TL;DR - This use case is for the techies among us who love geeking out over everything that’s possible with Copper when companies have deep technical resources to customize to their heart’s content. It isn’t the average Copper use case, but it’s fun to see what this unique customer has achieved using their own engineering resources and our developer API.
Finding success as a flight chartering service hinges on providing a personalized customer experience — the kind that business and high-net-worth clientele rave about … the kind whose every detail brings them back again and again. FlightCharter created a stellar reputation in the flight chartering industry by offering just that: personalized, white-glove coordination of private flights between Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia. First coming on the scene in 2017 with founder Dave Mackey’s ambitious vision to scale quickly, FlightCharter has managed to grow their customer base while still maintaining the personal touch that sets them apart. Using a “broker” model, the team coordinates customer requests with a wide range of private aircraft operators, drawing from thousands of jets, airplanes and helicopters owned by their supplier partners – instead of being limited by their own small fleet.
When Dave founded the company, he knew that flexibility would be key to making a name for FlightCharter in the competitive, $26 billion charter-flights industry. By establishing a large network of flight operators, Dave and his team give clients unprecedented options that satisfy specific requests around departure times, aircraft types and luxury options to their destination of choice within the Asia-Pacific region.
With medical transport and customized “pet jet” specializations, FlightCharter has seen demand continue to rise, even during the pandemic. When commercial flights were shuttered, people and companies that had the means — and those with critical travel requirements like medical procedures — turned to privately-chartered air travel to meet their needs. For this level of clientele (chartered flights obviously aren’t for everyone), once you experience that level of service, it’s hard to go back to commercial flights — their customers were hooked. With a large client base that spans corporate, enterprise and individuals, the company’s new business pipeline keeps flowing.
And through all this growth, FlightCharter has been a Copper customer since day one, helping Dave bring his specific business vision to fruition with the platform’s extensive customization and automation features.
Customized setup and integrations
Choosing Copper was no accident for Dave, because he was actually a CRM developer in a previous career. He knew they needed a CRM right away to keep track of a growing network of customers that he wanted to nurture into lifetime patrons. Needless to say, he had a better idea than most about what he wanted from the tool. Sure, he could have gone with one of the bigger market players like Salesforce, but he knew achieving the level of customization he had in mind would cost too much time and money. When Dave discovered Copper, he was won over by its:
- Native Google Workspace integration that synced easily with his business’s Google setup
- Integration with cloud telephony services (he tried a few, but JustCall fit the bill)
- Opportunity pipeline management that’s a comfortable fit for their sales process
- Flexibility and extensive customization options, including custom fields
- Developer API resources
- Workflow automation capabilities, especially when combined with Zapier
Within weeks of choosing Copper, Dave dove right into tweaking his account to make it fit seamlessly into their business processes and automating as many manual tasks as possible. And any time he ran into a challenge with workflow automation, the Copper team was quick to help him find a resolution.
And let’s not forget how important Copper’s deep Google Workspace ties are to FlightCharter as a Google shop itself. Copper not only integrates natively with Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive, but the platform is also built using Google’s Material Design system, meaning the CRM works just like Google apps do. This level of Google integration was important to Dave, who was betting on a future with Copper: “The relationship with Google means that the platform will continue to be developed and grow as a tool.”
Embedded apps are “an absolute game-changer”
We geek out when we tell the FlightCharter story, because the company has taken Copper’s tech and run with it — revealing what’s possible for companies that have the technical resources to take things to the next level. Sure, this level of customization isn’t needed for many of our customers, but it’s fun to get a glimpse of all the possibilities. And one of those possibilities lies in combining Coppers developer resources with embedded apps.
FlightCharter’s in-house engineers have used Copper’s developer API and SDK to embed their own custom-developed apps from their customer-facing website into Copper, sending all data the customer inputs straight into the appropriate customer record. From a customer’s initial inquiry with the company all the way through the delivery of flight service, embedded apps help drive the unique customer experience. Let’s look at two scenarios to see how it works:
Scenario 1: Request a quote
When a potential customer goes to the FlightCharter website, they can easily submit a specific flight request by filling out a simple form on the homepage.
Using an embedded app and custom coding, Copper:
- Brings in the requested quote data and creates a new customer record
- Next, it generates an automated email (using a designated email template) with all of the potential customer’s specific requests, prompting a FlightCharter team member to take action.
