AdP’s focus on passenger satisfaction
The principle of the Passenger Experience Survey is straightforward; randomly selected passengers, both departing and arriving, are given a questionnaire to gather their experiences of travelling through Paris-CDG and Paris-Orly.
For departing passengers, the survey covers the whole departure process from arrival at the airport, including airport access, to the gate area. Meanwhile, for arriving passengers, the survey covers the first impression on disembarking the aircraft, including bus transport in the case of remote parking, through to the choice of transport for leaving the airport.
“The survey reflects the opinions of the passengers. It’s a fair vision of where Aéroports de Paris has achieved passengers’ expectations and where there is still room for improvement,” commented Rubichon. “The satisfaction of arriving passengers has been extremely high for the last six years, exceeding 92%. Passenger satisfaction at departures keeps on improving by more than 1% a year.”
Aéroports de Paris has defined passenger satisfaction as a top priority. Indeed, its Economic Regulation Agreement, signed with the French State, includes 10 items relating to customer satisfaction. Rubichon explained that a minimum standard is defined for each item; when the survey indicates that results are below the minimum standards, airport fees will be reduced, and when results exceed the minimum standards, they will be increased. Overall, fees can vary in a -/+ 1% range. “Minimum standards on which AdP is financially incentivised cover global satisfaction, cleanliness, comfort at the gate, wayfinding for transfer passengers, information about flight schedules, availability of people movers, escalators, lifts and other equipment,” said Rubichon.
The Passenger Experience Survey considers every step of the journey through the airport in order to identify potential areas of improvement. Rubichon highlighted security control, comfort at the gate areas and bars & restaurants as three areas of notable customer service success. “The constant improvement of satisfaction at the security controls has led us to be among the best performers in Europe. For the last three years, we have succeeded in reducing waiting times, providing a better and friendlier environment for passengers, and incentivising contractors to focus on the quality of the relationship between their staff and customers,” he explained.
Refurbishment of the gate areas has resulted in improved customer satisfaction; a variety of free services have been introduced, including a light therapy area, video on demand corners and play areas for children. Aéroports de Paris is also investing in its food & beverage offer and will open 50 new bars and restaurants by the end of 2013.
“We are currently focusing on cleanliness as an area of improvement, with already convincing results, as well as baggage delivery, wayfinding and ground transport access to Paris on the arrival process,” said Rubichon.
Customer service innovation
Aéroports de Paris is applying innovation in many areas of its customer service strategy. Its ‘lab’ experiments, involving employees from both the airports and their partner companies, allow staff that are in direct contact with travellers to develop their own solutions and measure their effectiveness. “These ‘lab’ experiments are very fruitful, since they have produced numerous new ideas and introduced a big change in the way we work together,” commented Rubichon. “After such experiments, the relations between managers and staff, particularly AdP staff and the Police staff, have dramatically evolved; the links are strongly built on confidence and respect.”
Another fascinating area of innovation is the ‘Université du Service’, which also involves Aéroports de Paris’ partners and contractors. The ‘university’ is responsible for developing new ideas by sharing best practice from both within and outside the company. “The ‘university’ is also in charge of spreading our knowledge throughout the company, helping management to organise events focusing on customer satisfaction and build action plans,” added Rubichon.
Among the innovations that have been developed to enhance the passenger experience are an indoor geo-positioning application for smartphones, an application dedicated to Chinese customers that translates French signage into the Chinese language, automated self-service kiosks for bag drop, and automated multi-lingual announcements in the gate area. “We have also launched an internet application – dites.nous.fr – that allows anyone to make suggestions or requests on different topics,” commented Rubichon.
Collaboration with stakeholders
Aéroports de Paris has in recent years reinforced its collaboration with all stakeholders at the airport. It has built strong links with its main airline customers – Air France/KLM, easyJet, Star Alliance, oneworld – and conducts a global review of customer satisfaction action plans every three months. “This review involves the airport operator and the airlines. The purpose is to define actions and solutions after having analysed the results of the survey,” explained Rubichon. “We have also developed strong relationships with our security contractors, and a year ago we together signed a public commitment of improvement on both sides.”
Similarly positive results have been seen in the airport operator’s relationships with its concessionaires, particularly in F&B, which has led to new contracts, more efficiency and a better quality performance. Aéroports de Paris is also entering a brand new relationship with its cleaning contractors, in order to apply to their services some of the best practices achieved with its security contractors.
“Customer satisfaction is everyone’s responsibility, not only that of the airport operator, but also of every airline and subcontractor. Aéroports de Paris has not achieved its goal yet. There is still room to be a reference in Europe in terms of passenger satisfaction – that is our main objective,” concluded Rubichon.