Airport Services – Don’t Forget the Customer Service Aspect

Oct. 13, 2016
Planning for customer service means building more revenues for the future.

Thousands of people move through airports each day. Some only have time to hit up the burger chain or grab a magazine. But many passengers are looking for services that make the overall travel experience easier and more convenient – services like shuttles, car washes, on-site pet boarding or drop-off dry-cleaning.

So why the sudden rush to add services? One reason is a lack of physical space for growth – with land at a premium and new retailers hard to attract, improvements in customer service are soon estimated to account for more revenue potential than additional retail space. For flyers, this means more than happy gate agents and not losing their luggage – it means making the end-to-end experience better.

Go the extra mile

With an explosion of services comes an increased need for service providers to manage customer expectations and provide premium support. It’s especially important to have dedicated, customer-service teams and to tap into the latest tools for support, such as callback, click-to-call and chat.

Consider this scenario: Before an upcoming flight, you call into the airport’s 1-800 line to inquire about the valet and car wash prices, but are placed on hold, or transferred to the service provider and then put on hold. In either scenario, you are more likely to hang up and go get your car washed elsewhere.

What if instead of being placed immediately on hold, you’re given the exact wait time and the option of staying on hold or being called back – either as soon as the next agent is available or at a time more convenient for you. With the peace of mind knowing you haven’t lost your place in queue, you can continue to enjoy your day without the sound of on-hold music in your ear.

When it comes to customer service, waiting on hold is the No. 1 customer frustration. According to customer experience research by Accenture, 71 percent of customers view valuing their time as the most important component of customer service. In other words, airport service providers need to cut the wait.

With callback, customer effort is decreased and positive perception is increased. Whether a customer chooses to receive a callback as soon as possible or at a future time, they are immediately connected with the right representative to solve the issue at hand – saving both the customer’s and the agent’s time by increasing first-call resolution rates. That means less customer effort, increased positive perception and better use of personnel regardless of an airport’s size.

The same results are true for digital channels. Simply allowing a customer to choose a callback time via a website or mobile app can give customers back a sense of power and satisfaction.

Give your agents more runway

When customers reach an uninformed, customer-service representative, they tend to have negative experiences. As airports seek to add more services, empowering agents to expertly handle every interaction will be critical for success.
Omnichannel callback enables the customer to request a voice callback from the channel or device of their choice. For example, a traveler’s journey often starts online, and an airport’s website is a great place to begin learning about new services.

When a customer schedules a callback, information collected includes customer data, the channels they have used, and information requested. Once gathered, information can be imported and organized into a customer interaction repository – providing agents with a singular access point for the call’s context. This data helps align customer context with agent availability and skills. In other words, instead of handling a call blind, agents know who the customer is and the reason for their call.

Empowered with information to provide a relevant response, agents are better able to create a positive experience for the customer, and improve the reputation of the service brand.

Take to the skies

When it comes to offering enhanced services, airports need to carefully consider the type of services that their travelers want – but the work doesn’t end there. To make sure those services deliver on customer expectations and improve the overall bottom line for the airport, develop top-notch support teams and leverage the best tools for customer satisfaction.

Jaime Bailey serves as senior director of marketing at Virtual Hold Technology. With more than 16 years of experience, she stewards a team focused on understanding the customer experience, applying new marketing techniques and maximizing ROI. She can be reached at: [email protected].