excellent French gastronomy (below).

Anne-Sophie Pic x Air France

But everyone expects a seamless, easy and comfortable journey, which we want to make memorable at each customer touchpoint so we can create long-term relationships and loyalty.


See also: Air France’s exclusive partnership with Michelin-starred chef Julien Royer on flights from Singapore to Paris



See also: Discover French shopping, dining & lifestyle in Singapore on So Chic






Interview with Nicolas Ricard, Country Manager, Air France-KLM Singapore

Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #1 2019 “The Consumer Journey Issue