As competition and innovation continue to drive the aviation industry, it is becoming increasingly crucial for Airport operators to recognize that customer experience is a key driver of success. Airports are directing their attention toward enhancing Customer experience as a means of establishing a distinct competitive edge and Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) is not an exception.
From Check-in to boarding and beyond, Airports have a unique opportunity to leave a lasting impression on customers by providing exceptional and unique experiences. These experiences not only shape customers’ expectations but more importantly, shape how customers form their perceptions of an airport and are likely to speak positively about their experiences at the airport to their family and friends.
GACL’s vision is to position Ghana as the Preferred Aviation Hub and Leader in Airport Business in West Africa. In pursuit of this vision, GACL has over the years invested heavily in immersive Customer Experience, leveraging it as a key strategy to embrace elements of Service Excellence to improve organizational culture, Passenger Experience, and increase stakeholder satisfaction. This strategy places a high premium on the voice of the customer as a critical component of creating memorable experiences and seamless airport procedures and processes.
Customer Experience Initiatives
Member of ACI ASQ Benchmarking Program
As part of the strategy to understand our Passenger’s needs and expectations and how needs are being met, a bold decision was taken by Management in 2018 to invest and sign Kotoka International Airport (KIA) onto the Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Program. The ASQ Departures program by ACI is the only world-renowned and established global benchmarking program that measures passengers’ satisfaction whilst traveling through an airport. Delivering a better Customer Experience is an important business strategy in an increasingly competitive airport industry. ACI’s global ASQ program not only recognizes excellence but also provides airports with a unique suite of Customer Experience solutions, Benchmarking tools, and advisory services to promote airport excellence worldwide.
The ASQ Program is conducted in over 330 airports in 82 countries worldwide and covers more than half of the world’s 7.5bn annual passengers. Over 80% of the world’s 100 top busiest airports are members of the ACI ASQ program.
Since joining the program, KIA has been the recipient of the award for being the Best Airport by Size and Region in Africa (2 – 5 million passengers per year) in 2019, 2020 & 2021, and the Voice of the Customer Recognition.
Member of ACI Customer Experience Accredited Airports
In May 2023, another strategic decision was taken to sign Kotoka International Airport onto ACI’s Airport Customer Experience Accreditation Program. It is the only accreditation program in the airport industry that provides a 360-degree view of Customer Experience Management. Participating airports take part in a comprehensive review and training process that includes stakeholder engagement and staff development.
So far, 86 high-ranking airports have been accredited worldwide. By way of benefits derived, the program helps to identify new Customer Experience Management practices, develop an action plan, access expertise, tools, and training opportunities, and engage stakeholders in improving Customer Experience at airports.
In June 2023, Kotoka International Airport attained Level 1 Status of the ACI Customer Experience Accreditation Program. This accomplishment affirms GACL’s commitment to consistently improve its management practices to enhance Customer Experience at our Airports.
GACL strategically employs diverse customer experience initiatives to drive its agenda toward enhancing customer Experience at our Airports.
Customer Feedback Channels
The importance of customer feedback, suggestions, and complaints cannot be over-emphasized for any organization that wishes to remain relevant and by extension thrive in business and GACL is no exception. In this regard, systems have been put in place to ensure that customer feedback, complaints, and suggestions are collected from various channels for analysis and prompt resolution. Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has requested GACL to provide feedback channels in the Terminal. GACL uses its social media platforms and corporate email to gather customer feedback, comments, and complaints.
Recognizing the importance of customer experience in today’s world of business, GACL has a Customer Service Section, with the core mandate of spearheading the strategic customer experience initiatives across our Airports. The section is made up of dedicated Customer Service Officers trained to professionally handle airport customers. Our Customer Service Officers are positioned at key areas within our airport departure and arrival halls to interact with and offer various forms of assistance to customers at our airports.
Dedicated Customer Service Information Desks
The Customer Service Desk is the first point of call for any airport customer seeking information or assistance. These desks are situated at vantage points in the Arrivals and Departure Halls of the Airport Terminals. The Customer Service Desks are resourced with customer-friendly and focused personnel who are welcoming and knowledgeable to address all customer inquiries and complaints.
24/7 Call Center
GACL operates a 24-hour call center which is well-resourced with friendly Customer Service Agents to serve the needs of customers. Some of the services offered at the centre include provision of flight information, general airport enquiries, customer complaint management etc. The Call Center can be contacted on 0302 550612.
Airport Stakeholder Engagement
GACL organizes regular quarterly engagements with various Stakeholders operating at the Airport. This is in recognition of Stakeholder Commitment and Collaboration as key to the success of our operations. These engagements are aimed at improving Operational Excellence towards the delivery of a seamless and excellent Customer Experience.
Launch of Airport Behavioural Standard Booklet
In line with our performance enhancement strategies, GACL launched the Airport Behavioral Standards booklet during the 2022 Customer Service Week. The book highlights excellent Customer Experience Standards and acceptable behaviors developed in cooperation with Stakeholders to create uniform standards for delivering enhanced Customer Experience. The Customer Service Section has gone a step further to initiate training of all Airport staff to ensure that each Staff member is familiar with the guidelines and requirements to deliver a total quality Customer Experience at our Airports.
Airport-Wide Customer Experience Training Programs
To ensure that all Service Providers within the Airport community are well aligned, GACL through its Customer Service Section consistently offers training programs to Stakeholders along the Facilitation Chain, as well as staff of GACL. We believe that every interaction with the Customer is a defining moment where perceptions are formed, and these perceptions go a long way to ensure the highest standards of excellence.
Airport Fun Games
To foster collaboration with Stakeholders operating at our Airports towards the achievement of Customer Satisfaction, GACL instituted an annual “fun games” programme dubbed ”Airport Olympic Games”. The Annual Games was launched in 2022 as part of the Customer Service Week where Stakeholders participated in various sporting activities.
Customer Experience Fun Activities
One of the key channels GACL shows its commitment to Customers is through Customer Experience and fun activities. These programs have been carefully curated to create memorable experiences for customers at our Airports. This has generated positive feedback from our customers and the general public over the years.
The Christmas Program, celebrated during the Christmas festive season, is marked with a lineup of activities including choral performances, photo booth sessions, Santa Claus performances, and giveaways. It offers us yet another opportunity to get closer to and understand our customers. Again, our national Independence and Chocolate Day celebrations are always highlighted with the distribution of made-in-Ghana goodies to our customers. More so, Customer Service Week is celebrated with a bouquet of exciting activities to appreciate staff, stakeholders, and passengers for their unwavering support towards the success of the GACL brand.
We appreciate our Staff and Stakeholders who work tirelessly at all our Airports every day to deliver positive Experiences to our customers. With your continued support and collective commitment, we believe that Service Excellence will continue to thrive at all our Airports.