Beat the Competition With Better Customer Service

An airport director recently shared an amusing story. He said the airport’s social media policy worked so well that when they received a Tweet about a lack of toilet paper in one of their restrooms, they were able to remedy the problem in less than 60 seconds.

While his story put a smile on my face, the situation he describes might have been no laughing matter if this Tweet had gone viral and cast the airport in a negative light. Instead the airport’s responsiveness generated a second Tweet complimenting them on how quickly they resolved the problem.

Now that’s customer service!

My father owned a grocery store for many years and as a teenager, I often tired of his responses to my complaints about this or that customer. He would tell me “the customer is always right” and that I needed to do “whatever it takes to give them the best possible experience when they shop at our store.”

In the aviation industry, his words ring especially true. As airports across the United States prepare for further cuts in flights and seats, Michael Boyd, chairman of Boyd Group International, a leader in aviation consulting, research and forecasting, warns of the negative impact these measures may have on airport revenue streams. The reality is: Today’s airport environment is highly competitive and passengers, airlines and retail/concessionaires can (and do) pick one airport over another. Because of this, airports need to be attractive, effective, and offer a customer experience that is heads and shoulders above the rest.

Savvy airport directors are making hay by developing and leasing airport lands; adding technology to improve parking structures and increase parking revenue; revamping tired retail spaces to attract luxury retail/concessionaires; undertaking initiatives to attract new airlines; and developing new branding, marketing, and yes, social media strategies, all in the name of building revenue.

Airport Business stands uniquely poised to help readers as they position their airports for future growth. As the magazine’s new editor, I plan to draw upon my own background as an aviation, security and business writer, and as a business owner, to provide you with editorial that helps you ensure your airport is the best it can be; even as federal financial support dwindles and competition for passengers grows.

To that end, I’m interested in hearing what you’re doing in the name of customer service, revenue building and future growth. If you have a story you would like to share or a project you’d like to see featured in the pages of the magazine, send emails to I too take customer service very seriously — my father made sure of that!