(This post was created as a guest blog for Total BlueSky in August 2015)
The speed and breadth of technological change not just in the aviation world presents fantastic opportunities. The challenge however, is to take advantage of the right opportunities not just the latest opportunity. Understanding the things that passengers value most helps prioritise where investment and resource is best focused.
“We need to think like retailers, we need to be more digital” is the rallying cry in many away-day strategic planning session. After all, the retail sector is often the first roll-out new technology and in stores, online and bridging the divide between the two.
On the flip side however, why not use technology to create an airline that retailers aspire to be like?
As passengers we are all also consumers in other markets. It is those interactions when buying a coffee, returning an item bought online or getting our telecoms provider to explain the latest bill that set our expectations. Replicating best practice creates nothing new and is soon overtaken. Even mobile, Apple and contactless payment methods quickly become established. Applying the right technology to the right problems on the other hand is a winning strategy.
That however, raises a few questions, not least in the debate about using the latest tech because we can, or using the most relevant tech.
Should our planning horizon be months rather than three or 5 years? If mobile, beacons and wearables are the answer, exactly what is the question? And if technology is so good, why do airlines automate check-in for passengers in economy yet retain the personal touch for those in business class.
It might make processing more cost-efficient but if I’m using it for the first time or it’s not working properly I’ll still expect someone there to help me. It feels very transactional, all about barcodes and processing with no apparent desire for any kind of relationship. If I fly business class one week and economy the next, I’ll be paying less but I’ll also remember how the different approach made me feel when I’m booking my next business-class flight.
So another question might be “Who is benefiting most from the technology?”. Is it the airline or airport who can leverage the benefits of data, measure processes more efficiently and drive down operating costs?
Or is it the passenger, for whom technology makes it easier to do business than with a competitor and so they return more often, spend more and tell everyone else to do the same?
At an aviation conference recently I asked a fellow speaker for their views on where technology and passenger experiences meet. Will there be a time in the not too distant future, I wondered, when I won’t be able to fly if I don’t have a smartphone? The immediate and enthusiastic response was an unequivocal “Absolutely!”.
Nothing wrong with ambition, but there’s a real risk of making the assumption that owning a smartphone means being willing and able to use it in the way that airlines want passengers to.
A large US carrier launched its lost baggage app with a big fanfare and indeed, it did shows where a bag was and how that compared with where it should be. That’s not an inconsiderable amount of time, money and opportunity cost to develop technology that is unlikely to be at the top of a passenger’s wish-list.
As a passenger, I expect my bag to make the same trip as me. I accept that problems happen and that bags do go missing or not make onto the flight. BA’s recent problems at LHR Terminal 5 highlighted that all too well. But would I download an app and keep checking it when the chances of it going missing are slim anyway and I’ve got a hundred other things to do?
On a trip to Poland recently, my bag didn’t make it. I went to the information desk and got things sorted. Having just landed in a foreign country late at night, the baggage reclaim area was not where I would have expected to try and connect to a new mobile network and rely on an app to know more than the people in the room. I would still have gone to the information desk anyway.
I put it to the airline who had developed the app that its usefulness was there, but limited. The response was that passengers always want to know where their bags are. Personally, I assume they’re where they are supposed to be but if you go to the effort of producing an app, I’m inclined to feel less confident and believe now that’s a frequent occurrence.
And, I was told, as people in transit can run through an airport quicker than bags can be processed, it’s good to check if your bag is going to make it or not. We then fell into a debate about designing (unintentional) experiences where people have to run, whether they’re fit, have just had a hip replacement, have amplified anxiety and so on.
The point is relevance.
We hear headlines that people are “always connected”. They will be connected to the things that are most relevant to them and help them do what they want to do. In the case of lost bags, I know the airline has my cellphone number – they’ve reminded me to check-in early and stock up on duty-free goods - and I know they can link the bag to its owner. So if there is an issue why can’t they get in touch with me before I even know there is a problem and solve it.
The slightly introspective approach also manifests itself in the green, orange and red “How was it for you?” buttons that greet us after security, by the gate or exiting customs.
They give a score, an indication of satisfaction at the point of interaction and add to the wealth or metrics and data. What they don’t yield is a qualitative element; why did someone tap the green button with a smile or punch the red button in frustration?
Without that, how do we know what to change? And as a customer, if I’ve already told you what I think, why should I bother telling you again when I get an email the day after travelling back?
Thinking like a retailer might be a step in the right direction and there is obviously a place for technology. But what makes the technology a good investment is the mindset and culture that it’s nurtured and developed in. For example, where everyone in the project team understands and can keep on top of how and why passengers and therefore the business will benefit.
London City Airport has a huge focus on technology but for the primary reason of making the travelling experience better. From that, they know, will flow more passengers and more revenue. And the results are testimony to that approach; passenger numbers are expected to exceed 4 million this year. Customer reviews suggest it’s the kind of airport you hope your airline will fly to. And commercially, the owners have just put the airport up for sale with an estimated price tag of £2bn.
Technology plays a huge part but I recall LCY’s chief executive Declan Collier keeping things in perspective about how it’s used in an interview with Forrester in 2013. He said “Customer experience is nothing without delivery, and in our business, our propositions stand or fall on the ability of our people to deliver them”.
Adding to the sentiment from New Zealand is Andy Lester, Chief Operating Officer of Christchurch airport. Such was the devastation of the tragic 2011 earthquake that much of the city is yet to be rebuilt. However, speaking in Barcelona about how the airport has got back on its feet, he said “We have a great opportunity … but if we think like an airport or think like an airline we won’t see things the way our customers do”.
Airlines have access to some amazing technology. Passengers have a choice about who they fly with. Understanding the two sides and bringing them together in the right way will create a winning combination.
Thank you for reading the blog, I hope you found it interesting and thought-provoking. I’d love to hear what you think so please feel free to add your comments below.
I’m Jerry Angrave, founder of Empathyce and an ex-corporate customer experience practitioner. Since 2012 I’ve been a consultant helping others understand how best to improve their customer experiences. If you’ve any questions about this or any other CX issue do please get in touch. I’m on +44 (0) 7917 718 072 or on email I’m [email protected]
Having real coat hangers in the wardrobe of a hotel-room might not make a Wow customer experience or a Moment of Magic. But, it’s a great illustration of how small things can make a big impact.
Stakeholders often baulk at the idea of improving customer experiences for fear that it will cost more, it will force employees to do jobs they are not targetted on or it will require new, complex processes. But those customer experience sceptics would be reassured by an example set by Marriott’s Renaissance Monarch Hotel in Moscow.
