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PASSENGER SERVICES Last modified on June 15, 2017

Dressed for success

Uniforms can help create a competitive edge by showcasing a brand and boosting customer service levels by making staff easier to identify, writes Simon Jersey’s Paul Farrell.

A uniform is one of the most important parts of any brand’s visual identity. In an airport, this takes on even greater significance when building trust among customers needs to be done quickly and efficiently.

Uniforms are a key way that brands can express their values, speaking volumes about the company and the service it offers. 

Our research shows that 64% of people think a smart uniform demonstrates respect for customers, while a third have greater trust in someone who is well dressed.

Airlines have traditionally been known for creating iconic uniforms. From Emirates’ signature red hat and sweeping scarf to the ‘Singapore Girl’ of Singapore Airlines. They understand the value of using uniforms to create a point of difference – luxury, quality or cultural identity, for example, and inspire loyalty from both staff and customers.

While airlines are undoubtedly the masters at memorable uniforms, their approach can and should be used by any business with customer facing staff to stand out from the crowd. 

In a bustling and sometimes overwhelming airport, uniforms help passengers and staff to distinguish between different people and job roles. With limited time, passengers need to be able to identify assistance at every stage. Whether they’re frequent fliers or holidaymakers, making the staff passengers want to talk to easy to identify will make for a smoother journey. This in turn can assist in creating greater goodwill to both the airport and the services or businesses they access.

In addition, for retail, food and beverage teams the reasons for wearing standout uniforms can go even deeper. People want to do business with others that share their tastes and ideas. Uniforms communicate brand concepts and demonstrate credibility in a competitive environment. 

When time is limited, people will use these types of clues to quickly identify where they want to eat, shop, drink or relax.

A uniform can also bring together people in the same company who have very different job functions, making them visibly identifiable as part of one team. 

Take ISS, for example. It provides a variety of services ranging from aircraft cleaning to passenger assistance and hosting at 80 airports across the globe, yet through the colours, shapes and logos used in the uniforms we provided it, it is easy to identify them as being part of the same organisation.

To create a uniform with impact, we recommend using distinct features or styles. Job function is an important consideration and uniforms should support the employee considering, for example, equipment carried or tasks completed. 

Colour is also important with darker shades suited to positions of authority, while bright colours create a sense of fun and excitement and are often seen in airports worn by customer service teams or holiday operators.

Whatever the uniform, it should always be one that staff like wearing, and their views should always be part of the design process. 

Returning to the airline example, the idea of dressing in an iconic uniform that is recognised and respected around the world is all part of the excitement of getting the job.

In a recent survey we discovered that 59% of uniform wearers feel more professional and more than half feel that team morale is higher when everyone looks their best. When staff look good they feel good, enhancing motivation, teamwork and customer service to help deliver a competitive edge.


About the author

Paul Farrell is sales director at aviation uniform and workwear specialists, Simon Jersey.

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