Interview with Christi Tannahill, Textron Aviation’s Senior Vice-President Customer Experience
Who is Christi Tannahill, and what is the most important aspect of your role?
I have dedicated the majority of my career to customer service and support. Prior to my current role at Textron Aviation, I held the position of senior Vice-President of turboprop aircraft and interior design. In this role, I oversaw the development of our popular turboprop platforms and led the interior design team. I assumed the position of senior Vice-President of interior design and engineering in 2016. Currently, as senior Vice-President of Customer Experience at Textron Aviation, I am responsible for the interior design and engineering functions across the entire product lineup of the company.
I am married, with 3 children, and a very proud mother. It’s wonderful to be a proud mother, especially when your children have achieved significant milestones in their education. Having two graduates from college, one from Law school, and one currently in junior high school is a great accomplishment.
Each of my children’s educational journeys is unique and represents their individual efforts and paths to success. As a parent, I have played an essential role in supporting and guiding them along the way. I continue to encourage and nurture my children as they progress through their education.
One of the things I love about my job is that I always say I have the best job in the company. I have the opportunity to work closely with customers throughout the entire process, from market research to delivering the airplane. My responsibilities include marketing events like EBACE and overseeing the organization of these events.
I am also involved in designing both the interior and exterior of our products. It’s a rewarding experience to meet with customers even before they become our customers and then deliver the airplane to them when they take delivery. I am fortunate to have an amazing team that consistently performs exceptionally well.
However, the best part of my job is the ability to build relationships with customers, starting from the interior design phase and listening to their needs all the way through to delivering the final product.
How do you balance the need for aesthetics and functionality in the interior design of Textron Aviation’s aircraft, while maintaining a focus on customer experience?
That’s a great question.
The customers’ visionary board is extremely valuable because it allows us to address their needs effectively. When our customers become part of the team, they have the opportunity to share their preferences without any limitations. They communicate everything they desire to have in the airplane.
For example, I often discuss the idea of having a couch in the cabin as a differentiating factor. However, we also maintain transparency by informing them about the potential cost and additional weight associated with their requests.
This open dialogue is essential for making informed decisions. We utilize the information provided by the customers to understand their priorities. They may quickly realize that certain costs or added weight are not favorable to them, but they acknowledge the importance of certain aspects. Even when dealing with a diverse customer base and customer advisory board, we strive to determine what is best for the airplane in terms of performance, design, and functionality. The feedback provided by our customers ensures that we align our efforts with their desires accurately.