Contributing author Steve Peltzman, Chief Business Technology Officer, Head of FeedbackNow
With operations slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels in many places around the world, airports are striving to restore consumers’ confidence in travelling gain by establishing customer experiences that evoke safety and trust.
ACI provides research and customer experience services to more than 300 airports in the world and FeedbackNow is deployed at more than 75 major global airports. Both organizations are committed to helping improve passenger experience.
Airports pose unique customer experience challenges. First, their sophisticated, multilayered operations resemble miniature cities. A customer’s total experience is the product of many different airport stakeholders – security, baggage handling, and airlines included – necessitating a community approach dedicated to delivering a delightful, seamless passenger experience.
Airports also cater to diverse passengers with different profiles, trip purposes, and expectations of what constitutes a stellar experience. Flexibility and adaptability must become a strategic part of any successful passenger experience.
Finally, airport customer experience embodies how customers perceive their interactions with an airport. These interactions can be delivered in-person, online, or via other channels, many days before and after an actual travel event. Together, these diverse and sporadic experiences add up to critical moments of truth that create the overall customer experience.
Collecting solicited feedback at the exact time passengers live the experience is the only way to truly assess the quality of that experience as it moves through all touchpoints of their journey. Knowing when and where the customer was when they felt what they felt is crucial.
ACI and FeedbackNow are committed to helping airports to improve passenger experience. Because travelling has and always will be adventurous to passengers, their experiences are being shaped every step of the way. With many airports using our solutions side-by-side, we thought our collective customer experience takeaways were important to share.
Representing the global airport industry since 1991, ACI has successfully established the leading airport passenger service and benchmarking program through their Airport Service Quality (ASQ) surveys. Solutions like ASQ Departures, ASQ Arrivals, and ASQ Commercial monitor all moments of truth or critical touchpoints and provide a benchmark to help airports deliver memorable experiences.
ASQ surveys and scores assess satisfaction while a passenger travels and experiences the airport. Passengers are randomly selected at boarding or arrival gates for pre-selected flights. These flights are selected based on destination or origination, and carrier, to obtain a representative sample of all departures or arrivals.
The survey covers all operating hours, each day, and every month of a quarter, ensuring that resulting samples are both representative of true traffic distribution, and allow for the extrapolation of results to all passengers by specific personas. To further help airports and other involved parties be aligned toward a common standard and approach towards customer experience, ACI also recently developed the Airport Customer Experience Management Model which includes eight key domains: Strategy, Measurement, Operational Improvement, Governance, Culture, Service Design Innovation, Community Collaboration, and Customer Understanding.
FeedbackNow is a real-time, comprehensive customer experience solution that helps airports measure, analyze, and improve on customer experience feedback in real-time across physical and digital touchpoints. These include such service critical areas as security checks, restaurants, and boarding areas.
Operationally, FeedbackNow allows airports to monitor critical points and react to trends as they happen by sending alerts to the right personnel. They can then take action to improve the situation. Strategically, FeedbackNow allows airports to analyze data over time to better deploy resources and refine operational procedures. Other types of real-time data, including weather, foot traffic, and delayed flights, can be infused into the platform to find correlations between these factors and customer experience. Understanding these correlations allow airports to be predictive and resolve potential customer experience issues before they occur.
Together, ASQ and FeedbackNow form a powerful combination to help airports deliver optimal passenger experiences. While ASQ solutions dive deep into data to deliver key insights about passenger experience, FeedbackNow can serve as an advanced indicator of ASQ satisfaction scores by showing where problems could arise during each day.
Trends can emerge, such as security screening issues in early afternoons, restroom problems on Tuesdays, or restaurant problems when flight delays build up. Addressing these tactical issues reactively, or even predictively, using FeedbackNow can have a long-term impact on overall ASQ satisfaction scores.
Per Emanuele Calà , Innovation & Quality VP at the Leonardo Da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome said :
They are complementary, and both are a must. ASQ provides an overview of the experience of passengers while FeedbackNow is a deep dive into specific processes and an opportunity to make timely operational corrections and guarantee the customer experience every day.
Ian Cowie, Director of Customer Operations, London City Airport, added that :
the benefit of instant feedback devices is that you are capturing the immediate emotional response of the customer. What ASQ gives us with the independent nature of the program is a true benchmark against other airports; How are our customers ranking us compared to other airports? Given the changing dynamic of travel post-COVID, this is really important. FeedbackNow gives us the live sentiment in the airport, a clear picture of what the customer thinks at that time. It’s not just about that customer experience, it’s about stress-testing the balance of the customer experience result against these staffing levels (operational planning).
Based on airport feedback, two key areas will influence airport customer experience:
Emanuele Calà remarked :
Digital innovations and seamless travel will be challenges to restart, combined with environmental issues and sustainability.”
Ian Cowie had a similar take :
The first part of the future is about putting the confidence back into our customers about safe, speedy journeys and focusing on all the things that we put in place to do just that.
Mid to long term, it is about the development of the seamless travel experience. There needs to be a lot more digitalization, embracing of the technologies that exist in other environments too… The Amazon Go Grocery was an example of simplicity: it is the first grocery store to offer just walk out shopping—come in, take what you want, and just walk out without going through a cashier. Passengers should not think about check-in anymore ahead of time and where they drop their bag. It should be simple and frictionless.
ACI and FeedbackNow will continue to collaborate and explore new areas of customer experience. Understanding ASQ’s passenger experience big picture across these “mini-cities” alongside the daily, operational trends FeedbackNow provides will yield unique and powerful value for our mutual clients.