Customer service is playing a larger role in the management of airports. It is a core value for airports. Understanding and meeting customer needs and expectations are the key to operating and managing an airport successfully.
The new realities of doing business in the 21st century require airports to think holistically about the services provided to their customers. Customers have rising expectations about the services and standard of service that an airport should provide. They expect their experience to be as effortless and enjoyable as possible.
The majority of travelers do not distinguish between who is responsible for the quality of services whether it is airlines, the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, concessionaires or other airport partners.
Nowadays, air travel can be challenging for passengers. From parking vehicles and checking bags to clearing security, customers want a seamless travel experience. Airports around the world are working hard to improve facilitation and bring convenience to travelers.
Airport Service Quality
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is focused on customer satisfaction for passengers, business partners, and aviation department staff. Customer needs are identified through many tools such as the quarterly Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Survey of passengers, customer feedback via the department’s Customer Relationship Management System (CRMS), focus groups, meetings with business partners, and the annual Employee Survey.
Customer feedback is used by management as leading indicators of aviation department and business partners’ performance. AUS is always looking to improve on the existing processes and find ways to deliver on the changing needs of its customers.
To measure and benchmark service quality, AUS joined the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) passenger survey in 2006. Prior to that, the airport tried other tools but none of them were as effective as the ASQ program.
The ASQ program was introduced by Airports Council International (ACI) in 2006 to help airports improve and invest in the passenger experience. Since its introduction, the ASQ program has led to the development of industry best practices.
The ASQ Survey is based on the results of more than 300,000 questionnaires completed by passengers at airports worldwide, and captures the passengers’ perception of the quality of more than 30 aspects of service.
A Comprehensive Survey
The ASQ Survey is a leading airport customer satisfaction benchmarking program with over 200 airports in more than 50 countries surveying passengers every month of the year. All airports use the same questionnaire and follow the same methodology. To ensure comparable results, a detailed sample plan tailored to each airport’s traffic is used. The wide range of ASQ participants allows each airport to select an appropriate benchmarking panel.
The ASQ passenger survey measures customer satisfaction on a range of service delivery parameters. Each survey covers key parameters of the passenger experience: check-in, security, getting to the gate, signage, cleanliness, and amenities. Passengers are surveyed on various elements and are asked to rank them on a scale of one to five.
This powerful tool helps identify best practices in quality customer service from the world’s top-performing airports. Excelling in customer service is a result of continued effort and commitment to providing the best possible service. ASQ helps airports understand where to focus their financial and human resources.
The ASQ Survey results indicate the key factors that influence passengers. These factors relate to the core processes and basic needs of passengers such as cleanliness of the terminal, availability of washrooms, waiting times, courtesy, and helpfulness of staff.
The ASQ program is also vital to understanding airport customer service rankings relative to peer airports in order to prioritize resource investment. Analysis of this valuable information enables airports to clearly understand passenger needs and align service provision with customer expectations.