Already recognised for the excellence of its aftermarket service and support, Bombardier Business Aircraft is aiming to do even better, through expansion and digital transformation, as Jean-Christophe ‘JC’ Gallagher, Vice-President and General Manager Customer Experience, reveals
Bombardier Business Aircraft boasts one of the industries more complete aircraft line-ups, from the six-passenger, 2,000nm-range Learjet 75 Liberty, through the nine-passenger, 3,200nm Challenger 350 to the game-changing 19-passenger, 7,700nm Global 7500. Between them, they include engines from General Electric, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, and employ avionics components and suites from a variety of suppliers, generating a potentially complex support proposition even without considering customer choices in cabin finish and equipment.
There’s no doubt Bombardier builds a quality jet, but even the most reliable aircraft face issues from time to time, at which point it’s the speed and efficiency of response from the manufacturer’s customer support organisation that’s important. Considered among the best in the industry, Bombardier Business Aircraft’s customer support network falls under Jean-Christophe ‘JC’ Gallagher, Vice-President and General Manager Customer Experience.
“We’re committed to creating the best service experience possible for our customers,” he says, “and it’s all based on how quickly and efficiently we can meet – and exceed – their every need. It’s also about creating a comprehensive, state-of-the-art, highly responsive global customer service network that delivers on our service commitments.”
Given Bombardier’s reputation, Gallagher’s job ought perhaps to be simple, but it could be argued that when one is already at the top, the only place to go is down. Standing still is therefore not what his team is doing. He explains that not only is a major transformation and expansion under way, but a digital revolution is coming too.
“We’re in the midst of a significant global aftermarket transformation, enhancing our service footprint with the addition of new super service centres in Miami-Dade County, Florida and Singapore. We’re also adding new line maintenance stations [LMSs] in strategic locations around the world, and enhancing our Mobile Response Network, with new Mobile Response Trucks in Europe and the US, as well as adding a designated Mobile Response Aircraft – a Challenger 300 – in Frankfurt, Germany. Many more key projects still in the works will build on this infrastructure expansion. We’re also offering customers a growing inventory of products and services – including a comprehensive parts price-matching programme.
“Delivering on this commitment starts from the top, with all our Customer Experience leaders. I’m actively involved too, ensuring we’re taking the right steps to meet customer needs. An excellent example is through our unique Service Touchpoint survey, which allows us to track the visibility of a customer’s aircraft at our Service Centres, to see how we perform.
“When customers take their aircraft to our facilities, they receive a short touchpoint survey on their personal device, quickly highlighting how their service is going. By clicking on the survey interface on their smartphone they can evaluate the progress of their service procedure. If, on the off chance, there’s an issue, I’ll personally be informed within 24 hours.”
All of which is impressive, but Bombardier’s support network also relies on multiple authorised service centres, where it has less direct control over customer interaction. But Gallagher has every faith in the partner team. “We can’t provide customers with the best aftermarket experience alone. So, we work with key Authorized Service Facilities [ASFs] around the globe that consistently deliver on our ‘Bring Your Jet Home’ premise. Our extensive network includes 39 ASFs across 26 countries and we’re meticulous when selecting ASF partners. We look for all the facilities we need, full staffing and highly-trained customer service professionals to ensure we deliver outstanding, reliable, flexible, comprehensive service that exceeds customers’ needs and demands.”
Supporting the 7500
With its Global 7500, Bombardier introduced a high-performance jet capable of spanning half the world in a single mission. Such outstanding capability requires equally impressive support, right out of the box. Gallagher explains: “We’re executing on a complete entry-into-service [EIS] plan for training the Mobile Response Team [MRT] technicians on our trucks and aircraft, the line maintenance stations and our Business Aviation Services [BAS] facilities around the world.”
And should an operator require Global 7500 parts, Gallagher notes: “A comprehensive minimum equipment list [MMEL] is established during an aircraft’s certification, and parts/systems that are not deferrable are provisioned accordingly and placed at strategic global locations. This enables us to have parts on hand for all aircraft in all stages of development.”
