Textron Aviation SVP Customer Service Kriya Shortt explains Textron’s high-tech support for the broadest portfolio of business aircraft products in the market place
Last February, Textron Aviation promoted Kriya Shortt from Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing to SVP Customer Service. She heads an evolving customer service offering that’s driving towards ever greater technology exploitation. One year on, Shortt talked to EVA about the role and Textron Aviation’s customer service product.
You’ve mostly worked in sales, including a spell as a Cessna area sales representative, yet just a decade on from joining Textron you’re SVP Customer Services. What’s been your motivation and how are sales and customer service related?
While I’ve spent a large part of my career with Textron Aviation in sales – most recently leading the global sales team – I originally joined the company in the customer service department. In both sales and service, I’ve had the opportunity to stand alongside our customers as they progress through ownership. Ultimately, whether in sales or service, it’s about helping our customers succeed in aircraft ownership and finding them the best solution to suit their needs. When a customer purchases a Textron Aviation product, they join a family. And as part of that family we build relationships with our customers that transcend the sale or maintenance event.
Textron Aviation has a broad product range, from Skyhawk to Hemisphere. Do you consider every Skyhawk customer a potential future buyer of a larger Textron Aviation product?
It’s a privilege to represent and support the broadest and most diverse product portfolio in the industry. We have an equally diverse customer base, but every customer has the same expectation of maximised operational availability, regardless of product or mission. To meet that expectation, it’s essential that we remain astute and responsive to all our customers.
Textron Aviation has established a global support network designed to optimise operational availability: including the largest factory-owned service centre network, complemented by a system of flexible solutions, among them mobile and line maintenance stations, as well as 1CALL, our AOG response team.
And we continue to innovate, remaining agile so that our service and support offerings evolve as the needs of our customers evolve.
How does technology enable Textron Aviation to maintain its high customer service levels?
Textron Aviation is continuously innovating and incorporating the latest available technology on our aircraft, including the AReS [Aircraft Recording System] and LinxUs intelligent diagnostic systems. These enable us to collect aircraft data in real time so that we can diagnose and solve for maintenance events, often before the aircraft lands.
Technology also offers us opportunities to deliver simplified and more accessible customer service and support. Most recently, we’ve launched several new technical service platforms to simplify and improve accessibility to maintenance and support. These include the Customer Portal, 1View technical publications portal and eCommerce website.
And just as technology is critical to customer support, so we are leveraging technology to ensure our team is the best trained and equipped in the industry.
What’s the customer service process post-delivery? I imagine you speak to new customers frequently, but what about in the longer term?
A diverse product portfolio is critical to meeting our customers’ needs, but support and service have a profound impact on the ownership experience beyond delivery. That’s why our sales and service teams work shoulder-to-shoulder throughout the delivery process, ensuring customers experience a seamless transition from delivery into ownership and support.
We’re also mindful that many customers join the Textron Aviation family as second or third owners of an aircraft. So, we work to develop those relationships and familiarise them with the robust support that comes with owning a Textron Aviation product, just as if they purchased new.
Whether our customer takes delivery of a new production aircraft or a pre-owned aircraft, therefore, our goal is the same: ensure they are equipped with the right tools for a successful ownership experience.
What are the high points in your job, the experiences that make it all worthwhile? And what about the lows?
Building long-lasting relationships inside the organisation and with our customers is the high point. I view my role and that of my team as ultimately to help our customers succeed. I also really enjoy a challenge and solving problems, so when we as a team succeed in helping a customer overcome an obstacle, that’s immensely fulfilling.
On the flip side, it’s always disappointing when we fall short of meeting our customers’ expectations. But we learn from the experience and use it to help us become better at what we do. It’s important that we acknowledge those misses and confront them, so we can improve for the benefit of both the customer and the team.
Where does Customer Service go next? How do you keep up to speed with what your customers need?
I’m thrilled and excited about where Textron Aviation customer service is going. With a multitude of aircraft to support in the field, we’re an ever-evolving, agile team. We have made great strides in the last several years with support enhancements, including 1CALL, our eCommerce website and Customer Portal, just to name a few. But, we never finish improving. We remain focused on developing flexible and innovative solutions that maximise operational availability for our customers.
Through Customer Advisory Boards, we work directly with our customers to develop and test these new offerings. Working hand-in-hand with customers, we ultimately provide meaningful solutions that deliver real value for them. And, because they were involved in creating these enhancements, they are further invested in the success of Textron Aviation, just as we are invested in theirs