I’d been invited there to speak at a conference about customer experience. Always keen to observe and learn, I developed a real liking for the hotel and its people but at first couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Yes, it was very nice but there was no fanfare, no obvious “Tad-dah!”, nothing forced. It just worked.
It became apparent that there was simply a series of little things that were personal and relevant when they needed to be. None of them are costly, none of them distracting for the employees and no complex systems involved. They could be done just as well by a 7-star hotel in the sun or a draughty backpackers in the rain. Here’s what I mean:
- It goes without saying that the people had the right attitude. They were attentive, engaging and helpful. They could spot this Brit a mile away and had their English reply to my awful attempts at Russian ready. A smile costs nothing yet its absence (we won’t go into the airport experience here…) can be so costly.
- Whatever training they have, it is effective. Everyone who worked there had a genuine desire to help their guests, something that was epitomised in the name badges of the front-line team – they were all called “Navigators”. Maybe a bit cheesy but whatever the label, the intent was authentic.
- I was joined at the event by Customer Experience Specialist and fellow CCXP Ian Golding. After our speaking sessions, Ian and I had the opportunity to jump on the metro for a couple of stops to visit Red Square and the Kremlin, places I never thought I’d be. The guy behind the hotel check-in desk was very helpful in giving me instructions and directions. In that, there was nothing special but just as we headed off, he produced a business card and said – in English – “Here. If you get any problems or have any questions, here is my number. Call me and I will help you”. In an unfamiliar city and with limited time to get back and catch a flight home, that was reassuring. I wondered how many hotel staff in the UK would afford a foreign guest the same level of respect.
- For too long, wi-fi connections in hotels have been used as an income generator and treated as a cost centre for which customers must pay. At this hotel though, not only was the wi-fi free (again, nothing particularly special there) but what was very helpful was that the connection remained valid for the full 24-hour period even after checking out. They know that many guests will continue to remain in the hotel and it actually encourages them to do so in order to have breakfast, hire meeting rooms or take lunch.
- It’s often said that a company’s true approach to its customers and employees is revealed by the state of the toilets. These were spotlessly clean as you’d expect but what I didn’t expect was that the urinals were filled with ice to reduce odours and maintain the cleanliness.
- And those coat hangers? Actually, it’s not about the coat hangers themselves; its about what it says. To me, it says “Welcome, we trust you, have a nice stay”. Compare that with the message you feel you’re getting with those hangers that can be removed but have no hook and are therefore useless anywhere but that (often just as expensive) hotel room. To me, that shouts out “Ha! Gotcha! Thought about nicking it did ya? Well we don’t trust you so we’re not going to risk losing the cost of one hanger every now and then just so you can feel at home”.
These little things make a big difference and for little cost. I have no connection with Marriott Hotels Group other than I am occasionally fortunate enough to be put up in one. But the point here is not about the hotel; it’s the food for thought that it gives about how other companies across very different markets might take the same approach. Forget searching for that contrived “Wow!” moment and understand the little things that are really important to your customers.
The ironic reality, of course, is that the combination of getting simple things right and executing the basics well every time gets close to being a “Wow” experience anyway. They are the things that make us feel like someone understands us and is on our side. It’s not much to ask but means such a lot. We’ll be a lot more forgiving if something does go wrong but the real commercial benefit is that we’ll tell everyone else about it and when we can, we’ll come back. I hope I do.
Let me know what you think.
If you have a customer experience issue – strategic, cultural or tactical – that you need a hand with, or if you’ve any questions about this blog post do let me know.
I’m on +44 (0) 7917 718 072 or email [email protected].
Thank you, I hope you found the post interesting and please feel free to add your own views below.
Jerry Angrave, CCXP
By applying a little customer experience scrutiny to traditional segmentation models we see their limitations. Being more empathetic with real people rather than grouping customers with similar profiles helps turn successful short-term activity into a differentiated, more profitable and sustainable business.
When creating a segment there is by definition an assumption that we can find round pegs to put in the round holes we make. We profile customers into a group that allow us to predict that they will respond in the same way to the same messages. They have similar behaviours, similar lifestyles, similar needs. And, by and large, that approach works – but it could be so much better.
The principles of customer segmentation have been the bedrock of marketing activity for decades. They are used to design new customer experiences and spawned an industry where sales leads are now created scientifically by analysing vast amounts of data in the name of customer lifetime value.
The problem is therefore two-fold. On the one hand, traditional approaches to segmentation risk retaining an inward-looking business-centricity around one question: “How can we sell more?”. Secondly, segmentation models are easy to replicate by competitors and are therefore not driving the differentiated and better experiences that are key to business survival.
That step, to move beyond the same segmentation principles as our competitors requires a different perspective; that of the customer experience and therefore – not surprisingly – the customer.
Whichever segment a customer falls into, and let’s remember while reading this that we’re all people and we’re all customers, it is irrelevant when we’re dealing with a company. What matters to me as a customer is that I get done what I need to quickly, easily and in a way that makes me feel I would do it all again if I had to.
Today, it’s much less about how many kids I have, which postcode I live in, whether I run my own business, what products I’ve bought previously or how I spend my spare time.
As people we all have life going on around us when we interact with a business. It is the one small window a company has to make the right impression. I’ve worked in and with large corporates where there is (sometimes unintentionally) a real belief that the customer’s life revolves around them.
There are over 525,000 minutes in a year. More than half a million of them. And with many companies we do business with, they are only getting a handful of the most precious of commodities that we possess. As customer we want to make the most of them, get things sorted when we need to and move on. By their actions, the impression many businesses give is that customers are never far away, that customers will amble into their world, drift around their processes and then tell everyone how great it was. That’s not the real intention but that’s often how it feels.
How do we move things on from a business driven by segmentation to one that thrives by giving the right experience? One way to really understand what it’s like to be a customer is to (get the CEO to) become a customer and stress-test those experiences and show what it can really be like. For example:
- Go without sleep for 24 hours then try and buy your product or ask a question. You’ll soon find out how easy things really are
- Five minutes before an important meeting ask someone to look for the number and make a ‘quick’ call to your own business with what should be a straight-forward query
- Ask someone, or put yourself in the mindset of someone, who has depression, recently had a close family bereavement or struggles to comprehend instructions and feel the impact of unempathetic employees, processes that treat people like widgets or a myopic quest to close the sale at all costs
- Walk into one of your stores knowing that you’ve only got a couple of minutes left on your parking ticket, tell the employee and see what happens
- Try to use your products and services while sat on your own in a wheelchair. Then try it with a blindfold on or one arm tied behind your back.
