This article was published in full in January 2011 in the journal of the Service Design Network: Touchpoint Vol. 2 No. 3
Aeroportos de Portugal (ANA) manages and operates seven major airports across Portugal, with over 65,000 passengers travelling through them every day. As specialists in infrastructure and operations, their primary focus was on building and maintaining Business-to-Business relationships. However, with stricter European service quality metrics and increasingly tough competition within the aviation industry to attract airlines and extend routes, ANA saw an opportunity to shift their emphasis with a new vision.
This new vision, called ‘ANA Way’, centres on passengers and visitors as the customer, not just the airlines. It aims to build more direct relationships with them and, in doing so, bring the ANA brand to the fore, generating new revenue as a world-class consumer brand.
July 2010 saw the completion of Engine’s two-year engagement with ANA to collaboratively create a passenger services offer as well as increase ANA’s service capability. Key to ANA developing a service design capability was the close collaboration between ANA and Engine on projects.
Building ANA Way began by setting a service strategy. After sign-off from the board, a Service Development Team, made up of ANA personnel and Engine designers, worked closely to bring strategy to reality.
As part of the initial strategy phase, three roles for the airport were identified; Advisor, Companion and Hero, as well as the brand vision ‘preparing you for travel’. Working across nine distinct projects, we used a wide range of service design techniques with two main areas of focus.
Firstly, a platform of sustainable management tools to build an internal foundation for service experience, embedding and sustaining cultural change within ANA. Secondly, a suite of value-added services that enhance the passenger experience across a number of areas as well as generating revenue. Service design management tools comprised of design guides, case studies and metrics initially to be used by ANA staff and later on by external entities, operating at the airport.
The services design guides covered the overall service experience provided to the passenger and became known as ‘The Basics’. They included Customer Service, Security, Passenger Information and Environments. Each features a set of principles, a framework and a number of tools and methods to help build a sustainable response to design challenges.
The suite of value-add services builds on the basics to create new passenger service offerings around the high-level proposition of ‘preparing you for travel’. Included in the scope of these services were families, travelling groups and premium passengers. Additionally, a presence for the ANA brand was created through dedicated environments called pods that would also benefit passengers whilst in the airport and provide a touchpoint with a number of airport services.
Many of these services are underpinned by technology. The MyAiport project specified the technology strategy, describing the use of technology to support all passenger services.
It’s all new
ANA has not worked in this way before. This created a challenge to remain practical and pragmatic, striking the right balance between the development of new skills whilst at the same time still contributing to the progress of work streams and ultimate delivery of the programme.
Not so fast
ANA, as a large government-owned organisation moves very slowly in comparison to as a small design consultancy such as Engine. This meant that we had to be very flexible in the way we planned and delivered projects.
Telling and selling
The ANA Way vision was to create a passenger-centred strategy, implemented through services. Achieving this goal required a considerable amount of selling and reselling of objectives of the programme and the approach being taken to internal stakeholders.