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ACI NEWS Last modified on September 17, 2015

Passenger focused, research driven

ACI’s ASQ programme gives airports of all sizes the actionable intelligence they need to ensure customer service excellence across numerous touchpoints of a passenger’s journey at the airport, writes Antoine Rostworowski.

Airports have evolved from being places that largely deal with airline and aircraft-related activities to complex businesses in their own right, competing against one another to be the gateways to regions and even entire continents.

Each day in airports around the world, innumerable service providers and government agencies – some customer facing and some behind the scenes – have an indelible effect on the passenger experience.

More than ever, airports require in-depth, actionable intelligence on satisfaction levels across the multiple touchpoints of a traveler’s journey.
ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Survey measures passengers’ appraisal of 34 key performance indicators (KPIs) on the day they travel, allowing airports to get an accurate and timely picture of traveller sentiment.

Indeed, ASQ has been designed for airports seeking to measure their passenger service performance and to benchmark it against other airports with the overarching objective of offering more effective, efficient and profitable ways to serve the flying public while providing a systematic approach to continuously improving customer service.

Why should your airport be a part of ASQ?
Today, airports are key economic drivers of the communities they serve: cities, regions and even entire nations. As such, they must function as sophisticated business-oriented service providers.

With commercial revenues now reaching or exceeding 50% of total revenues at many airports, smart managers know the key to future success is delivering superior quality service.

In most cases, satisfied customers will spend more, contributing to more commercial revenue and a better bottom line. But in order to increase customer satisfaction and benefit from the growth in customer spending that comes with it, airports need to know which services the passengers are demanding; how passengers rate an airport’s delivery of those services; and how an airport compares to other airports within their local market and around the world.

ASQ is helping over 300 airports globally measure, benchmark and improve their customer service initiatives through a survey that has been designed to provide feedback on service performance, consequently driving superior operational and strategic decision-making and offering better guidance for prioritisation of projects.

The ACI ASQ Survey also shows how to get maximum return from investments in service delivery, enabling and guiding airports in the creation of performance guidelines and incentive programmes with the overarching goal of maximising passenger satisfaction and spending at airport facilities.

Benchmarking 101
Benchmarking has become an important activity for global businesses – and indeed for airports – to ensure that their offering is on par with industry standards and best practices.

This enables airports to see where they are placed in global peer rankings; where improvements are required; and where investment is most likely to deliver the biggest return.

Benchmarking and the use of such a passenger survey offers a broad range of benefits, including an independent perspective on performance; identification of areas of opportunity; understanding customers’ needs, priorities and expectations; enabling prioritisation of improvement opportunities; setting and monitoring of performance expectations; and managing change effectively.

Importantly, the ACI ASQ Survey is designed to be fair, transparent and scientifically accurate. Airports follow a clear and defined process, and a robust audit procedure is integrated as part of it.

The programme’s methodology consists of five key steps: questionnaires are distributed at the departure gate; the questionnaires are completed by passengers selected according to a traffic mix sample plan, thereby ensuring statistical accuracy; completed questionnaires are collected by on-site fieldwork agents; the airport returns the completed questionnaires to the ASQ team; and the data is captured and analysed, and the results/reports are distributed to all participating airports (accessible through a web portal).

ACI ASQ is the leading customer satisfaction benchmarking programme in the airport industry today, and ASQ research is in place in airports that serve more than half the world’s 6.6 billion passengers.

ASQ has been designed for airports that understand the importance of monitoring and improving customer service.

One of the most unique features offered by the ACI ASQ programme is providing airports with the opportunity to share best practices with other participating airports.

Participants share all customer satisfaction information with the ASQ community of airports on a confidential basis, which drives the use of best practices and promotes discussions aimed at helping airports improve their customer service levels.

ACI ASQ also helps airports market their customer service achievements more effectively, publishing a yearly list of top-rated airports and rewarding top performers with the prestigious ACI 
ASQ Awards and a global press campaign that highlights their achievements.

The awards represent the highest possible accolade for airport operators and are an opportunity to celebrate the commitment to continuously enhancing the passenger experience.

A programme for any airport, anywhere ACI ASQ is an initiative for all airports, regardless of size or location. During the last twelve months, some 550,000 passengers worldwide have taken part in the ASQ Survey, which covers every airport touchpoint from access, check-in and security to airport facilities, food and beverage providers, and more.

All participating airports use the same survey questions, effectively creating an industry standard set of responses that allows airports to better track and analyse their performance.

The ACI ASQ Survey is available in 35 languages and can offer bespoke solutions tailored to participants’ needs. In addition to the ASQ Survey Main service, there are two programme offshoots: 
ASQ Survey Regional and ASQ Survey Unique.

ACI ASQ Survey Regional is designed for airports servicing fewer than two million passengers per year and has been developed with the understanding that smaller airports differ in some respects from their larger counterparts.

ASQ Survey Regional is similar to the ASQ Survey Main service in that it delivers accurate, timely and unbiased customer satisfaction information, but does so at a reduced cost, in effect allowing smaller airports to take advantage of the benefits of ASQ without having to invest in the full ASQ Survey Main product.

In ASQ Survey Regional, there are two reporting waves per year (summer and winter) rather than the ASQ Survey Main’s quarterly schedule. Like the main ASQ Survey, this programme offers a powerful array of management tools and customer insights.

ACI ASQ Survey Unique, on the other hand, is a one-time survey conceived to give an airport insight into customer satisfaction in a single period of time. ASQ Survey Unique can be customised to suit essentially any special circumstance for which an airport may want to gauge traveller sentiment.

ASQ Survey Unique is conducted according to the same rigorous standards that have helped make the ASQ Survey the industry leader in measuring airport customer satisfaction.

If desired, airports can upgrade from ASQ Survey Regional or Unique to ASQ Survey Main at any time.

In order to meet airports’ growing data analysis needs, there are a number of optional ASQ Survey services available to ACI ASQ customers, such as fieldwork services; additional survey samples; comprehensive insight reports; passenger comment analysis; dissatisfied passenger probes; terminal and gate reports; monthly reports; executive presentations; and other customised reports.

The clear choice
“ACI’s commitment to representing our members’ best interests underscores everything we do, and the ACI ASQ programme is an excellent example,” says Angela Gittens, director general, ACI World.

“More than ever, this is a programme designed with member and passenger needs in mind.”

In the fast-changing landscape of worldwide aviation, ACI ASQ is the key to understanding how to increase passenger satisfaction and improve business performance.

Hundreds of airports worldwide have already discovered that customer service excellence is its own reward, and we invite you to visit http://www.aci.aero/Airport-Service-Quality for more information on the benefits of participation.

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