- Give each of the directors a task that a customer might do and make them do it irrespective of their schedule within the next 24 hours – it’s only what we as customers have to do.
I wrote recently about how companies can learn from those with physical or mental disabilities. Organisations will see a benefit in all their customer experiences and therefore commercial results by stretching the thinking to understand better the world of customers who have, or care for those who have, disabilities.
It’s the same here. Some scenarios may rarely happen but the point is that taking a genuine customer perspective and building experiences, processes and communications around that rather than limited segmentation models, experiences that work at the margins will be brilliant at the core. It shows where the weaknesses are and where opportunities for making the right changes lie.
The insights that get flushed out help bring the reality of what customers experience to life for those who need to see and hear it. A great example I came across recently was a customer experience lead who wanted to drive the message home about the difference between what the brand promised and the appalling wait times in the contact centre. Her Executive meeting started then immediately and to the surprise of all present was put ‘on hold’. She played a recording of the music customers hear for the average time they hear it when they try to call to buy, or need help. Uncomfortable? Yes. Brave? Absolutely. Impactful? Without question. And in the kind of scenarios we’ve talked about here, even more effective at inspiring change.
It’s a bit like shooting for the stars if you want to get to the moon. Segmentation will take a business so far. But building experiences based on genuine empathy will ensure that when customers need you most, or simply they interact on a routine basis, there’s a much greater chance that the way it’s done will keep them coming back and telling others to do the same. And that’s what it’s all about.
If you’d like to know more about this or any other strategic or tactical aspect of customer experience do please get in touch – I’m on +44 (0) 7917 718 072 or email [email protected]. My background is as a CX practitioner in the corporate world. That’s the foundation for me being an empathetic customer experience consultant. I also run workshops and speak about customer experience at events across Europe. I’m a Certified Customer Experience Professional and a judge at the UK Customer Experience Awards.
Thank you, I hope you found the post interesting and thought-provoking, and please feel free to get in touch or add your own views below.
Jerry Angrave, CCXP
The build-up to this week’s election in the UK has been rooted in uncertainty. If the media reports are to be believed, no single party has been persuasive enough to win over the backing of a majority for the changes they believe in. Time will tell. It also provides topical food for thought about the role of the customer experience professional in influencing change.
For those leading and managing customer-led change it can be a daunting prospect. Understanding what to do and how to do it is one thing; convincing others is quite another. Metric-obsessed stakeholders, divisions that operate with seemingly no common objectives and teams that should but don’t talk to each other are just some of the regular barriers.
Finding a little, genuine, inspiration is hard to come by. Books, budgets and “We put customers first” posters don’t change things. People, attitudes and belief do. And more often than not the biggest changes start with the smallest steps; people sharing their passion.
In my job as a customer experience consultant I get to meet many people who are pushing the agenda forward with one hand while having to pull the organisation along with the other. One example in particular stands out.
A global organisation that generates annual revenues in excess of $40 billion became complacent about its big numbers. Unintentionally, it put increased competition and disenfranchised customers into its blind spot. Cutting margins to sell more and aggressive M&A activity only mask the underlying issues. But the passion of one of its 75,000 employees is bringing about a huge change, one that is making the company redefine and renew relationship with customers it thought it knew so well but in reality was clinging on to them by a thread.
How? Rather than try and change everything all at once, a series of small steps is leading to a giant leap compared to where they were. One individual, armed with passion, knowledge and evidence about what an authentic focus on customers can achieve commercially. He engaged people close to him and showed how customer experience thinking can help them achieve their own objectives. He initially built a small group of highly engaged people at all levels who then in turn shared the belief about what the right changes could bring with their stakeholders.
From there, the engagement spread using sometimes brutally uncomfortable customer feedback as the catalyst. It’s just the start, but that company is changing its own culture, it is actively immersing its employees across many countries in customer experience and revising its activity plans. If an organisation has personality, this one is showing real signs of the passion and belief of the individual who started the change. It is starting to bring about the right changes effectively and efficiently rather than doing as much “stuff” as it can in the hope that a proportion of it lands ok.
One voice, with real belief can make massive changes with the momentum it creates. One other timely example comes from this week’s election. The political colours of my home town Cheltenham have at various times been Conservative blue or Liberal yellow. But not the red of Labour. Having lived there most of my life I cannot even remember seeing a red poster stuck in the front window of any house at any election. Until now, due to the passion and belief of one person about doing what he believes is the right thing.
Paul Gilbert is CEO of a successful management consultancy showing in-house lawyers around the world how to fulfill their potential and how to be better business people. But this week, Paul also steps up to be counted as the Labour party’s candidate to be Cheltenham’s MP. As an aside, his politically agnostic post here about why voting is about us rather than a specific party is well worth a read.
This is not a blog to promote one party over another. It is about having the confidence in doing what is right that leads to the first small signs of change. Even Paul would admit that based on past performance the party HQ statisticians will say a victory is highly unlikely. But in a population that looks in one direction he has managed to get some to look at things in a different way. It started with one small step; to simply talk about what he believed in and why. His generous, self-depreciating approach hides one of the sharpest minds and the empathetic way he communicated made people sit up and take notice. As a result, he became a parliamentary candidate for the town and such is his passion that strangers are now happy to advertise to the world that they will vote for him. Don’t get me wrong, we are not about to see a political upheaval. The signs appearing might be few in number and small in size but they are a metaphorical sign that as daunting as changing other people’s own beliefs may be, it is possible.
In the coming days and weeks we may hear a lot more about the Citizen Experience as the election events unfold. In the meantime, the rest of us don’t need to convince a whole country that voting for customer experience is the right thing to do; if we share the passion and belief, big changes can start to happen, little step by little step.
What are your thoughts on leading the very beginnings of change?
Measurement of the right customer experiences in a way that fuels a rolling programme of improvement is, of course, essential. To measure customer effort is to monitor one of the symptoms of our customer experiences but it is nonetheless very challenging to get right. Setting up reliable and timely surveys can be a complex task but by changing the mindset there is another option for organisations looking to head down the customer effort path: simply believe that any effort is too much effort. And the biggest clues about whether there is too much effort are often much closer than we think.
