Collaboration Essential to Customer Service in Airports

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By Christine Cusatis, Centerlines Editor
When it comes to customer service at airports, you could say it takes a village.

During a panel on Building Bridges for Customer Excellence, Pat Hogan, Minneapolis-St. Paul, said his airport utilizes a customer service action council to bring together the airport authority, airlines, concessionaires and service providers to jointly improve the customer experience. The council meets monthly to identify issues, develop action plans and review measured results.

In addition, customer service training is provided through an airport-wide effort to encourage employees to meet defined service standards.

“More than 1,600 people were trained in 2012,” Hogan said.

Dennis Tracy, Visit Jacksonville, echoed the importance of team efforts with an overview of the convention and visitors bureau’s joint marketing efforts with the Jacksonville Airport Authority.

“We are both in the same business, and that is to bring more people to Jacksonville,” he said.

Becky Huckaby, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, provided a look into the Aviation Academy that was held as part of the 75th anniversary of McGhee Tyson Airport.

The four-night educational event provided community leaders and the media with transparent, “behind-the-scenes” access to the inner workings of the airport. Speakers included representatives from the airport authority, NSSA, TSA and FAA, among others.

Huckaby received extremely positive feedback after the event, which proved successful at building a stronger community network.

“It’s a way of opening people’s eyes,” she said.