Hermann Butzon has worked for SITA Global Services (SGS), our worldwide customer service and operations organization, at Frankfurt airport for 30 years. We caught up with Hermann to learn more about SGS and look behind the scenes of a Customer Success Manager at one of Europe’s biggest airports.
In 30 years of working at Frankfurt Airport, I’ve experienced a lot. SGS oversees the delivery and management of complex IT systems across the airport, and I’ve held roles throughout my career that have spanned project implementation, troubleshooting, and administration. In my most recent position, Customer Success Manager, I’m responsible for delivering SITA’s promises, ensuring the customer receives the most value from their investment. I support all the changes, expansions, and upgrades, acting as a trusted advisor on current systems and any future requirements.
We’re trained to cope with last-minute things. When asked the question on what a typical day in the life of a Customer Success Manager looks like, the answer is simple: there isn’t one. Pre-COVID-19 Frankfurt processed 70 million passengers with 512,000 in-and outbound flights (2019 figures). As SITA is responsible for large parts of the infrastructure, including the check-in counters and gates, you start to understand the size of operations. Acting as the escalation SPOC for the customer, I have an intimate understanding of their needs, providing suggestions that help the airport improve the day-to-day service operations, reducing operational risk, and optimizing operational costs.
Our new Airport Service Agents provide our customers with a single, professional, and efficient interface for all their support requests. This local operations team consists of various air transport industry experts who have an end-to-end capability to support our customers. They receive calls from around the airport during their floorwalking tasks and take ownership of each issue until they are resolved. Whether providing consumables to SITA’s 90 kiosks, which have 39 airlines running applications on them, to ensuring that the Service Gateway inventory is correct, they have the expertise to help the customer on the spot. I have great respect for our teams when I think about the criticality of the systems they support — they keep operations at airports running and planes flying.
We continue to evolve our technology, innovating to enhance the passenger experience. SITA started with Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) at Frankfurt in 1985, with 180 computer terminals and connected printers at launch. Since then, we have worked with the CUTE Local User Board (CLUB) and the airport authority on system configuration. During COVID-19, we successfully upgraded SITA CUTE while operating under the pandemic's challenging conditions. The result, SITA Flex, our updated common-use platform, includes approximately 1,100 active workstations and 6,000 print and read devices. Readying the airport for the future, SITA has deployed 87 biometric-enabled TS6 kiosks, the largest implementation in Europe. Working in concert with SITA Flex, this new technology offers a unified user experience across multiple airlines. I'm proud to support this evolution.
Adapting to COVID-19 and guiding customers through the recovery. The response to COVID-19 demanded rapid adaptation to the industry's new operating environment, delivering greater efficiencies and service levels for our customers. During these difficult times for the industry, we've combined our experience and expertise to guide our customers through the recovery, helping them deliver a safer and near walk-through touchless airport experience while maximizing their assets and minimizing costs. In the years to come, SGS will continue to transform the way SITA delivers services while enhancing its customer services operations to increase efficiency, improve productivity, and maintain competitive costs.
From explaining technical processes to supporting my colleagues, I love a lot about my role in SGS. There's so much variety in my working week, both in the scope of projects and tasks I routinely do. While I find it impossible to sum up a career spanning three decades, one thing has remained constant over those years: I have always kept system stability and smooth customer operations top of mind. Whether optimizing technical setups at the airport to improve daily operations or advising on design to take the airport into the future, I take great pride in the impact SGS makes in enhancing the passenger experience throughout the airport.
SITA Global Services (SGS) is a single worldwide customer service and operations organization providing managed services for the entire portfolio. Present in 122 countries, SGS supports more than 3200 customers around the clock.
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