When we’re ill we don’t need a thermometer reading to tell us we have a temperature. When it rains we don’t need to know how many millimetres fell to tell us we got soaked. And we don’t need a metric to tell us that a customer experience is more effort than it should be. We know when things are wrong, we have the signs and we build the processes; we don’t need to measure it to know it’s there.
If there is an element of effort then there is already a problem. It doesn’t matter what the scale or metrics say. If things could be easier for customers then there are commercial decisions to be made. Why is not easier? Are we happy to put customers through that and keep our fingers crossed that it is not, or will not become, a competitive disadvantage? A company that doesn’t bother to put the effort in itself will simply transfer that effort to customers with inevitable consequences.
By way of example, I recently flew from London to Warsaw to speak at a customer experience conference. I was impressed with the airport, Heathrow’s relatively new T2. It was quick and easy, clean and friendly. It didn’t need to be any more than that. I got lucky on the flight too, a new 787 Dreamliner which was half empty. So far so good. It reminded me of Amazon’s perspective that the best experience is no experience. Zero effort.
But when I went to pick up my bag from the luggage carousel it wasn’t there. The world has greater problems on its mind but for me at that time, late at night and with no clothes for my presentation in the morning other than what I stood in, it wasn’t what I needed.
There were no instructions though about what happens next, no empathy to the position I’m in. Next morning I present my keynote in the same clothes but at least have an opening story at my and the airline’s expense.
Fast forward a few days and my bag is returned home. My relief was short lived as the lock had been prised apart. The zips are damaged beyond repair, the padlock is missing and the bag has obviously been opened. I contact the airport but get no apology, just a reply blaming the airline and a link to the airline’s contact details. Except that it’s a list of all airlines who fly out of that airport and the contact details are simply their web addresses.
They shouldn’t need to measure the customer effort. There is enough evidence internally without having to ask their customers what they are like to do business with. They shouldn’t need to because they have designed processes that – sometimes unintentionally – put more effort onto the customer. And that should be an alarm bell ringing loudly enough without the need to know how many decibels it is.
As far as my bag is concerned, I might decide to give in and put it down to a bad experience because it’s neither time nor effort well spent. Cynics might say that’s what they want, to make the experience so difficult that people don’t bother. It will keep their costs down after all and keep the wrong processes working perfectly.
The environment in which we go about about our daily lives tends to be a familiar one. For better or worse, we generally know what to expect. We have in-built mechanisms to signal the presence of the unexpected and the absence of the expected.
It’s the same for our experiences as customers. I want to highlight two very recent examples in the interests of showing what is possible and what should be impossible. Let’s start with the latter, a situation that should never be allowed to arise.
The coastline at the most south-western tip of Cornwall is stunning and so to find a bistro-cafe right on one of the glorious sunny beaches seemed like holiday-time well spent. It wasn’t cheap but staff were friendly, the coffee was fresh and the setting was picture-perfect. The kids insisted we went back the next day to try a different flavour of ice-cream and given the previous day’s experience, their pleas fell on receptive ears. Except it was like a totally different place. Some staff were the same but others were different and yet the atmosphere was decidedly rushed, we felt we were an inconvenience, the coffee was awful, staff were moaning about each other and worse, the ice-cream counter was closed for no apparent reason. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, what had been a little piece of heaven became – in a sense intentionally – a little piece of hell overnight. The next day it might have been good again, who knows. How can that happen?
Faith was then restored a few days later back at home. To have a serious problem solved that I didn’t know I had was one thing but for it to be solved by a company I had no relationship with was another altogether. A soft tap on the front door just as we’re heading to bed isn’t how most customer experience stories begin but such was this one. Utility company Wales & West had been called out to a suspected gas leak in the area and in checking where gas might track, had discovered a small leak at the front of the house. At no cost and no hassle the friendly and empathetic engineer repaired the problem quickly, kept us informed throughout and then went back to his team dealing with the original issue.
Two very different experiences but both unexpected. One left me bewildered and frustrated, the other grateful and impressed but the lesson to us all is that both were controllable and both have a lasting, if polar opposite, impact.
What’s your problem with customer experience? Or, to put it another way, what is it that gets in the way of designing and implementing an effective customer experience strategy?
Such customer experience problems were the source of much debate recently when I had the pleasure of hosting the Empathyce TakeAway event in London. There were no presentations, those who attended set the agenda; we simply had rich and highly relevant conversations around the room where everyone could offer their insights on addressing others’ issues and get feedback on their own.
It was interesting to see further validation that whatever the sector there is a thread of common issues. My co-host for the day was good friend and customer experience specialist Ian Golding – we were joined by people who worked in B2B and B2C (or, more accurately, P2P: People to People) from markets that included aviation, travel, property development, communications, legal services and social media. And yet there was hardly a single issue that was the preserve of only one market.
Top of the list and driving everything else was culture. Especially, the gap between how customer-centric organisations tell their stakeholders and employees they are and what they are in reality. A big part of a customer experience professional’s role is to influence where there isn’t direct authority but in an ideal world that wouldn’t need to be an issue. Having the right culture removes the need to influence others in the organisation who either can’t or don’t want to see beyond their process, metric or product focus. It’s easier said than done, it can be a lone voice to start with but is absolutely critical to any success.
Another hot topic is the conundrum created by the tension between personalisation and digitalisation. As a consumer, we want timely and relevant information but we also don’t want it cross a line into being intrusive, noisy and over-bearing. However, as a business we can be seduced by the promises of efficiency that digitalisation, self service and big data can bring. Technology allows us to make things incredibly personal, but it must be the customer’s definition of personal, not ours.
I also can’t remember a time when breaking through internal silos and aligning everything wasn’t a concern. And yet getting people in the same company to collaborate, to understand each other and to work to the same priorities remains a significant challenge. It’s another sub-set of the culture issues; there’s no point in having a customer experience team working their socks off to champion the cause if in another part of the business teams are motivated and rewarded by the ticking of non-customer boxes.
Talking of which, measurement is always a fascinating subject. Using the right type of measurement, tracking the right thing, understanding what the results are saying and sharing them in a way that brings about the right change are all customer experience fundamentals. Again, despite all the customer-rhetoric, especially in metric and process driven organisations, there always remains the risk, often a reality, of obsessing about the number at the cost of knowing what is making the numbers what they are.
Armed with endless mugs of coffee and delicious food at the fantastic (and thoroughly recommended) Wallacespace, we continued to share experiences and views on how companies address these issues and more; the psychology of queuing and its false economy of processing efficiencies, capturing and doing something about the niggles and gripes rather than just focusing on complaints and the use of social media and gamification to nurture customer engagement.
