Good customer experience key to success

Good customer experience key to success
One of the JFK Travelers Aid customer service agents helps a traveler.
Photo by Jeff Yapalater

The passenger is essentially the most important person at an airport. The sole reason is that they are the ones that provide business for the airports, airlines, vendors and concessions. Their financial impact is what makes an airport a self-sufficient entity . Usually the same persons that are providing good customer service are usually termed “Airport Ambassador or a Good-Will ambassador”. Many airports throughout the country have such persons employed or are volunteers with that specific title.

An example of an airport that are making modifications to enhance the passenger experience is JFK Airport. The Port Authority of NYNJ has announced a major airport redevelopment to enhance the entire travel experience. Terminal One and Terminal 5 will be anchoring terminals at JFK creating the beginning of redevelopment enhancing the passenger experience This type of synergy will consist of major airlines such as JetBlue, Lufthansa, Air France, Japan airlines and Korea Air lines. It’s all about the passenger experience, making a much more improved and updated terminal, roadway and transportation facilities.

The overall airport community objective is to create an environment for a positive passenger experience by providing an easy to navigate path to desired destinations, helpful and friendly advisors along the way, assist travelers with special needs, such as meet and greet passengers, provide translators in special circumstances to assist and guide the traveler in which ever needs are required. By providing such excellent customer service, the customer is more likely to return to that airport, fly the same airline, or go to the same concessions. It is important to know that an airport is an entity that serves the public but is run like a business. There are certain key factors to customer satisfaction; a positive attitude, good will ambassador actions and initial greetings.

It is important to note that 1st impressions are everything, they can have a long-lasting effect on the passenger. Meaning do they want to return to your airport and give you their business? While assisting the passenger, the ambassador should be familiar with the terminal layout, where the concessions, or even airlines are located. Knowing where the restrooms, cab stands, train, shuttle pick-ups are, is a definite plus. These are all important factors to good customer service, which are vital to an airport’s success. Successful terminals also work with their vendors such as transportation services in aiding the customer.

An important factor to realize is that there are organizations that measure customer service, and provide airport rankings based on those findings. Such organizations are JD Power and SkyTrax. These organizations cover airlines as well as airports when it comes to aviation. Their goal is to measure customer service. They review; the amenities, the check in process, food quality, beverage and retail. An airline’s success results in high passenger volume, and demand. If neither of those two entities are present, then there is no reason for that specific airline to operate at that airport. This can result in loss of jobs for that airline as well as the airport. From an airport perspective it could result in a loss of revenue.

Just like any industry, the customer is always the main priority. Whether right or wrong, they do impact the livelihoods of airport employees. The most important thing is to realize that the entire airport service community has to provide the best possible passenger experience in order for our new airports to flourish and be the greatest gateways in the country.

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