As many of us CX practitioners know and may have experienced firsthand, the airline industry faces numerous challenges in creating a customer experience that puts the customer first. Not only do individual airlines have their share of CX problems, but so do airports. From dealing with security lines, flight delays, finding your terminal, and searching for food, there are a myriad of factors that affect airport customer experience.
Despite the traveling grievances we may face from time to time, there are some airports actively striving to provide a quality experience that stands out amongst the rest. The international trade association, Airports Council International (ACI), recently recognized and awarded airports across the world that have achieved the highest passenger satisfaction ratings in the 2017 Airline Service Quality (ASQ) Survey. According to ACI, this survey is the world’s benchmark measure of airport excellence.
I want to look at two winners of the Airport Service Quality Awards to see how they’re differentiating themselves in this industry. How are they acting in ways that would, as I like to say, “make mom proud?” When thinking about your business and how you treat your customers, my standard is to always think about how I’d like my mother to be treated.
Our Passengers are the Key
Toronto Pearson was named Best Large Airport in North America, serving more than 40 million passengers, annually. In a press release distributed by Pearson, Howard Eng, President and CEO of Greater Toronto Airports Authority said that they deliberately set their sights “on becoming the best airport in the world.” This goal is actually a part of their mission statement, “To be the best airport in the world. Making a difference, Connecting the world.” Howard also goes on to say:
Our passengers are the key to making that vision a reality, and we’re grateful to them for taking the time to share their experiences with us. Together, the 49,000 people who work at Toronto Pearson – not only for the GTAA, but for the air carriers, the government agencies, the retail establishments, and more – have all helped achieve this result. We recognize that we have more work to do to stay ahead of other great North American airports, and compete with other large international airports around the world.
According to the release, the airport has been investing in improvements to enhance their airport experience with faster security screening, terminal redevelopments, shopping and dining, and maintaining and upgrading facilities — with a focus on bathrooms. By declaring that “passengers are our passion” and putting passengers at the center of their business strategy, Toronto Pearson airport is intentionally taking actions to improve the lives of their customers. I’d say they’re definitely making business considerations that would “make mom proud.”
Go Above and Beyond to Offer an Excellent Experience
Another ASQ winner is Newcastle Airport in the United Kingdom. They won Best Small Airport in Europe, serving 2 -5 million passengers, annually. According to Airports of the World, Newcastle also won the honor of being ‘Airport of the Year’ at the North of England Transport Awards. Newcastle must be doing something good, because it was ranked one of the happiest airports by HappyOrNot, a Finnish company that has installed user friendly stands at airport terminals to collect customer satisfaction feedback.
Regarding the positive news of their ASQ win, CEO Nick Jones said,
I’m absolutely delighted that Newcastle Airport has won this award. Everyone here at Newcastle goes above and beyond to offer an excellent experience for our passengers and it’s great to see that that’s been recognized. I have no doubt that this will spur our colleagues on to continue offering such incredible service to all who travel through the airport.
Similar to Toronto Pearson, Newcastle has been improving customer experiences by focusing on maintenance and providing cleaner facilities and restrooms. Nick also goes on to say, “here at Newcastle, we pride ourselves on offering an excellent experience for our passengers, whether that’s through our friendly staff, efficient check-in process or our low queue times.” When I dug around Newcastle’s website, I also found this wonderful plan regarding their goals for improving the airport over the next decade in order to facilitate passenger growth. I love that this public plan outlines the economic and environmental impact these new projects would have.
Congrats to Toronto Pearson and Newcastle airport for being conscientious of their customers, keeping them top of mind when it comes to business strategies. Continue implementing strategies that would make mom proud!
Click here to see the rest of the ASQ Award winners.
Have you flown through Pearson or Newcastle lately? Did you enjoy your experience?
In anticipation of my forthcoming book, “Would You do That to Your Mother?: The “Make Mom Proud” Standard for How to Treat Your Customers,” I’m excited to talk about brands that put customers at the heart of their work. I’m on a mission to get companies thinking about how they’d act if every customer were their mother. Learn more about the book and join the movement to #MakeMomProud at make-mom-proud.com.
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