What is your problem? The issue I’ve touched on here only scratch the surface so I’d love to hear what your most pressing customer experience challenges are or how you’ve seen others overcome.
Wherever possible I’d urge you to talk to others outside your business, outside your market. Chances are, whatever you are dealing with someone, somewhere will have some helpful thoughts. Forgive the plug but we’ve had some great feedback about the Take Away event so if you’re interested in attending one of the next ones there are more details here. Ian Golding is alway worth listening to about what makes good or bad experiences, what to do next and how to make the right changes so have a look at his blog over at ijgolding.com.
Of course talking about it is only the beginning. The real benefits start happening and problems start disappearing only when there is action; the right action.
This research post is about which companies have used customer experience to turn their brands into favourite brands, and how that happens. I am delighted to have co-authored it with Ian Golding, hugely renowned and respected customer experience specialist. The piece here is therefore also at his blog ijgolding.com where he has built a rich library of customer experience insights. To paraphrase what one of our top brands says, if you like this you’ll like what Ian has there too.
Ian introduces the research findings:
As I quite literally travel the world talking, listening and working with individuals and organisations who have an interest in Customer Experience, I am regularly asked who the world’s ‘best’ Customer Experience brands are. ‘Who is good at CX?’ is a pretty typical question. It is a good question to ask and one that I can most certainly answer ‘in my opinion’. However, having been asked the question so many times, rather than me just citing my opinion, I thought I would go a significant step further and ask as many people as possible for their opinions.
In January 2015, I conducted an independent survey of people across the world to find out who their ‘#1′ Customer Experience brands are and most importantly WHAT makes them their #1. In this blog post, I am delighted to officially reveal the findings of the research. Some of the findings may surprise you……some of them will not. What you can be certain of is that the findings are likely to provide validation of the things that are the most common reasons for these brands ‘delighting’ their customers.
Customer Experience is not just for the big, bold brands
The first big surprise for me was that 94 different brands were mentioned as people’s #1 Customer Experience brand in just over 200 responses . It is fascinating and encouraging to see that great Customer Experiences are not exclusively the preserve of those with huge budgets. Many of the companies named by respondents are small, independent businesses who share a similar mindset with brands we’re more familiar with. What is not a surprise though is that the top four favourite brands accounted for 40% of the responses. We’ll find out later why it is that the same brands keeping topping this kind of poll, but first, let me acknowledge the top 10 #1 Customer Experience brands coming out of the research:
Other well-known brands such as Emirates, Premier Inn, Argos, Airbnb, USAA and Sky all received endorsement as a #1 Customer Experience brand. In the interest of balance, some of the names mentioned by respondents that you are less likely to have heard of are as follows:
- Sixthman Music Festival Cruises
- Dutch Bros
- Discount Tire
- Hatem Shahim (a barber’s shop!)
- Dyreparken i Kristiansand
- Spear & Jackson
- Container store
Different countries and a variety of industries – the sheer number of organisations receiving a mention suggests that there are many doing something right – the question is – what exactly are they doing that warrants a customer such as you citing them as their #1 Customer Experience brand? Before we find out, let us just have a quick look at the commercial performance of the top 10 CX brands coming out of the research.
The right customer experience is commercially rewarding
The sheer mention of ‘Customer Experience’ and ‘Customer Centricity’, is still often greeted with a rolling of the eyes by those who are more focused on sales targets, operational efficiency and tasks. The irony though is that the former makes the latter much more successful. And it’s no coincidence that each of the top 10 brands has recent performance milestones to be proud of:
- Amazon Q4 14, net sales increased by 15% over Q4 13
- Apple 39.9% profit per product (3 months to end Dec 14)
- First Direct Moneywise “Most Trusted” and Which? Best Banking Brand
- John Lewis profit before tax up 12% in 2014 vs 2013
- Disney Earnings per share up 27% in year to Dec 2014
- Air New Zealand Earnings before taxation up 20% in H1 15 vs H1 14
- Mercedes Revenue increased 12% from 2013 to 2014
- Starbucks Revenue rise 13% in Q1 FY15
- BMW 7% increase in vehicle sales in Jan 15 vs Jan 14
- Boden Shipping 12,500 parcels each day
Pretty powerful stuff. Is it just a coincidence that the brands you are saying are the best at Customer Experience all seem to be faring pretty well on the commercial front? It appears as though all of the brands that are ‘great’ at Customer Experience share common characteristics – in fact the research identifies 13 common characteristics that are the reasons WHY these brands are #1 in your eyes. Lets us have a look at the ‘lucky’ 13!
These organisations have common characteristics
I wanted to know what it is that your favourite brands do to make them your #1 at delivering consistently good Customer Experiences. I asked for up to three reasons from each respondent and received 575 comments. Following verbatim analysis, 13 categories were identified, each distinct but interlinked. They were, as follows (with the percentage frequency they appeared):
- Corporate attitude 15.9
- They’re easy to do business with 14.9
- They’re helpful when I have a problem 11.4
- The attitude of their people 9.4
- Personalisation 8.0
- The product or service 8.0
- They’re consistent 7.5
- The way it makes me feel 6.3
- The way they treat me 5.1
- They’re reliable 4.4
- They do what they promise 4.2
- They’re quick 2.6
- The technical knowledge of their people 2.3
We will look in more detail at what we mean by each of these in a moment but to view at any one in isolation would risk limiting what is being achieved by these organisations. This diagram shows how interdependent each area is in aligning with the corporate attitude and ultimately organisational goals and the very purpose for why the business exists:
So what do the most favourite companies do, exactly?
Focusing on these attributes is what moves companies from fighting a rear-guard action to fix issues of their own making to creating a compelling a sustainable brand for the future. It also means that customers are increasingly exposed to better experiences as they go about their daily lives and that’s important because it keeps nudging the bar of expectations higher. This is why the brands that do these things are ones that people consider to be the very best at delivering consistently good Customer Experiences. Digging deeper into each of the 13 areas we can build a picture of how the companies who get it right control the way they do business.
1. Corporate attitude
It’s another way to describe organisational culture and it underpins everything that happens to or with a customer. More specifically, in the words of those who responded to the research, companies who have the right attitude:
- put people before profits and non-human automation
- know they’ll make more money in the long-run with this approach
- test all experiences thoroughly (to eliminate unintended consequences)
- listen and demonstrate they understand their customer
- pay serious attention to detail
- empower their staff to makes decisions and act straightaway
- stay true to their values, admit when things go wrong and fix them
- ensure their staff are fully trained and informed
- recruit for attitude and alignment to brand values
They also said: “…they treat each customer as we would a guest in our home” and “…they balance customer obsession, operational excellence and financial rigor”. Almost every other category is a sub-category of this one; it shows how important the right culture is.
