How to Create Magical Encounters with Your Customers | A Q&A with Linda Moir

11 March 2020

What does it take to win 'Airline of the Year', or deliver the most oustanding front of house for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in history?

We caught up with customer service extraordinaire Linda Moir to discuss some of her incredible successes including the transformation of BA, Making Flying Fun with Virgin Atlantic and creating front of house history at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

She even shared some of her top tips for business who are trying to create magical encounters with their customers and employees!

During your time with British Airways they underwent some significant changes. What were some of these changes, and how did you best manage the situation?

I learnt a huge amount from my time at British Airways. It's where I started my leadership journey so I am forever grateful for the opportunity at a time when not many women were being given that chance. The main change that BA was going through was moving from being operationally focused to customer focused. At the same time building a profitable airline. I learnt that you can't manage change unilaterally without taking people with you. It just doesn't work. I believe I am naturally collaborative so I am always interested in listening to ideas that come from 'real people' in the business, that's the key to leading people through change.

Sir Richard Branson then tasked you with the challenge to ‘Make Flying Fun’ as the Director of In-flight Services. What did you implement in order to achieve the highest customer satisfaction scores in the airline’s history?

I commissioned some simple customer research to understand what customers were saying about Virgin's on board service. From the research it was clear that we were inconsistent. So we introduced our service strategy called 'Brilliant Basics Magic Touches' This meant we had to deliver the basics of our service (such as cleanliness) not just well but brilliantly every time. Then we could give the crew the freedom to deliver those signature, human magic touches that made Virgin's service so iconic. The result of this was that we won ‘Airline of the Year’ that year and the scores for how proud our Crew felt also went up.

Then the London 2012 Olympic Games rolled around, what was it like being a part of this team?

It was an amazing job! I am a Londoner who loves sport, so what could be a better fit for me. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to join the team so I saw the organisation grow to being the biggest peacetime deployment of people the country had ever seen!

What were the challenges you faced during the implementation of the 3-year program to redeem the UK’s tarnished reputation?

There were lots of challenges, the press weren’t all supportive of the Games, the budgets were limited and we were operating under a significant threat level. It had been 64 years since the last Games had been held in the UK and they were the ‘Austerity Games’ immediately after the war, so the world had moved on a bit!

That’s where our amazing volunteer Games makers came in – we wanted to tap into the diversity, warmth, friendliness and humour or the British people to host our Games in a way that had never been seen before.

What are some of your top tips that business can implement in order to create magical encounters?

Here are my top three:

  1. Treat your people like you would treat your customers.
  2. Listen to your people – they know where the best ‘low cost high value’ ideas are to delight customers.
  3. Invest in your front line leaders – how they behave sets the tone for the service your customers receive.

In a time where transactions are becoming more and more automated with the incredible technological advancements, what can businesses do to maintain the human element in customer service?

Technology has transformed the customer experience. As consumers we demand faster and simpler transactions but even though our interaction with a brand might be digital we want our ‘customer experience’ to be excellent. Research has shown that it only takes one poor experience for customers to try another service provider – so no second chances. Social Media and Apps are all designed by people and when something goes wrong we want a real person to sort it out. So the human element is still the most important part of a brand’s make up.

If there was one message that you would want an audience to take away from you keynote, what would it be?

You can’t be something on the outside that you don’t mirror inside the organisation.

Finally, Linda, what’s next for you?

Lots more speaking and consulting on Customer and Employee Experience. I have a series of Leadership Workshops coming up which are also very exciting. I love learning and I always learn something from the people I work with.

Thank you for catching up with us Linda, we look forward to hearing about all of the wonderful lessons you impart on your audiences!

For further information or to book Linda Moir, call us on   or email .

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