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Head of Customer Channels

  • Closing Date  for Applicants - 07 May 2017
  • Permanent Role
  • Band B

Heathrow is the UK's premier international airport and one of the world’s major hub airports, flying people for business, tourism and to visit friends and relatives around the world. We provide the facilities and services for over 80 airlines flying around 75 million passengers a year to over 180 destinations worldwide and play an important economic role connecting the whole of the UK to global growth. As one of the largest single site employers there are over 76,000 people working at Heathrow, for over 400 companies, working together  to achieve our vision of giving passengers the best airport service in the world. Heathrow is like a small city – fast moving, diverse, forward thinking – right at the heart of the nation’s global connections and with a world of opportunity.

Job Overview

The role is responsible for leading Heathrow’s primary customer contact and information touch points with passengers, shaping the way Heathrow communicates proactively via core digital channels and with those who chose to contact via Heathrow’s online, social, white mail, email and voice channels.

The role has a key governance oversight responsibility, from securing and controlling budgets, setting standards and processes to wide-spread engagement and collaboration. It is responsible for ensuring passenger requirements are put first often having to pragmatically challenge the status quo and address conflicting business needs.

It covers how Heathrow manages its information behind the scenes and the seamless interfaces it presents to its stakeholders, fusing digital channels with the airport’s physical touch points. The role holder directs projects, programmes and enhancements to align the digital and customer service strategy to the business priorities. The role holder needs to adopt an agile approach in order to meet and exceed the demands in this area and be the internal ‘centre of excellence’ in this area as we seek to deliver a ‘sales through service’ model.

Principal Accountabilities and the Heathrow app

  • To promote and grow traffic to and the Heathrow customer app (current annual figures: 20+ million website visitors and two million mobile app users).
  • Provide a stimulus for directing/protecting traffic to Heathrow’s eBusiness channels.
  • To govern, maintain and constantly improve end-to-end processes that deliver innovative digital experiences across a range of devices.
  • To build effective relationships with key stakeholders across the business and through influence and guidance define the priorities and ensure the successful delivery of their digital strategies. Ensure that this is integrated into an aligned ‘multi-channel’ plan.
  • To effectively manage digital resources, which includes external agencies, the motivation and development of staff under direct control and indirect control (contractors).
  • Accountable for developing a clear strategy and roadmap for Heathrow’s digital platform investment
  • To ensure 24/7, 365 day support for heightened states through a digital on-call roster that links directly into Heathrow’s IRT.

Social Media Management 

  • Lead Heathrow’s Social community management - Real time autonomous message creation both proactively & reactively across Social media channels. Delivering reputationally sensitive messaging using channel appropriate tone of voice, responding to passenger queries, posting defined and strategically driven proactive content across different platforms. Embedding a ‘sales through service’ culture.
  • Manage Heathrow’s Social content creation and Planning: Ensure the creation of channel specific content across an integrated ‘multi-channel’ service that helps protect and build Heathrow’s reputation, supports delivery of the service proposition and delivers against commercial targets.
  • Social Media reporting including weekly reporting, campaign results, crisis reporting.
  • Liaison with internal and external stakeholders – understanding business objectives and tying these in with Social Media goals.
  •  Manage outsourced moderator engagement – reviewing responses to ensure accuracy and consistency, advising of any operational updates they need to know of and ensuring robust framework of communications is adhered to.
  • Liaison with Heathrow’s Communications department: part of the on-call roster for disruption and crisis management. Responsibility and risk ownership for contributed elements of crisis activity.

Location-based services and ‘data-sharing’

  • Lead the ongoing development of digital maps and location-based services e.g. point-to-point navigation, wayfinding, to enhance the passenger experience and grow revenue.
  • Work with IT colleagues to influence the industry approach to developing open standards.
  • Champion the ‘single source of the truth’ to ensure that key data e.g. maps, flight info etc can be easily shared with airlines and other third parties.

Heathrow Passenger Support Centre (Consolidated Contact Centre)​​

  • Manage delivery of Heathrow’s outsourced contact centre to deliver against KPIs. Encompassing all passenger/customer feedback and member servicing across (as of Q3 2017) Heathrow passenger customer service, Heathrow Rewards and Heathrow Official Parking areas, creating a clear Heathrow service style aligned to the overall Service Proposition.
  •  Develop and drive a ‘sales through service’ approach.
  • Continue to improve the service and keep up to date with customer service advances.
  • Deliver reporting and management Information
  • Drive the integration of the passenger communications service with APOC and operations.
  • Champion the use of Salesforce CRM across the business.

​Setting the strategy

  • Champion user requirements that align to business opportunities and challenges
  • Develop a clear vision and roadmap for how each channel will fulfil business and user goals
  • Understand the broad range of opportunities and/or risks that digital, social and customer service technology presents.

