THE BUYER - Karen Yates
Karen Yates, a freelance journalist, continues the series in which
Campaign staff and friends check out a product or service against the
promise of its marketing. Having read Mairi Clark’s experience of
travelling to Scotland via Virgin Rail (Campaign, 25 September), she
decides to put Go through its paces.
I thought nothing could make me return to Essex. Until, that is, I
talked to Sharon.
Her name’s not really Sharon, of course, but she sounded just like the
one in Birds of a Feather and was very friendly when I spoke to her.
However, let me start at the beginning.
I called Go, oddly enough, after seeing a full-page ad in the Financial
Times for its rival, EasyJet, which reminded me I needed to book a
return flight to Edinburgh.
At around #90, EasyJet was pricier than I’d hoped and the timings
weren’t right, so I decided to check out Go. I knew about British
Airways’ no-frills carrier from its ads on the tube and got its number
from directory enquiries.
Sadly, my call went straight into a multiple choice phone-answering
system, and anyone who’s been trapped in BA’s Air Miles system will know
how irritating they can be.
But all was well. I only had to make one decision before Sharon came on.
From the start she was like a pal helping me plan my trip as I plunged
through the times and dates - and the price was good at #70.
Then came the bad news: Go flies out of Stansted. My heart sank. Years
of therapy have not erased my Essex childhood and all subsequent years
have been an exercise in avoiding the place. But Sharon was at hand.
Being a mind-reader - or perhaps primed by a good telesales script - she
came to the rescue. ’Stansted is ever so much nearer than you think,’
She explained that there is a fast train service from Liverpool Street
with discounted fares for Go passengers. I was persuaded.
Two days later a letter, which also served as a ticket, dropped through
my letterbox. The flights went well and Sharon was right. I might just
THE SELLER - David Magliano
Go is a low-cost airline launched earlier this year by British Airways
to counter growing competition from budget airline companies such as
Ryanair, EasyJet and Virgin Express. David Magliano is the sales and
marketing director and was previously a partner at the advertising
agency, HHCL & Partners.
The moment a potential customer rings the Go call centre they experience
the values Go stands for. Yes, the first voice is part of an automated
service that asks whether you plan to buy a seat, a gift voucher or have
a general enquiry, but it’s a service that’s simple and direct. It’s
designed so you can speak to the right person straight away.
Our call centre operators are recruited because they have great people
skills. We can teach them good sales skills. When customers call Go they
expect a good deal but they also expect a high level of quality. As the
first point of contact with the airline, it’s vital the call centre
service is first rate. Every week I receive letters from customers
letting me know how helpful they found their operator.
I think our call centre is the best in the business. The staff find Go a
fun product to sell and their enthusiasm comes through on every call;
they genuinely want to help people. It also helps that they’re on site
at Stansted. When they tell people that the check-in desk is the first
thing they’ll see when leaving the Skytrain escalator, they know it’s
the truth as they’ve seen it themselves.
And they’re clearly telling others how much they enjoy their work. Since
running our first ads for staff, we have never had to advertise
Our recruitment comes now from people writing to us - people who want to
join our team.
Go customers are intelligent people. They appreciate a service that’s
modern and stylish - much like the architecture they’ll see the moment
they step into the terminal at Stansted. It’s a winning combination that
is capturing the mood of the moment.