2. They’re easy to do business with
It’s obvious to say a company should be easy to do business with and yet that’s not always the case. What respondents meant by “easy” included:
- there are no barriers in the way for doing what a customer needs to
- it’s simple to get information, purchase and use the product
- needs are anticipated and catered for
- customers don’t need to repeat information
- they can switch from one channel to another with no impact on progress
- products can be returned or fixed with minimum effort on the part of the customer
- they are available when and where customers want; they can be reached without waiting and won’t limit the hours of their support functions to office hours if customers are still using their products and services all day every day
- they are proactive in taking responsibility, eg finding products at other stores and having them delivered
- customers have no objection to self-service because it has been well thought through
- information is presented in a timely, clear and relevant way
3. Helpful and understanding when I’ve got a question
Being easy to deal with is critical when a customer needs help or simply has a question. On the assumption that good companies do respond (a recent Eptica survey found more than 50% of online inquiries go unanswered), helpful companies are ones who:
- listen to understand before acting
- give a customer the feeling that they are trusted and respected
- will provide an answer and additional, relevant help
- provide certainty and manage expectations about what will happen next and at each stage
- empower employees to make decisions
- resolve issues first time and quickly
- have employees who are happy to give their names and direct contact numbers
- preempt problems and solve them before customers are aware
- fix customers’ mistakes without blame or making them feel awkward
- follow-up afterwards to check everything was sorted and is still as it should be
- are not afraid to apologise when they get it wrong
4. Attitude of the people
Individual employees who are interacting with customers become a proxy for the brand. If they demonstrate the wrong behaviours the damage can be hugely expensive but getting them right does not cost a huge amount of money. Most often a function of the corporate attitude, the most appreciated characteristics are:
- being courteous and friendly
- a positive, “I’ll sort it” attitude
- they are good at listening
- it’s obvious they care about, and are proud of, the product/service
- they are professional and not pushy
- they are helpful and proactive
- they are genuine and humble
- they smile
- hey are engaging and interested in the customer
- they have personality, not a corporate script
- they are patient
- they show respect for their fellow colleagues
We are all individuals and like to be treated as such. Having “big data” was seen as the answer but as these companies demonstrate, it’s not only more important to have the right data and do the right things with it, but it’s also linked again to corporate attitude. Those who get the personalisation right:
- understand, anticipate and are proactive
- keep customers informed with relevant information
- shows they listen and act, not just collect feedback
- create a relaxed environment because a customer’s needs fits neatly into what they are offering
- create a feeling of respect, that they care and have “taken the time to know me, to make things easier for me”
- make it feel like dealing with a person where there’s a connection, not just a transaction
- allow their customers to control the degree of personalisation in terms of frequency and content
- remain flexible and adaptive to the circumstances, not scripted
6. The product or service itself
Making it easy, personal and rewarding will be wasted effort if the core product or service doesn’t live up to expectation. At the end of the day, your business has to have something of value to the customer to sell! When it comes to products and services, the #1 Customer Experience brands are those who:
- the right mix of choice, relevance, quality and innovation
- well designed, so it is easy to get it to do what it’s supposed to
- quality is complemented by relevant innovation, not technical innovation for the sake of it
- obsessive about the detail
- paying as much attention to secondary products, such as food on airlines
- good at turning necessary evils into compelling attributes – Air New Zealand’s legendary on-board safety briefings, for example
- adept at keeping up with, ahead of and shaping basic expectations
As customers we like certainty and predictability. It means that the decisions we make carry less risk because we can confidently trust the outcomes. It also demonstrates stability of, and a shared understanding of, strategy. For our respondents, consistency is about experiences that:
- look and feel the same
- can continue easily wherever, whenever and however
- match or build on the positive expectations created last time
- have continuity in not only what happens but how it happens; tone of voice, quality, different locations, store or franchise, people and processes, performance
- provide the same reliable answers to the same questions
- integrate with other services
8. The way it makes me feel
Emotions are a function of how good the other two cornerstones of Customer Experience – function and accessibility – are. How they were made to feel, whether intentional or not, is what people remember. Being the personal consequence of most if not all the issues covered here, it is what drives our behaviour about whether or not we will do the same next time and tell others to do the same. If people think they are part of something special, connected to a company that lives by like-minded values, they will FEEL special. And as human beings, we appreciate that. Survey espondents cited a number of great examples:
- “get on an Air New Zealand flight anywhere in the world it already feels like you’re home”
- “the packaging increases the anticipation when opening a new product” (Apple)
- “interactions with employees don’t feel like processes out of an operating manual”
- “there is (the perception of) a genuine relationship; it’s not just about them selling every time they are in touch”
- “they make me feel as if I’m their only customer” (Land Rover)
9. The way they treat me
At the root of how we feel and therefore behave is often down to how we are treated. Good and great companies have experiences that:
- demonstrate respect
- show an empathy with customer needs
- don’t do things like asking a customer to repeat information if handed from one colleague to another
- keep customers posted on feedback they’ve given
- recognise their customers both by staff individually in-store and organisationally
- have a consistency of treatment even when not spending money in-store
- create relevant retail environments so that customers feel they are treated as if they are somewhere special
- develop meaningful loyalty programmes that acknowledge past purchases and reward future ones
- are not patronising in tone
10. They’re reliable
Not surprisingly, reliability is cited as a key attribute. Although we simply expect things to work as they did last time or as it was promised, we probably won’t get too excited if that is the case. However, the consequences of it not happening will result in additional time, effort, inconvenience and sometimes cost to the customer; not what a brand would want to be blamed for. There are some markets where the mere hint of a lack of reliability in its truest sense has serious consequences for a brand. More generally, reliable customer experiences are ones that
- give confidence and a level of trust that what we ask for when we buy is what we get; there are no nasty surprises
- understand that they are key to repeat purchases and advocacy. No-one will put their own reputation on the line to recommended any brand product or service that is unreliable
11. They do what they promise
Again, this is a character trait we appreciate in friends, family and colleagues and it’s no different when dealing with a business. It can be seen as a subset of “the way they treat me” but it is also critical at a strategic level too; the brand is what people say it does and so that has to be consistent with what it’s promising, just as its employees need to keep their own promises to customers too. There’s a real financial benefit here too where unnecessary and costly rework can be avoided. How many enquiries coming into the business are because “You said you’d get someone to call back”, “You said you’d send me a copy of that statement” or “Where’s my fridge, I’ve had to take the whole day off work and there’s still no sign of it”. Customer experiences that do what they promise:
- live up to the expectations they set
- have employees that do what they say they will do
- do it all consistently
- fix it quick if they fail
- are good at managing expectations
As customers, time (alongside money) is a commodity we trade with. A company who appreciates the finite and precious nature of it will create a distinct advantage. In today’s everything-everywhere-now life it’s not surprising that speed is an issue. Expectations are rising all the time where customers interacting with other brands see what can be done. Quick customer experiences are ones that:
- move at the right speed for customers
- show respect by having have good reaction times once a customer has initiated part one of a two-way activity
- manage expectations, so if it’s not “quick” as defined by customers there are also, no disappointing surprises
- are not just focused on speed of delivery but are quick to answer the phone, flexibility to find ways around rules and respond to questions
13. People knowledge
Having people who are technically competent with their product knowledge is another character of top brands. Companies that possess employees like this have an invaluable asset who are:
- able to translate the concerns and questions
- able to articulate complex issues in simple language
- are not patronising
- are proud that their knowledge can help someone else
There is no shortage of good and great experiences to learn from and they bring favourable commercial results to the companies that do have them. They don’t have to be high-tech out-of-this-world experiences; simply knowing what the basic expectations are should not be that hard and delivering them well time after time should just be the norm. This independent research also shows that it’s a combination of characteristics that matter, not one in isolation. That said, experiences, customers and balance sheets are always given an essential boost where having the‘right attitude’ is the common thread running right through the organisation.
