Customer-centricity is no longer a nice luxury to have. In an increasingly digital world that empowers consumers with more choice than ever before, customer-centricity is a necessity. But despite this obvious shift in power to the customer, which affects everything from marketing campaigns to sales pipelines, many airports still lack a customer-focused approach.
According to Deloitte, client-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies not focused on the customer. But it’s not just about the money. As we ride out the turbulence following the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe it’s more important than ever to bridge the gap between an airport and its customers.
Join us as we take a closer look into why customer experience is important for airports and how to place your customers at the heart of everything you do.
A customer-centric approach to business focuses on creating and providing a positive experience throughout the customer lifecycle. The aim is to encourage repeat business, increase customer loyalty and ultimately, drive business growth.
However, customer experience (CX) goes beyond simply providing good customer service. While that’s certainly a part of it, CX must account for every customer touchpoint with your airport – from viewing your ecommerce site, making a booking, visiting your airport and leaving a review on social media. Building a great customer experience requires a solid understanding of your customer personas, needs, and every single touchpoint.
As consumer expectations and competition increase, making it easy for people to take their business elsewhere, CX has become central to the process of customer acquisition and retention. In fact, customers prioritise positive experiences above all else, with 74% of consumers claiming they’re likely to make a purchase on customer experience alone. Additionally, CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, exceeding both brand and price combined.
During this period of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on CX shows no signs of decreasing. However, for airports to meet customer needs and expectations, they must gain a much deeper understanding of the people who pass through their terminals. They need the data to not only react to but anticipate customer demand.
And it all starts with the simple act of listening.
Tune into your customers’ voices. In 2021, social media is unavoidable. It’s where your customers are, where they share their opinions (whether good or bad), and it’s where you have the opportunity to connect with them on a personal level.
If customers are posting about your airport, you need to know what they’re saying. Set up Facebook check-in and follow hashtags across all platforms so you can easily track posts about your airport. Respond to customer queries, positive reviews and even complaints promptly and professionally. Keep your external messaging consistent, remembering that it not only influences the customers you are responding to but those viewing your social media profiles to form an opinion of your airport before they choose to book with you.
The same goes for review sites. Listening to feedback and acting on it continuously closes the gap between what your airport is promising customers and the experience you deliver.
Direct insight is hugely valuable and will help to shape future marketing campaigns. It also gives context, allowing you to identify whether problems raised in negative feedback are common to your entire customer base or just a one-off bad experience. This process is achievable using online polls or surveys, integrated within the booking journey, or with engaging, personalised emails timed to send when a customer returns home from their trip.
Go a step further and gather real-time feedback at your airport from customers at various touchpoints before, during and after their journey using QR code scanning. Customers simply scan a QR code displayed in your car park, airport lounge, retail outlet or even the toilets to leave their feedback. Using Rezcomm’s KPI and Feedback system, information is delivered in real-time so you can take action immediately.
As we mentioned earlier, building a great customer experience requires a solid understanding of your customers. Using a Centralised Information Management System, airports can build a complete picture of customers, including the bookings and purchases they’ve made and the touchpoints they’ve accessed, to create hyper-personalised content and deliver a customer-centric experience.
Use measurement tools to track customer feedback and gain greater visibility of the customer journey. Visual reports will help your teams across all departments to understand how their actions contribute to the overall customer experience.
While placing your airport’s customers at the heart of everything you do is essential, it must be data-driven. Measure what matters most to your customers, set improvement goals and track your progress with Rezcomm’s intuitive Business module. Let us help you bring your marketplace to life with visual, easy-to-use dashboards and reports giving you all the data you need at your fingertips.
Once you have a clear insight into real customer experience, it’s time to take action. Use feedback and data to drive marketing campaigns, personalise communications and even decision making. And as you start to implement these changes, be sure to tell your customers about them. A simple email subject line like ‘the improvements we’ve made since you’ve been away or ‘you asked so we delivered’ can re-engage customers and ensure they feel a valued part of your airport business.
You might have big plans to prioritise your customers, but a customer-centric approach won’t succeed if your team isn’t on board. Your airport needs to foster a culture that focuses on the customer. Everyone from the bottom line to top management must understand their role and deliver a consistent customer experience.
Take the time to identify any internal barriers, whether limitations in your current technology systems, problems in your operational processes or issues relating to internal culture. Only once you have a holistic view of your situation and reputation can you plan to improve.
Finally, when you look for opportunities to place the customer at the heart of your airport’s operational and marketing plans, remember, the buying journey is cyclical. Touchpoints come and go, but at each turn, there is an opportunity to move the customer forward or to pick up again where you left off. When a customer comes to your airport website, the journey is not linear. The booking is just the start of an ongoing relationship that you can nurture and build with the right support, and that’s where we come in.
From contactless KPI and Feedback systems to powerful Centralised Customer Information Management, Business Intelligence and Marketing, the Rezcomm plug-and-play airport Marketplace comes with a host of flexible modules to help you get to know your customers and deliver the ultimate experience. Contact the team today to request a copy of our brochures.