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Client: Sabre, Inc.
Marketers of the world's largest private global distribution computer system, second only to the United States of America's government computer system.

Location: National headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. More than 300 locations worldwide.

Long-term Business Goal: In order to achieve optimal efficiency and customer service, Sabre needed to redesign the North American Sales and Service Electronic Travel Distribution side of its business. To transition into cross-functional marketing teams, it needed to design self-sustaining, customer-focused work teams. A component of this included the co-location of more than 200 employees to its national headquarters office. The new conditions would support outstanding customer service and after-sales service.

Strategic Imperative: To gain five market share points in three years, meaning a 10 percent annual growth in the declining market.

Pre-History: Sabre is the backbone of the global electronic travel distribution industry. Travel agents, car rental agencies and hotels use Sabre computer systems to book reservations. Sabre controls a 46 percent market share in North America. The Internet Revolution provided easier access to travel reservations. As a result, customers demanded a higher level of service.

Challenges: An internal survey indicated Sabre was losing business because customer service levels had declined in relation to its competitors, specifically in regard to its non-integrated parts: sales & services, installations, financial services. Each part operated independently of one another. Installation people didn't work with sales people. Installation could not perform maintenance. Sales couldn't help with billing problems or questions. These separate reporting structures and managers needed to be streamlined to accommodate customer needs in an increasingly competitive industry.

The Change Process:
LightSpeed Learning trained Sabre's leadership in preparation for a three-day, company-wide seminar in Newport Beach. During that time, LightSpeed helped Sabre develop a company-wide focus, and taught core skills needed to get new work teams up and running. The newly-developed teams got support from Team Tools Interactive, LightSpeed consultants, and internal consultants who had undergone LightSpeed training. The program stressed skills such as better interpersonal communication and the ability to think systematically.

Results:

  • Customer satisfaction grew
  • Employee Morale within the test teams improved
  • Enterprise Service System (SAP), which will replace legacy systems, was successfully implemented. Customer databases will be consolidated into one central system.

    Future: Having gotten three-quarters of the way toward realizing their original Strategic Imperative, Sabre is now making a new, aggressive SI.: to have one out of two travelers make their reservations through Sabre.

    Testimonial: Simon McPherson, Internal Consultant, Sabre: "During the process, all the LightSpeed technical people and consultants were really responsive. We'd make a suggestion, and they'd work something out for us in a few days. More importantly, they helped us put an infrastructure in place. They don't want you to be married to them for 12, 15, 20 years. We developed our own internal consultants so we could become self-reliant. Managers are now leaders: they're more focused on longer-term visions, strategic planning, identifying barriers that keep teams from being productive. We're not being fire fighters every day."

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