Get a fresh perspective from an Infare Insider. This month, we speak to Infare’s User Experience Designer Elina Talashka about the best way to think about the Infare customer journey: from better understanding customer needs to the importance of excellent user experience and the business impact it has for our customers when using Infare solutions on a daily basis.
How do you define the customer journey?
The customer journey can be defined as their entire relationship with Infare: from realising the importance of accurate insights in understanding their market, to successfully implementing new pricing strategies. Although my work is concentrated primarily on Pharos, I believe that our understanding of the customer journey cannot be confined to just one product. Pharos is just one of many interfaces that make up the Infare infrastructure, with each individual component having an impact on the customer journey as a whole.
Pharos is a front-facing application that users interact with on a daily basis, entirely dependent on the airfare data and systems that support it on the backend. Every single one of our customers’ interactions with Infare contributes to their overall experience with us as a company. As a result, it is crucial this experience is a positive one, by supporting our customers and responding to their requests in a polite and timely manner.
What made you apply for a role at Infare?
What really stood out to me was the company’s recognition of the need for a defined customer experience research strategy. Research is not just the job of the UX Designer – the commercial, customer support, sales and development departments all play a role in the customer research and decision-making process.
I was also impressed by the expertise in revenue management – many employees were working at airlines prior to their time at Infare or had a lot of experience in airfare data analysis as a result of spending many years in the travel industry. This is relatively unusual for big data and software companies, which mostly just factor in their tech ability.
How do you gather insights on customer experience at Infare?
Generally, we collect quantitative data on application usage, identify any trends in the data, and devise available technological solutions to any issues. Most importantly though, we try to gather as much direct, qualitative feedback from users as possible. Interviews and focus groups are the best methods for obtaining this type of information. Observing our users as they interact with the platform and listening to their comments is the best way to ensure the product meets their needs.
Often, users find it difficult to explain exactly what it is they’re asking for. And for this reason, it is important to determine the true meaning of their request. As a UX Specialist, I know how important it is to ask as many questions as possible – even if they seem obvious to you! As a rule, you shouldn’t assume what customers are thinking: always ask them if you can.
What is your experience interacting with Infare customers?
I recently had the exciting opportunity to visit the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. Infare involves employees of all levels in customer interactions, to increase our understanding of their particular goals and pain points. Attending events and meeting customers is invaluable in allowing us to dive deeper into our customers’ needs, both with us and in the issues they face at work on a daily basis. This helps us to gain an understanding of the real needs of customers and helps us devise new potential directions for our products. My experience with the ATM has shown me just how different customers can be when they’re in an informal environment – on the whole, they are far more relaxed and open to giving feedback. Many were more than willing to give their thoughts and insights on Pharos and any other tools they use.
You have been working on Infare’s key product – Pharos. Can you share with us what the Pharos customer journey looks like? What do you find unique about it?
Even the most beautiful platform doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t bring value to the user. When we talk about the Pharos user experience, we’re talking about pure functionality. Infare has almost two decades of industry knowledge that has been collected over many years from our product portfolio. We are the leading company in the world in terms of airfare data and airline revenue management knowledge. We apply this expertise to the overall customer journey, always adapting to incorporate any new findings.
User experience in Pharos is all about data – constantly filtering and searching, making decisions and changing the search parameters. Pharos is a tool that supports decision-making processes in revenue management, and 90% of the time customers are looking at the charts and tables without having to complete any actions. This is a unique characteristic of our product – you can’t just rely on numbers and usage statistics. Our goal is to automate repetitive actions, to make time-consuming processes faster and complex workflows simpler. The ability to react quickly in a dynamic market and make important decisions with less effort is what makes our customers successful.