British Airways will use its new 'Know Me' program to google customers before they fly. The primary aim is to find images of passengers so that staff can recognise their faces on arrival and offer a more personalised customer service.
The program is targeted predominantly at 'high-profile travellers' such as chief executives of financial companies according to Jo Boswell, BA's head of revenue and customer analysis. However, any British Airways passenger could be googled as the scheme aims to personally greet 4,500 customers a day by the end of 2012. Flyers should expect searches to be made prior to the flight and for search results such as images and complaint history to be forwarded to BA customer service agents, senior cabin crew and check-in staff via iPads.
The scheme promises passengers a more proactive service, especially if you have had problems with airlines in the past. Currently customers are identified at check-in, and their credentials are subsequently sent to the cabin crew on the aircraft. 'Know Me' is intended to improve the efficiency of this procedure and to help staff deal with complaints. Jo Boswell declared that 'solving problems at the point of failure is a lot more powerful than waiting until after the event.'
Nevertheless, a number of complaints have been raised by privacy groups arguing that it is a breach of travellers' privacy and that customers' private information should only be accessed when needed. BA has responded promising travellers that: 'We are entirely compliant with the UK Data Protection Act and would never breach that.'
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