Building and growing digital customer loyalty services for SAS


Scandinavian Airlines

Columbia Road has enforced the growth mindset while producing excellent results. Columbia Road’s deep expertise in digital sales and data-driven growth have been crucial for the performance of our digital services. They have helped us find new opportunities to improve our customers’ online journeys as well as implement efficient, cross-functional, growth-oriented ways-of-working to keep everything running efficiently in the long run. Maria Andersson, Head of Digital Development, Customer Service and Loyalty Solutions, Scandinavian Airlines

Key objectives

SAS was looking for a way to respond to customers’ needs at a faster pace, whilst also delivering stable and flexible solutions. They had approached digital service company Futurice to start implementing more agile ways of working and modernise their tech architecture and strategy.

As part of the new cross-functional team, Columbia Road was brought in to implement a growth mindset to help optimise SAS’s new digital services. By bringing in the right mix of competencies Columbia Road set out to optimise SAS’s business results from the new services by utilising a data-driven approach to new service development. 

Together, the multi vendor, cross-functional team has has improved multiple services to date, and continues to build and optimise new services and features for SAS’s customers. Two highlights include:

Missing points

A service created for customers to claim membership points from their flights post travel, in the case the points were not automatically collected when initially booking the flight.

The primary objective with enhancing this service was to increase usability, making it easier for the customers to claim their points and get immediate feedback. Optimising it so that the service in itself registers all the customer’s potential requests and issues, lessening the pressure on customer service.

The service also needed to be updated to be compliant with the European Accessibility Act, making it accessible and user friendly to everyone.

Give away membership

A service where loyal members can donate a membership to a friend or family member. An already existing and popular service within the SAS EuroBonus program, but with usability issues that therefore generated a lot of calls to Customer Service.

The key objective for improving this service was to increase engagement even further and decrease the customer centre calls.

Our approach

In order to ensure the efficiency of new services built at SAS, Columbia Road has continuously challenged the technology stack, platforms and ways of working. New technologies have been introduced on an ongoing basis in response to varying business needs and a new DevOps platform with best practices has been built to enable a single cross-functional team to effectively create new services and operate them reliably. 

To enable a growth mindset in the team, software development, analytics, content creation, and marketing technology experts were brought in. Having all the skills needed for growth within one team and facilitating collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, allowed Columbia Road to implement, experiment and improve the services autonomously based on user tests, customer feedback and usage data. 

To facilitate an overarching insight into the service development, user tracking for the services in Google Analytics was customised and visualised together with transactional data using dashboards that were accessible for the whole team. This allowed other teams and stakeholders at SAS to easily follow the KPIs. A/B testing capabilities were built and tests are running on an ongoing basis.


The introduction of a new DevOps platform and cross-functional team set up allows faster, more reliable and data-driven development of new services and offerings. Making the tracking and data visible for all stakeholders enable a greater understanding of the work done throughout the entire organisation. 

In order to ensure efficient ways of working moving forward, Columbia Road is continuously evaluating the work processes implemented - testing, optimising and advancing the new services.

Missing points

This service launched at the end of February 2020. The new, optimised service is expected to:

  • Make the service run smoother and reduce average session time per user by 30%.
  • Eliminate the need for the customer to view additional informational pages during their sessions to complete the service.
  • Reduce customer centre calls coming from the Missing points service by 30%.
Give away membership

Optimising usability of this service based on user tracking and data created a new, stable, smoothly running service for the customers. With an easy-to-use service the related customer centre calls declined by over 50% within the first month after launch. Making it fully accessible according to the European Accessibility Act also allowed us to launch it in countries where the older, non-compliant version was previously barred.

About Scandinavian Airlines

Scandinavian Airlines, usually known as SAS, is the flag carrier of Scandinavia. The airline is the eighth largest airline in Europe and member of Star Alliance, the first truly global airline alliance.

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