By Anna Holness – Managing Partner, Passenger Services

Passenger satisfaction is key these days. It’s not just about helping someone get from A to B, it’s about making sure they get there in the most comfortable, convenient and hassle-free way possible. Which is a real challenge, not least for your front-line employees.

How does it feel to sit at a customer service desk when a plane is delayed, faced with crowds of unhappy passengers? Or when the weather has disrupted the railway network. These are the times when your front-line staff need to be empowered to really help your passengers, be it to make alternative arrangements or just to re-assure them.

Of course, it’s become even tougher, because passengers themselves are now so well informed. Social networks can often spread news of traffic disruption or delayed trains faster than your own information management systems. With smartphone and tablet technology as it is, they expect information to be readily available in real-time. If this doesn’t happen, they will quickly become frustrated.

So, where to begin?

A great starting point would be to give your employees not just the tools they need to do their job, but the tools they need to help deliver a great passenger experiences.

Not just to help when things go wrong, but to act as trusted advisors. They can be knowledgeable guides, connected to the latest and most relevant information for your passengers, adding value at every stage of the journey. After all, employees in organisations with strong online social media networks are more productive (10-15%, according to McKinsey).

Your people have probably always played this role, but the evolution of technology means they can be even better equipped to help passengers.

During some recent projects we have worked on with our customers, we found that people on the front line are more than ready for new technologies to help them work more efficiently and effectively. Often, they’re already using their own smartphones and tablets at work anyway.

When they’ve got everything at their fingertips, they’re less stressed. They can answer questions and reassure passengers with the right information. The working day gets a bit easier, which makes for a more welcoming experience for the people they serve.

Even so, you need to think about managing the process of introducing new technologies for smarter working.

Apps, devices and the underlying infrastructure are all important. But so are ideas around how information is organised and delivered. Morning briefings, regular updates, status reports – when you can deliver them almost instantly, you need clear processes to make sure they reach the people who need them most in a convenient and safe manner. And, as that McKinsey report has shown, the value-add can be significant (up to 25% in some cases).

Passengers expect great service now, because they get it in so many other ways. They’re digital savvy and they expect you to be, too. And when 4G arrives on the 29th August, they’ll soon get used to getting even more from their mobile devices.

They’ll understand that you can’t control the weather. But they want to be kept up-to-date with what’s happening. They expect relevant, personalised messages sent directly to their mobile devices, and for your front-line staff to be better informed than they are.

I’d love to hear about what you’re doing next to help happy employees deliver great services to happy passengers. Perhaps we could generate even more innovative ideas together. Please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, @Anna_elh you can also go to our website for more information.

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