A huge thank you to all those who participated in this research – without you giving up your valuable time and insight, I would not be able to share such valuable output.
An even bigger thank you to my friend and colleague, Jerry Angrave. Not only has Jerry co-authored this post, he also conducted the detailed analysis of the research results. A brilliant CX mind, he is also one of the most genuine Customer Experience practitioners I have ever met. You can read more of Jerry’s work at empathyce.com – I strongly encourage you to do so!
… and thank you to Ian too. I hope you found the post interesting but if you have any questions or other brands who you think should top the list, do get in touch. We’ll also shortly be looking at the opposite side of things and what customer experiences turn brands into our least favourite so watch this space!
Jerry Angrave | [email protected] | +44 (0)7917 718 072
Airports and the people who use them want different versions of the same thing from the passenger experience. Whether we’re transiting through one or managing one, the common need is for it to be efficient. But this research report into what passengers tell each other about good and bad experiences shows that the way customers define efficiency is not always the same as how airports measure it.
- The ideal passenger experience is in airport that simply does what it’s supposed to and in a pleasant environment
- The consequences of long queues, inadequate facilities and the wrong staff attitude are what make people use a different airport next time
- An airport’s obsessive focus on processing efficiency risks doing the wrong things well and needing to spend resource on fixing self-inflicted problems
The gap between what airports think and what passengers think is a crucial one. All the while that metrics are being collated and analysed, if they are the wrong ones, airports will be oblivious to why passengers are exercising their choices and voices. In Barcelona last year, Andy Lester of Christchurch airport summed it up well when he talked of rebuilding after the 2011 New Zealand earthquake and observed
“If you think like an airport you’ll never understand your customers”.
We’ve seen recently a flurry of airports celebrating bigger passenger numbers and new routes with new airlines. Yet their customers react with a sigh because many of those airports are already at or beyond passenger numbers that make going through the airport a tolerable experience.
At the risk of generalising, airports aim to get as many people through the airport as possible, as efficiently as possible. It needs to be done in a way that means they can spend as much money as possible, come back as often as possible and tell everyone they know to do the same. If it moves (that is either people or bags) they can barcoded, processed and measured. How many get from A to B in as little time or at least cost becomes the primary, sometimes, sole focus. All of which makes good operational sense, given the complexity and challenges of running an airport in a way that airlines will be confident is using.
But what are passengers concerned with and what is their version of what efficiency means? Kiosks with red, orange and green buttons greet us everywhere to ask how the service was. While that allows an AQS metric to be reported and tracked, there is no qualitative, actionable insight let alone allowances for mischievous kids or cleaners tapping away as they pass. However, the travel industry is blessed with no shortage of customers willing and able to give their feedback – and that in turn creates a vast reservoir of insight not only for customers choosing an airport but for the airports to tap into themselves.
From that readily available information I’ve researched to see what customers said to each other about what makes an airport good or bad. Using feedback on airports left at the Airline Quality / Skytrax review site I organised over 750 descriptions behind why passengers gave an airport a score of 9 or 10 (out of 10) and then 0 or 1.
Passenger experience key findings:
Where there were positive experiences, 98% of the comments can be summarised into one of two areas; either that it worked or that it was in a nice environment. That might seem obvious, and to a large degree it is. However, if it is so obvious then why are passengers still telling each other about cases where it’s anything but efficient?
The negative experiences were more fragmented in their causes, being about the function of the airport building, how good the processes in it are, staff attitude and information. What is clear is that a bad experience is significantly more negatively emotive than good experiences are positive. The core expectation is that everything will work as it’s meant to. If it does, great. But where it falls short, the consequences are commercially harmful, as typified by this message:
“I intend to avoid any lengthy stay in this airport again even if it means having to pay more to fly direct – it’s worth the price to keep your sanity”
One: 55% of the reasons for a good score were simply about it being “efficient”
Airport experiences do not all have to have a Wow! factor. First and foremost, passengers just want everything to work. It’s a truism that without the basics in place being done well and consistently, a Wow! becomes a Waste of Work.
A noticeable number of passengers used the word “efficient” in their reviews, by which they were referring to things such as (in order of how often these were mentioned)
- there was almost no experience, in that everything worked as it should
- when they needed to interact with staff, the response was courteous and helpful
- getting around the airport was easy because of good signage and easily accessible information
- they didn’t have to wait long on arrival to collect bags and head on the next leg of their journey
- getting to and from the airport was easy, with good connections and acceptable parking charges
Two: 43% of the reasons for a good score were about a nice airport environment
The most efficient, effective, high-tech and innovative processes will all have their business-case ROI ruined if the environment in which they operate makes people feel like they are being treated with contempt. Often that happens unintentionally but if the value-exchange is one-sided, there is only so long a customer will put up with it. Chances are they have spent a lot of time and money on this trip, they are by definition not yet where they want to be and anything that is perceived as not making their journey any easier will count against the airport. It puts into context why people value a pleasant environment, the most common specific examples of which included:
- shops were relevant, toilets were sufficient in number and the general facilities laid on were good
- everywhere was kept clean and tidy
- the layout was spacious with plenty of comfortable seating
- the atmosphere throughout was one of calm, bright and quiet
- good wi-fi connections were cited but this is increasingly sliding down the food-chain to be a basic expectation; its absence being more of an issue than its presence.
