Dramatic Effect

Annie Ling, Cathay Pacific’s Head of Customer Experience – Digital, explains how her love of theatre helps her be more customer-centric at work.

Annie Ling, Head of Customer Experience – Digital at Cathay Pacific.
Annie Ling, Head of Customer Experience – Digital at Cathay Pacific.
Annie Ling is a key member of the team behind many of Cathay's digital campaigns, with a professional background in both technology and business. Outside her day job, Annie is an active member of the Hong Kong theatre community. Annie says, "as a freelancer, I used to belong to an amateur theatre group named "Theatre Space" and I also worked with professional groups such as The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre.

"My passion for theatre started back at secondary school when I took English Literature classes. I remember my first scene work at school was from "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde. I soon fell in love with acting."

Annie finds that her passion for acting has a positive impact on her career. There are a few lessons that she applies back to her work at Cathay Pacific.

Firstly, teamwork. "Although the attention is focused on the actor, the success of the production depends on the hard work and skill of the extensive team that looks after costumes, sets, lighting, sound, makeup, as well as backstage – it could be up to 100 people." At work, Annie looks after a team of 50. She says: "The success that comes from teamwork makes me far prouder than any achievement that just comes from me."

Secondly, being customer-centric. Annie says, "The first thing an actor must do is to become the character he or she is playing. This skill has helped me to consider problems from a customer perspective, before coming up with solutions. From a single business traveller, to holidaying families, each passenger will need different things." Recognising the different requirements of passengers helped Annie develop a series of pre-departure communications that aim to help customers have a smooth, hassle-free journey in the midst of fluctuating COVID travel rules.

Thirdly, every performance is live and so is every customer interaction. "There are times you can feel the audience being so focused on the drama that you can hear them breathe! This kind of interaction and chemistry in the theatre reminds me that every customer touchpoint and experience matters."

Annie (third from right) with her fellow actresses.
Annie (third from right) with her fellow actresses.
Annie performing on stage.
Annie performing on stage.
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