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What can the satellite industry take from the mobile device space?

This post was written by: John Clifton

Joining us on episode 45 of The Tech That Connects Us is John Kinney VP of Quality Assurance with Intelsat. John joined Laurie Scott and Tom Wilding to talk about all thing’s connectivity, aircraft connectivity, business optimisation, quality and customer service. 

 John has an impressive background with over 20 years at Motorola and beyond, having worked at Rockwell Automation and Blackberry, so we wanted to find out what can the satellite industry learn from the mobile device space? Here’s what John has to say. 

“There are certainly some parallels between the two industries. They’re very similar actually, we’re just sending bits and bytes over different media. 

The main thing we can learn from the cellular industry is to focus on the customer experience. Everything starts with the customer. 

How does the customer want to use it? 

What issues does the customer currently have? 

Once we know what the customer wants and what issues we’re trying to solve for them we can work our way back through the network and supply chain, but we need to stay focused on the customer experience. 

As you know I worked for Motorola for a long time, and then went on to Blackberry and so I had a front-row seat watching Apple evolve. I remember the launch of the original iPhone in 2007. They came out with it and when it first launched the iPhone wasn’t very reliable, in fact, it was the worst-performing phone from a reliability perspective. The phone itself was fantastic from an applications point of view and it was neat and the industry was of course very curious, but it just wasn’t reliable. 

This is where Apple changed the rules to the game, this is where their focus went to customer experience. They knew when it launched that it wasn’t going to be the best, but the end isn’t the beginning. We need to remember the end, and Apple and the iPhone went from the worst to the best in two years from a reliability perspective. How did they do that? By focusing on customer experience, they did it by just learning, learning and learning some more. 

This is where they changed the rules in the industry. It was always the case that the network carrier would own the customer experience, so if you had a problem with your phone, you’d have to take it back to AT&T, Sprint or Verizon who would then send it back to the OEM. You’d have a middle person, within the loop. But Apple said no, we don’t want that middle person, everything went directly back to Apple, they bypassed AT&T who had an exclusive deal on the original iPhone. They did that intentionally, they wanted to learn and they didn’t want that learning to be filtered through the carrier, and they wanted to figure out what was going on fast and fix it fast. Which is what they did. 

 So, I learnt a lot from Apple just dominating from a customer experience point of view, they were a formidable opponent. 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

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