Julian Peterson

Singapore Airlines - it happens to the best of us - 4 lessons

Singapore Airlines recently launched a new version of its site but 2 weeks+ later the Australian phone contact number is cautioning "we are experiencing teething problems with our new site". There are features that don't work, broken links and other problems - unusual for a company like Singapore Airlines who in my mind are the best airline by far.

Here are some of the problems I found (and some of the lessons we can all learn) whilst trying to book a ticket on Singapore Airlines this week - http://www.singaporeair.com


Let's hope it's improved soon – their seats and screens are bigger, they have a hundred channels of pauseable video with whole seasons of TV shows instead of just one episode like other airlines, better staff and more hot towels than anyone else.


The lesson to the rest of us is: it obviously happens to the best - be bold with your new launches but de-bug and learn quickly from your mistakes.


Here are some lessons to learn from a rushed launch.


1) Before launching a new site, you must test in all major browsers.


Using a Mac with Safari – Manage my booking does not work - It's difficult to find "Manage my booking" but when pressed it does not return any booking - staying on the same page and does not work. Before launching a new site, you must test in all major browsers or you will suffer damage to your brand perception. People see your website as an extension of your real world service


People see your website as an extension of your real world service.


2) Don't force users to repeat actions they don't need to.


Trying different flight options – site forgets dates and defaults back to today - When trying out different options for a flight, the site continually forgets the dates and these have to be re-entered when they shouldn't be. Sometimes the Stopover function doesn't seem to load the options.


The process from start to finish must be fast and barrier-less.


3) Broken links are inexcusable and are not very difficult to test for.


Australian Krisflyer (frequent flyer) 'Feedback and enquiries' link does not work. If you go to contact us, chose Australia and Sydney and then press Krisflyer - Feedback and enquiries - this link is broken, takes you to an error page and then defaults to the home page.


4) Be careful how you use social media sharing buttons


Unusual for a company like Singapore Airlines to use AddThis. I like the 'AddThis' share button that they've used on the site but it's unusual to see a company like SQ use it as AddThis has the following term in its T&Cs which confirms that they are collecting data on users in return for providing the share button for free - this could allow them, for example, to re-target ads by another airline.


http://www.addthis.com/privacy says:

"We do help advertisers reach large groups of people that express similar interests and behaviors.

We believe more relevant advertising provides a better Internet experience. This is also how we support our business with a service that is free to you. For example, we could help an advertiser reach people who are interested in technology. In some cases, this may involve your visitors receiving a "cookie" from an NAI-approved advertising partner. They can manage their industry-wide advertising preferences at AboutAds.info. "


Further reading on Singapore Airlines new site:

Computerworld - Singapore Airlines customers vent over website crash


Posted by Julian Peterson, 14 July 2011

Apology by Singapore Airlines issued today: 14 July 2011

On behalf of Singapore Airlines, I would like to offer our sincere apology for the inconvenience caused as a result of issues that arose from the launch of our new website on 22 May 2011.

As with all new initiatives that we undertake, the intention behind the website revamp was to improve on our customersâ experience with us. I am truly sorry that the new website, with its technical problems, has instead caused much aggravation for many of our customers. We make no excuses for our failure to deliver an acceptable level of online service.

We have committed full resources to resolving the website problems and have made significant progress in rectifying many of the defects. We will continue to relentlessly pursue all other outstanding issues. An in-depth investigation as to how the issues that arose went undetected is well underway, and we are treating this with utmost importance.

At Singapore Airlines, we strive to put our customers at the centre of everything we do. I am well aware that there is a wide range of travel options to choose from, and thus, am grateful that many of you have continued to support us. We do not take this for granted.

Thank you for your continued patience during this period. I know that you have high expectations of us, and we failed to meet those expectations. On behalf of the Company, I offer our unreserved apology, and pledge to win back your confidence.

Yours sincerely,

Goh Choon Phong
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore Airlines

Posted by Julian Peterson, 26 July 2011

Further calamity for Singapore Airlines new website: http://www.singaporeair.com

A Google search for Singapore Airlines on 26 July 2011 from Australia, not logged in to Google, shows that their website appears to have been removed from Google Search results.


How much worse can it get? With Qantas running Adwords campaigns for "Singapore" - this must be affecting sales.

Posted by Julian Peterson, 1 August 2011

Singapore Airlines now sending emails to passengers using text / SMS speak - terrible look for a business airline:

Dear Sir/Madam, Sorry SQ212 SYD-SIN SYD SINh is resched to 13-Dec 09:30-SQ212 SYD SINh. We'll call u on yr connections. To speak to us earlier, pls call SIA office. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. Thank you


Julian Peterson dianomi Julian Peterson
Company: dianomi
Position: Sales & Marketing Director APAC
Digital, marketing and publishing Oversaw the launch of Time Out Singapore's website in 2007/08, growth in Time Out Sydney's site in 2009/10, Time Out Sydney s iPhone app and launch of Time Out Melbourne s website in 2010 & new Time Out Sydney site in 2011 Read Julian's full bio

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