For any business that operates within a customer-facing environment, customer service is the most vital aspect of creating memorable and personalised experiences. It is a natural ambition for any company to have a team that is ‘always willing to go the extra mile’, and busy airline operators are no different. Numerous studies have resulted in links between having a highly engaged workforce and higher levels of productivity, with research by Dale Carnegie Group in particular finding that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by as much as 202 percent.
“Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. The emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t just work for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organisation’s goals.” – Kevin Kruse
It is essential for organisations to strive for higher levels of employee engagement, as employees that feel valued and involved are more likely to demonstrate belief in the business, a desire to make things better and an inherent understanding of ‘the bigger picture.’
Communication is Crucial
Being the embodiment of an organisation, successful corporate communication is a gigantic industry all on its own. Clear and concise internal communications grant companies a platform to project a distinct voice; one that is measured, clear and controlled. With the aim of bringing people together for the benefit of customers, clients, staff members, partners, directors, (virtually any person at any level that has a direct link to the company) internal communication can ease anxieties, celebrate triumphs and set out guidelines about expected standards of employee behaviour. It can also dramatically alter staff levels of engagement, which in turn impacts on their levels of productivity. The Workplace Research Foundation found that companies whom actively engage their employees have an average of 2.69 sick days taken annually (per employee), compared to companies with weak engagement efforts reporting an average of 6.19 days.
The need for engaged and productive employees increases significantly during busy periods or large-scale, organised events. Back in 2012, when the Olympic Games were hosted in London, Gatwick airport relied extensively on a good communication strategy to ensure that the athletes, their families, coaches, media and general Games spectators had a smooth, welcoming and exceptional passenger experience. 471,000 extra passengers from 68 countries around the world descended into London to witness the event, with Gatwick acting as unofficial partner for the Games. Airport operators recognised the significance of ensuring their employees were left in no doubt as to how their individual roles in the welcome and departure process equated to an excellent passenger experience, and plans for a concrete communication strategy began as early as 2010.
Speaking on behalf of Gatwick airport at the time, Caroline Thorpe, the airport communication manager said, “As well as faultless co-ordination between staff, airport partners and volunteer groups, it was important we maintained energy and a sense of celebration, recognition and community spirit to keep delivering through the summer. We delivered a high energy and virtually faultless Games process thanks to the energy and dedication of our teams.”
In this particular instance, Gatwick relied on its traditional channels of communication (such as its intranet, internal magazine and weekly e-updates) as well as its internal social networking tool, Yammer, to engage, inform and communicate with employees.
However, four years later, (and in the grip of the 2016 Rio Olympic games) the technology behind digital signage and its capabilities have advanced so significantly that it is now easier than ever to deploy communications in a digital format rather than almost archaic, traditional options.
With a retention rate that can be anywhere between 30-50 percent higher than information delivered via print, and 54 percent of employees now expecting to see video in the work place, digital signage has rapidly emerged as a flexible, creative and entertaining communication platform that stimulates employees and creates an inclusive, informative and open environment with the click of a button.
One of the most beneficial elements of digital signage is the opportunity for reactivity. The content being displayed on screen can be deployed as real-time situations develop, for example if wait times are getting too long and passengers are becoming irate, reminders of how to appropriately handle and diffuse situations can be displayed instantly. Furthermore, if an employee goes out of their way to ensure a passenger’s experience is as smooth as possible, recognition for their actions can be deployed immediately rather than waiting for a monthly newsletter, or for said employee to go online to view it in an intranet post.
The variety of content that can be posted also ensures that employees are consistently engaged and entertained, rather than switching off after viewing repetitive information. Industry news, live updates, announcements, achievements, training reminders…the possibilities are endless.
As with any aspect of life, good communication is vital. For airport operators and airlines that employ masses of people, it is even more so. A workforce that is happy and engaged equates to higher levels of productivity and overall better results, with the passenger experience benefitting the most overall.
Libby Johnson is Content Marketing Assistant for SignStix, an award-winning, cloud-based digital signage platform. She has a passion for creating engaging and valuable insights, and a keen interest in digital customer experiences.
SignStix is a member of the Digital Signage Federation, the only independent, not-for-profit trade organization serving the digital signage industry. The DSF supports and promotes the common business interests of worldwide digital signage, interactive technologies and digital out-of-home network industries. To learn more, go to www.digitalsignagefederation.org