- A custom workflow using Zapier triggers new actions each time the opportunity is moved into a new stage.
- The system uses a prebuilt email template to send the flight request information to different suppliers.
- When suppliers with available aircraft for those parameters respond with a quote, Copper populates the customer record with the quote data in the Activity field.
These types of automated communications continue throughout the entire sales cycle, saving the FlightCharter team a ton of time.
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Scenario 2: Change a trip itinerary
Say a customer already booked a trip but now wants to change their itinerary. To make this request, customers used to have to call FlightCharter for help, and a representative would then manually locate resources in their database to build a new itinerary while the customer waited on the line. Now, an embedded app synced to Copper allows customers to self-serve on the website:
- A customer can modify their existing itinerary by making new selections, including parameters like airport name, points on a map and distances in nautical miles. They can also filter their results by different categories of aircraft.
- When they submit the updated request, Copper pulls in the new travel data from the website form and inputs it into the customer record.
- An action is triggered which registers a new itinerary for the customer’s order.
In both scenarios, once the team confirms all travel arrangements, FlightCharter sends an automated email (using another email template created in Copper) with details about where and when the customer will meet their aircraft and crew. A team member quickly ticks a box to indicate the status of that customer's request.
This level of automation throughout the sales process is a big deal for FlightCharter. Imagine the time it takes for a human to send emails, drop data in, send it out, wait for responses. Now their employees can nix all that tedious work and focus on more important tasks.
Sales tracking made easy with opportunity pipelines
Opportunity pipeline management was a non-negotiable for Dave from the outset — and Copper’s approach to pipelines was a perfect fit. “Aha, these guys get it,” Dave says. Unlike other CRM platforms, with Copper he didn’t have to go in and build out probabilities to create the stages he needed; everything was already configured for a standard opportunity pipeline or sales pipeline. It looks like this:
- Inquiries are converted to leads
- Leads are converted to opportunities
- Opportunities are converted to won opportunities (sales) or lost opportunities
This straightforward pipeline structure lets staff easily track the sales process.
With everyone on their small team inside Copper — including employees in sales, new business development, account management and supplier management — there’s full visibility into every opportunity in motion at a given time. And while they haven’t fully built out supplier management in Copper just yet, they already use it for contact management to keep track of their large network of aircraft suppliers.
In the world of charter flights, the sales process is essentially the same whether a lead is a high-net-worth individual or an enterprise, which makes it easy for FlightCharter to track both B2B and B2C sales in the same pipeline.
The finishing touches: integrations
We’ve already mentioned a few of the integrations that have helped FlightCharter customize their account, but let’s do a quick rundown:
- Gmail integration: tracks all email communication with leads, customers and suppliers
- Zapier: various customized Zaps are built into their workflows to trigger different actions across the sales pipeline, from creating follow-up tasks for employees to sending emails to potential customers
- JustCall: When a customer calls in, their Copper People record pulls up automatically, so the rep can view customer info. in real time. All phone calls, text messages, in-and-out recordings and call dispositions are automatically logged in the respective record.
- Developer API, SDK & embedded apps: The company’s engineers use Copper’s developer resources to create and embed their own custom apps in Copper, pulling in requests for quotes and itinerary changes to the appropriate records.
Growing revenue with Copper
With Copper on board (pun intended) since the very beginning of FlightCharter, the tool has helped the company grow quickly and efficiently. The numbers FlightCharter has achieved over their 5+ years using the CRM speak for themselves:
Increase in annual revenue from around $1.5 million in 2020 to nearly $6 million in 2022, up 120% in just two years!
Looking to the future, Dave anticipates more revenue growth, supported by Copper. With the CRM system's flexibility, “we can scale our team without having to scale our platforms.” By simply adding one more person to the team, which is on their short-term plan, Dave is confident the company can double its revenue while avoiding costly technology transitions.
Dave also plans to add more embedded apps to Copper that will help streamline the company’s supplier management by linking customer itineraries to the assigned aircraft supplier. With the Copper team continuing to support their growth on the platform, Dave can’t wait to “see what’s possible with Copper.”
If you’re curious to see how your company can thrive with Copper, start a free 14-day trial now, no credit card needed.