Airports Council International (ACI) World has today (April 3) launched two new unique programs designed to help airports promote service excellence and improve customer experience.
ACI has developed the first Airport Customer Experience Accreditation program, which offers a common definition and framework for customer experience management, and the Airport Customer Experience Professional Designation Program for airport employees.
Both programs were launched at the ACI Asia-Pacific/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition being held at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong, hosted by Hong Kong International Airport, China.
The accreditation program is part of ACI’s globally established Airport Service Quality (ASQ) program. It will help airports improve their practices to promote a direct positive impact on customer satisfaction.
There are five levels of accreditation and the program helps airports to assess and improve their approach to customer experience management and identify new practices that can be developed in the short and long term, in order to progress through the levels of accreditation.
Six airports contributed to the development of the program and have today been recognized as the first to be accredited: Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE; Milan Malpensa Airport, Italy; Hong Kong International Airport, China; San Antonio International Airport, Texas; Sydney Airport, Australia; and Quito International Airport, Ecuador.
“Airports have become destinations in their own right, offering customers unique experiences that shape their expectations,” said Angela Gittens, ACI World director general. “This carefully designed program is the very first worldwide customer experience management accreditation program designed specifically for the airport industry and dedicated to ACI members. It is all about improving the experience of customers and helping airports meet ever-evolving expectations.
“Airports are sophisticated businesses with various interlinked partner organizations and companies that often have different business objectives and goals. It is important for all involved parties to have a common view of airport customer experience and ACI’s new accreditation program helps airports to develop this common view,” she said.
The Airport Customer Experience Professional Designation Program has been developed for airports subscribing to the new accreditation program. As part of the accreditation process, each airport must nominate a number of employees to take the course so that they have a clear understanding of customer experience and are competent to lead the airport in terms of customer experience management.
“Any airport employee that is working to better customer experience of their airport may join the Customer Experience Professional Designation Program,” added Gittens. “A critical component of delivering an exceptional customer experience is ensuring that employees are engaged and motivated to provide the best level of service or performance, no matter which part of the passenger journey they deliver.”
The Customer Experience Professional Designation Program requires each participant to receive continuing professional development and re-certification in order to maintain active certification status. Re-certification is performed every five years and participants will be required to complete appropriate activities – attend a training course, participate in a conference or webinar, for instance – in order to maintain their designations.