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Do airports care about CX? Should they?

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 02/15/2018

A couple of years ago I had a layover in Philadelphia. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a good electrical outlet – the ones I could I find required sitting on the floor. Annoying.

This led me to wonder: While it’s clearly a bad experience to be stuck for a few hours without a convenient way to charge up, is it truly a customer experience issue that should concern the airport authority?

Is This Really a Concern?

I’m sure people complain about it. But just because people don’t like something doesn’t mean that it’s a top priority to fix it. A CX leader from Southwest Airlines once explained that the way they maintain their low prices is because they don’t have assigned seating and don’t serve food. In every survey, those are the top two things that customers request – yet they’re the two things they can’t offer. Just because customers request it doesn’t mean that the right thing to do is always to fulfill those requests. A good CX program benefits both the customers and the business.

Adding more electrical outlets adds costs, both for installation and the ongoing electrical usage. What is the offsetting gain for the airport? Will airline customers change their plans to avoid Philadelphia because of the number of outlets? Unlikely.

In fact, adding outlets might actually hurt another of the airport’s customers – the retailers. If you really need an outlet, your best option is to go to a restaurant that offers them. Installing more outlets could cost the airport (and their customers) revenue.

I don’t have a good answer as to whether outlets are truly a CX issue. On the one hand, CX should result in good outcomes for the business, and I don’t see a business case here.

On the other hand, anything that leads people to complain about your services in a blog feels like a bad thing.

So please – leave a comment on your reaction. I’d really like to know your thoughts.

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