What do they say when the experience is a good one? Here are some examples:
“It’s clean. It makes you believe they are aware of their customers’ health and wellbeing”
“If you have the option to use this airport, it is a great choice”
“It never lets me down”
Three: 48% of the negative reasons were about the facilities
Where customers were giving airports a score of 0 or 1, the biggest gripe was that the airport couldn’t cope with the volume of passengers. The resulting slow and uncomfortable journey through the airport creates frustration and anxiety. It’s made worse by the fact that as passengers we not unreasonably expect airports to know exactly who is going to be in the airport each day and to be prepared. Other consequences of the over-crowding included poor seating, a dirty and gloomy atmosphere and poor choices of food and drink.
It’s for these reasons that an airport celebrating a rise in new passenger numbers might want to acknowledge and address the concerns of existing customers at the same time.
Four: 28% of the negative reasons were about processes
For passengers, security, immigration and baggage handling fall into the category of processes that should just work every time. Where they do, it’s fine, but where they fall short, they can have a significant impact on influencing whether a passenger will choose that airport again.
Slow moving queues, duty free goods being confiscated in transit, poorly translated instructions and slow baggage reclaims were among the specific processes that riled customers. Again, it becomes emotive because these are all seen as avoidable inconveniences when we experience other airports who can and do get it right.
Five: 13% of the negative reasons were about staff
As a generally compliant travelling public (and I accept there are exceptions, such as when peanuts are served in bags), going through an airport can be a daunting experience even in the best of terminals. The one thing we hope we can rely on is that when we need to interact with another human being there will be a mutual respect, a helping hand or at least clear instructions so we can indeed be compliant. Airports go out of their way to train staff and yet the evidence is that many are still failing.
Rude, unempathetic, incompetent, unhelpful, deliberately slow and uncaring are just some of the ways staff were described. Any organisation is dependent on having good relationships but where one side feels they are being treated with contempt, it becomes a very deep scar to heal.
A customer wrote about their disappointing and surprising experience at one of the largest US airports where there were
“Miserable, nasty employees, barking and screaming at customers as if they were dogs”.
Six: 11% of the negative reasons were about information
It’s an area airports have focused on and with a good deal of success. Making passengers more self-sufficient and having employees being better at handling questions has benefits for all sides. But there are still airports where having the right information at the right time in the right place is still elusive; more specifically, passengers concerns around information was that either there was none, it was inadequate, it was wrong or it was confusing – all frustrating when we live in a world dominated by technology and information.
So what? Why is it important and what does it tell us?
- Poor experiences make people choose other airports next time. Passengers’ expectations are not only set by what it was like last time, but by how other airports do it and by their interactions with other companies they deal with in their day-to-day lives. So where things don’t meet the basic expectations, not only does that impact on revenue for the airport there is also a commercial consequence for airline partners. For example, some passengers said
“I usually fly Delta but will now try to avoid them – to avoid Atlanta”, and
“Because of this airport I will never fly Etihad again”
- Depending on which piece of research you read, anything between 75% and 95% of customers are influenced by what others say. Any robust customer strategy will have at its core a clear vision of what the experiences need to be in order that passengers will think, feel, do and share as intended. Many organisations now build into their customer journey mapping a stage specifically to address the “I’m sharing what it was like” issues.
- An obsession with metric-driven efficiency and processes that work for the airport’s operations team but not for passengers creates blind-spots as to what will help drive non-aeronautical revenue. Customers themselves recognised this by saying
“All of time put aside to shop was spent queueing”, and
“They have allowed way too many people to use this place. Cannot be good for business as nobody has time to spend any money in the shops or bars”
Declan Collier of London City Airport reinforces the point about the dangers of process focus, task orientation and metric myopia when he talks about being “in the people business” and that the fortunes of LCY will “rise or fall on the ability of its people”.
For example, last year I questioned the fanfare for an app that tells passengers where their lost bags are. I accept that bags go missing but as a passenger, whether I’ve a smart-phone and free hands or not, I’d prefer to have seen the investment directed to not leaving me feeling awkward and helpless standing by an empty baggage carousel. However, I was told by a large airport hub that the rationale was that it would mean transiting passengers could run for their connection without having to worry about collecting bags that weren’t there. I was told that yes, running is part of the expected experience and my concerns about what that is like for my confused mother or my autistic son fell on deaf ears. I was told I don’t understand airport operations and they’re right, I don’t. But I do understand what it’s like to be a passenger.
- The best airport experiences don’t need to be expensive, complex or high-tech. Think what a difference just having engaged, helpful and friendly staff makes – and that doesn’t take a huge piece of capex to justify, just a degree of collaboration with employees and third parties who have the airport’s brand reputation in their hands.
- One observation in the course of the research was that the high and low scores often applied to the same airports. That has to be a concern and worthy of investigating; why can it be done so well at times but not at others? How come all the effort and pride can create advocates some of the time but at other times is just handing passengers to competitors?
Final thoughts on the airport passenger experience
These days, people do not expect a poor passenger experience. The bar is climbing higher and in simple terms that just means doing the right things well. Earlier this year, writer Alastair Campbell travelled through Terminal 2 and sent this tweet to his 285,000 followers:
Unsurprisngly, Heathrow’s social media team proudly retweeted it to a similar number of their followers. Within 15 minutes, this positive message was shared with well over half a million people. And all because the experience was simply – and “amazingly” – smooth and quick. Nothing more complicated than that.
It’s not just about giving customers the right experiences every time. To make an airport efficient for passengers as well as managers it also needs to avoid giving the wrong experiences, ever. The commercial consequences are riding on it.
Passengers know that as well as anyone. So if there’s one message, then it is that the airport and its brand is only as good as people tell each other it is.
I hope you find this report useful and interesting but email [email protected] or call me on +44 (0) 7917 718 072 if you’ve any questions or comments – I’d love to hear your views.