Directing the delivery

  • Provide expert advice on information provision, in an optimised format to internal and external stakeholders, improving and maximising Heathrow’s knowledge, skills and digital abilities.
  • Create scalable, future-friendly tools to ensure cost effective, agile delivery.
  • Drive consistent approaches, processes and terminology demonstrating economies of scale through the use of shared tools/systems.
  • Oversee the delivery of a content strategy that is compelling, engaging, consistent and timely across the digital, social and customer service touch points.
  • Ensure the core digital team has the right skillsets and tools in place and can adapt to the fast moving pace of digital technology.
  • Liaise with Airport Communication and Corporate Affairs Department to support delivery of priorities and objectives.

Governance and Compliance ​​

  • Custodian of the ‘digital passenger experience’ and the benefits it can deliver to all Heathrow’s stakeholders. Direct resource and prioritise initiatives to deliver it.
  • Define and deliver a framework within which decisions can be made quickly and effectively, including content, accessibility, crisis management, design, testing and development.
  • Setting the standard for compliance, i.e. Equality Act, data protection, security, copyright; planning in advance for likely relevant legislative changes.
  • Maintain the appropriate balance between centralised controls and individual autonomy.
  • Create and support business cases for related investment.
  • Oversee resilient systems/solutions that can cope with numerous changes to the day to day operation, such as crisis communications, cyber-attacks, huge spikes in traffic etc.
  • Be a key contributor and custodian of Heathrow’s ‘digital brand’.


  • Drive change/deliver opportunities using research and insight (both quantitative and qualitative)
  • Share knowledge across Heathrow to grow understanding and deliver a more cohesive fusion between digital and virtual touch points
  • Monitor (and understand) innovation/industry trends, analysing opportunities against risk and cost.
  • Test, learn and evaluate approach.

​Leadership and collaboration.

  • Lead and manage a team of 5 direct reports (total team of c.15 people), and collaborate with a wide stakeholder matrix.
  • Lead innovation across Heathrow’s digital, social and customer service channels.
  •  Develop and direct the on-going development roadmap.
  • Evangelise Heathrow’s digital, social and customer service vision both internally and externally.
  • Communicate and present effectively at all levels including Executive.

Return on investment

  • Secure and review project and day to day budgets.
  • Accountable for ensuring that Heathrow makes the most of its digital assets, spends wisely, protects and grows its assets to support the implementation of key business initiatives in a cost effective manner.
  • Conduct tender processes and contracts adhering to, and in conjunction with, Heathrow’s procurement processes and procedures.

Qualifications & Experience​

  • Educated to degree level or equivalent work experience, plus extensive experience in digital technology, online marketing and communication principles.
  • A minimum of five years operating at a senior management level or higher.
  • A strong background (minimum of seven years) in a digital operating environment – web, mobile, social media, ecommerce, content strategy, usability, compliance etc.
  • A broad understanding of digital marketing, social media, affiliates, advertising, PPC, SEO, CRM, Ecommerce.
  • Experience of managing customer contact centres.
  • Travel/leisure/retail sector experience an advantage.
  • Thorough understanding of digital platforms, architecture and key stages/outputs of a digital production process.
  • Experience in large-scale digital transformation programmes.
  • Demonstrable experience working with project managers and developers using Agile and Waterfall methodologies
  • Thorough understanding of responsive design, SEO, web analytics, social media, online advertising, digital CMS and associated publishing tools and its impact on digital strategy and governance.
  • Strong leadership, relationship management and communication skills to influence and direct priorities
  • Drive, enthusiasm and self-motivation.
  • Confident and accomplished executive level communication skills.
  • Ability to translate technical information/ digital terminology for non-technical audiences.
  • A high level of commercial acumen combined with technical understanding.
  • Creative/ Innovative thinking.
  • Digital and social evangelist.

Business Behaviours​

Deliver Results - Proactive and accountable individual that removes obstacles to make change happen. Willing to take calculated risks.

Put Passengers and customers first - Drives user experience / satisfaction and champions the passenger / stakeholder view.

Commerical Focus - Understands (and can articulate) the ROI benefits that adopting digital technology delivers. Ensures commercialism is protected or increased.

Take the Lead - A digital and social evangelist, enthusing and inspiring. Brings out the best in people – supporting, mentoring, coaching, creating and maintaining a culture of on-going learning and development. Ensures that teams are high performing and consistently add value.

Work Together  - An effective collaborator that engages and gains stakeholder support pan-Heathrow. Keen to share knowledge and express options in a clear and articulate manner. Pragmatic approach and ability to balance business needs with user requirements to ensure projects deliver/exceed required results.

Continuous Improvement  - Has a deep understanding of performance and user experience to ensure that continuous improvement drives innovation. Doesn’t except the status quo and continually looks for innovative solutions.

Focus on the Future - Keeps an eye on emerging technologies, thinks big picture, challenge mediocrity and drive innovation but not to the detriment of other areas. Ensures plans are clearly aligned to strategic objectives.

Our plans are ambitious ones. And our people equally so. That’s why we recognise and value the contribution that everyone makes. In return we offer great benefits. These include our employee assistance programme, pension, healthcare and travel offers, plus a wide range of development opportunities to take your career further.