THE BUYER - Karen Yates

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 said.

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

Go again.

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.

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