Emerging Issues for ACRP:
Total Customer Experience


Background Statement

Customer service for airports is a constantly-evolving, moving target. A customer’s experience is influenced at many touch points, from visiting an airport’s website, traveling to the airport, being processed by security, visiting concessions, and boarding the flight. There are also other customers (i.e. meeter/greeters, tenants, GA users), yet airports often have limited influence on many of their touchpoints. A positive customer experience is the goal of airport communities and can result in increased spending at the airport. ACRP Report 157: Improving the Airport Customer Experience offers comprehensive guidance to help airports address many topics related to improving and maintaining customer experience. However, the evolving expectations of airport customers, combined with the emergence of new technologies and social issues, suggests an update and broadened scope for the ACRP Report 157.

Research Ideas

  • Update ACRP Report 157: Improve the airport experience to address needs of customers, tenants, and GA users among key topics:
    • Keep track of ever-changing expectations
    • Demographic trends
    • Focus not only on technology but fundamentals
    • Identify core touchpoints (and responsibility)
    • Wayfinding, electronic signage
    • How to manage the diurnal peaks—e.g., TSA staffing, concession staffing
    • Setting expectations for tenants
    • How to monitor and measure performance
    • Geographic spread of destinations within airport service area (e.g., move to suburbs and ground access implications)
    • Airports collaborate with airlines regarding what they see and hear from their customers
    • Get all stakeholders working together
    • Focus on front-facing staff (regardless who they work for—airport, airlines, etc.)
    • Mandatory or voluntary customer service training
    • Developing a unified approach to the experience from customers’ perspective
    • Techniques to turn around a bad experience in real time
    • How can we affect the “aura” of an airport?
    • Determining which improvements would really matter
    • Challenges—how does an airport know what people want—how do they meet that need? How do they prioritize? How much will it cost?
    • How can airports create a feeling of safety?
    • How do airports keep abreast of what other airports are doing—U.S. and International?
    • How do airports get data? How do airports identify customers (are there customers we haven’t defined)?
    • Can airports do concierge service like “personalized” emails? For example, send a message “I see you’re using the airport at a busy time; you might want to leave early.”
    • New technologies (like beacons, apps)
    • An airport is a “brand.” How do airports develop, promote brand? How do airports mobilize multiple stakeholders to maintain brand? Promotion of the airport brand vs airline brands vs other brands (e.g. retails, etc.)? Airports creating their own “frequent flyer” program (e.g. Groupe ADP in Paris)?
    • What’s a good timeframe for concession leases, particularly food & beverage? Performance measures.
    • Can airports individualize the customer experience? How do airports tailor experiences to meet unique needs of customer?

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