ACRP Report 157: Improving the Airport Customer Experience is aguidebook that documents notable and emerging practices in airport customer service management that increase customer satisfaction, recognizing the different types of customers (e.g., passengers, meeters and greeters, employees) and types and sizes of airports. It also identifies what airports can do to further improve the customer experience. This guidebook will provide airport staff, specifically customer service managers and others with responsibilities for managing and improving the customer experience, with comprehensive resources of management practices and understanding of current trends, information sources on customer service improvements, and practical tools that can be used for implementing a customer service improvement program. The practices, strategies, tools, and techniques described in the guidebook are expected to benefit a number of airport stakeholders including airport operators, the travelling public, and members of the airport community including service providers, concessionaires, airlines, government agencies and other airport tenants, elected officials, and airport board members.
The guidebook provides key drivers of customer satisfaction including the top positive and negative influences for the customer experience; methods to engage airport stakeholders to improve customer satisfaction “from roadway to runway," including the use of innovative technologies; a template to implement a strategy for a customer satisfaction improvement program for a variety of types and sizes of airports, including staffing and budget considerations; and guidance to develop performance indicators to measure customer satisfaction.
Airports strive to continually improve customer service to meet the growing challenges of customer satisfaction. However, the stress of air travel has become a risk to customer satisfaction. Additionally, airports of different types and sizes face different challenges. Where options exist, travelers may avoid airports with a poor customer service reputation. Alternatively, good customer service may have a positive effect on the airport and its community and is part of a trend that has rapidly gained momentum as more and more airports have made improved customer service a priority. While data exist to help airports benchmark their customer service performance, there is no comprehensive guidance available on how to improve the overall experience.
Under ACRP Project 01-26, research was conducted by LeighFisher in association with Butterfly Consulting and Experience Engineering. The information in the guidebook was gathered by identifying airports that have had notable success in improving customer service. Target airports were developed using several methods: airports mentioned in articles compiled in the literature review, airport ratings of Skytrax and ACI ASQ surveys and an email survey to ACI-NA Customer Service Working Group. This resulted in a list of 22 airports for a general survey and 18 for a secondary survey. Separate surveys were also conducted with six leading terminal architects.