How Changi Airport Wins Fans, Foo Sek Min

Aviation veteran Foo Sek Min shares insights on raising service standards and brand building.
How Changi Airport Wins Fans, Foo Sek Min

In 1996, Changi Airport introduced 16 feedback kiosks at its two terminals with postage-paid feedback forms. Travellers could post their feedback to us from anywhere in the world so they could share their experiences of Changi Airport.

We faced certain challenges when we started this feedback system. The management debated at length about whether we could cope with the volume of feedback that we would receive and if every one of them should be addressed. The conventional wisdom was that we would receive mostly complaints that would require too much time and effort to investigate, and subsequently address. After all, it is not second nature for us to take time and effort to pen a compliment.

When we introduced these kiosks, we received, on average, about 300 feedback forms monthly. To our surprise, 70% of them were compliments, 20% complaints and 10% suggestions. Fast forward 17 years later in 2013, we are receiving a monthly average of 3,100 pieces of feedback – 75% of which are compliments, 21% complaints and 4% suggestions. About half of them come through the electronic kiosks in Changi Airport’s terminals, with the rest through emails and our websites.

All feedback is taken seriously and routed to our line managers so that action can be taken to address service lapses and eradicate recurrent issues. The compliments received, on the other hand, motivate our staff to continue delivering the high level of service our customers expect of us. On the whole, feedback is vital in how it keeps us rooted to the realities of what our customers are experiencing and helps us assess whether we are delivering on our promises to them.

Acknowledging – and tapping – customer feedback has thus been key to Changi Airport’s continued success. In 2010, we took another leap in our service delivery at key touch-points at the airport with the introduction of our Instant Feedback System (IFS). This system enables our customers to alert us of service lapses, whether at washrooms, check-in, immigration or in our shops, so that rectification can be made quickly.

With the IFS, we gather real-time feedback from customers, who get to rate their experience through an interactive screen. If, for instance, users alert us to a poor experience in the restroom, this is transmitted directly to the cleaning supervisor’s handheld device. A cleaner will then be despatched to the specific washroom to rectify the situation. The information from the IFS also enables supervisors to identify washrooms with the most amount of positive or negative feedback. This can even be drilled down to hourly and daily ratings to better aid the cleaning supervisor to anticipate problem areas ahead of time through trend analyses.

With the IFS, we gather real-time feedback from customers, who get to rate their experience through an interactive screen.

Leveraging the information tabulated from the system, star performers can be commended while poor performers can be sent for counselling or re-training – raising the overall service standards.

Today, the IFS is deployed at over 660 locations across Changi Airport’s terminals. Since its implementation, the volume of feedback received via the IFS has increased to more than a million comments every month, 90% of which are positive.

We have also embraced social media platforms since 2009 to further interact with our customers around the world. Our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – serve as a 24-hour customer service interface, with our team of community managers who are rostered round-the-clock to provide timely replies to compliments, suggestions and complaints.

Changi Airport is the world’s most awarded airport with over 430 Best Airport awards received since its opening in 1981. This is an achievement that we are most honoured by. It has been, in no small part, made possible by the contributions of our 32,000-strong airport community and the role that the voices of our customers have played in Changi Airport’s metamorphosis into the international service icon it is today.

Foo Sek Min is Executive Vice President, Corporate at Changi Airport Group. He has over 18 years of experience in the aviation industry. He has also been deeply involved in Changi’s Quality Service Management (QSM) efforts where he worked with the team to deliver the “Changi Experience” for millions of travellers.

    Sep 19, 2013
    Foo Sek Min
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