The experience of going through security in airports is not usually something that people would look forward to or enjoy, but I have been really impressed lately with the introduction of the "how was your experience today?" machine which now sits at the end of most airports security gates. If you haven’t seen these machines they are really simple. They consist of the pillar just above waist height with four faces visible; green smiley, amber not so smiley, orange a little grumpy and red obviously dissatisfied. The question "How was your experience today?" sits above the faces and all you do is choose which matches your opinion of the experience.
The reason that I like seeing these machines here is that the airport is telling me that they clearly want to know what I think. And rather than send me a “post flight email questionnaire” which is the usual go-to way get feedback, they are not just being creative but also getting immediate, unfiltered responses.
This has massively changed my opinion of a service where I used to think they must know how many passengers they are expecting to fly, so the queues that are always there must be on purpose and because they didn’t care about customer experience. Security is important – and I wouldn’t dream of thinking that I know better for the regulations – but as is treating the person passing through security as a customer. Because that is what they are.
And there is the point to this potentially random tour of airport security. I am a customer, and I expect that at every touch point I have with any service I’m using, to be treated as such. I make the choice of which service (airports in this instance) I use (for the most part) and I want to feel like my choice to give them my business is appreciated. All customers want to feel like they are genuinely appreciated at all points of contact.
Every interaction with your customer is a customer service interaction. It’s vital in the age of social media and instant connections around the world that it is not just the customer service teams that are responsible for building a good rapport and ensuring customer satisfaction. Customers don’t call you to tell you they are unhappy anymore, they just tell everyone else.
It’s great to see that companies have been focusing on ensuring their customer service departments offer a great experience. Over the last ten years, customer experience teams have become the norm in large customer service environments and the work of ensuring a customer receives the very best treatment on a call, email or even Tweet, is now a fine art mixed with science. One thing I think is missing from many businesses is looking at the full customer journey and asking the customer about the other touch-points too.
I have no idea really if the feedback that I give after I check in at my chosen airport is used for anything, although I’d like to imagine that there is a team somewhere in an operations room watching these results real time and making adjustments to queue length and staffing levels based on this. In reality these are more likely to be downloaded at the end of the day and used for providing senior managers with a month end customer satisfaction report. Either way they have done one thing for sure; they have told me that they do care about the experience I received today from everybody in the business, not just the customer service team.Read more from Phil