The reassurance of a comprehensive support offering is an important factor in a customer’s buying decision and Gallagher says Bombardier’s sales directors routinely share the benefits of complementing aircraft ownership with Bombardier Service Programs designed to provide protection, predictability and confidence in having an aircraft maintained by OEM-trained technicians using OEM parts. Of the support and service options Bombardier offers, new aircraft customers most commonly purchase Smart Parts coverage, including interior and landing gear protection. Many complement Smart Parts with hourly programmes designed to cover scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. “We’re actively creating new products and services to enhance customers’ aftermarket service options further, with several new announcements coming soon,” he reveals.
“I’m very pleased to announce that the next step in our strategic aftermarket transformation is a digital revolution that will deliver products and services to take the customer service experience to new levels. We’re working hard to develop more innovative connectivity solutions, enhancements in cabin refurbishment, paint solutions and avionics to find even more efficient ways to better connect our aircraft, enhance sales and parts distribution processes, and improve operational efficiency.”
Such is the legacy of business aircraft development and production behind Bombardier’s current success that numerous Learjets and Challengers, built long before the company added the types as brands, remain in daily service. Can operators of these older aircraft really expect Bombardier to apply its service network to their needs? Gallagher believes so.
“We take immense pride in supporting our legacy customers, with dedicated programmes in place covering pre-owned aircraft up to 25 years in operation. These are specific to where the aircraft is in its life cycle, and provide peace of mind equal to a new aircraft programme. We also have a very comprehensive parts programme – with full price matching – featuring 24/7 online parts ordering via laptop, desktop or mobile device, real-time pricing, an easy checkout process, status and waybill tracking, and Smart Parts adjudication at checkout.
“Other benefits include a comprehensive satisfaction guarantee, two-year spare parts warranty and refundable labour and shipping charges if the Bombardier-recommended part does not solve the issue or is received defective.”
Gallagher describes an impressive level of global support, but EVA wanted to see how it might work against common issues that could easily ground an aircraft for days should prompt, expert intervention prove impossible. In the first instance, Gallagher was presented with an imaginary Global 6000, AOG at Dunedin Airport, New Zealand, with a cracked windshield following a bird strike. “Bombardier is always highly attentive to customer concerns and we respond immediately to situations like this. In this scenario, the customer would place a call with the Customer Response Centre [CRC], which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It would dispatch a Mobile Response Team from Singapore or the nearby ASF in Sydney, Australia, while the required parts were shipped to the site. Depending on the urgency, the CRC might also deploy an MRT aircraft to further expedite parts and/or technicians to accelerate the aircraft’s return to service. We also have six regional parts depots around the world, including one in Sydney, which would be more than capable of helping this Global 6000 customer.”
That’s the Global taken care of… What about something less straightforward? An imaginary Challenger 601 lands at Aberdeen Airport, Scotland, after the crew noticed a vibration in flight. Who do they call? How will Bombardier help? Can they expect the same level of service as the Global 6000 crew at Dunedin?
“We’re committed to ensuring customers receive the best service possible across all our platforms. In this scenario, the customer places a call to the CRC in Montreal, where we have all the expertise necessary – Customer Liaison Pilots [CLPs], engineering, technical representatives, part services and AOG coordination – to work closely with them on defining a solution. The Customer Experience Team will then plan to address the issue in accordance with the customer’s requirements. Bombardier has a parts distribution hub in Frankfurt, ready to serve the needs of its European customers.”
Bring Your Jet Home
Bombardier has more than 100 locations around the world ready to support its customers, helping them bring their jet home in case of an issue. Among them are nine service centres, eight line maintenance stations and 30 Mobile Response Team vehicles, equipped to support the Learjet, Challenger and Global models. The OEM also operates a pair of dedicated customer support aircraft, a Learjet 45 based in Chicago and a Challenger 300 aircraft stationed in Frankfurt.
Customers also have access to 39 ASFs, while all Bombardier’s customer service entities are connected to its 24/7 CRC and Customer Support Team. Altogether, it draws upon the expertise of approximately 1,000 technicians, ready to provide service anytime, anywhere.
Yet Bombardier remains determined to expand its offer. Gallagher notes: “To better serve our customers and encourage them to ‘Bring Your Jet Home’, we are undergoing a major transformation that will see us add important customer service facilities, products and services over the coming months and years.” It looks a lot like excellence done better.