Challenges and opportunities
ANA (Aeroportos de Portugal) is the state-owned company which operates Portugal’s eight major airports. ANA had become specialists in operations and infrastructure to meet the needs of the airlines, their primary customers.
With rapidly changing economic conditions, increased competition, rising fuel prices and the millions of passengers using their airports, ANA realised they needed to alter their perspective. To be truly world class they had to increase their offer for passengers and visitors and provide distinct and memorable customer services and initiate a shift in focus from infrastructure to service provider.
ANA asked Engine to help build a service brand and a strategy for implementation across their airports. Engine created a new role for the airport to play in passengers’ experiences and outlined a sustainable customer service strategy. The new vision was realised in a series of workstreams that developed services and propositions to meet a range of customer needs, from business travellers to families, groups and connecting passengers. The project has been taken forward to have significant impact across the business, its environments, operations and culture.
What we did
Engine began this massive project by breaking down the approach into two phases. The first was to develop a vision of ANA’s new passenger services strategy and making it a truly customer-centred value proposition that supports the case for future changes. The second phase was to bring the vision to life in key service areas, to both demonstrate the approach and build the skills of the ANA team and frontline staff.
Creating a Passenger Services Strategy
Engine approached this by asking two questions:
- What role should an airport play for its passengers?
- What could ANA do to fulfil this role, and how could they do it?
We worked with a key team at ANA to respond to these questions, researching the needs, values and behaviours of passengers, staff, airlines and other service users. We shadowed and interviewed passengers and staff to get insights to use as inspiration for the new roles ANA could take in people’s lives.
All the insights and ideas were compared against what an airport could theoretically provide and were refined into a service vision for ANA: Preparing you for Travel. The vision was tested in workshops with the core team, using it to help generate ideas, customer services and experiences.
The service vision was translated into a high level proposition of three roles ANA could play to deliver the vision and meet the needs of their millions of customers; the roles of Advisor, Companion and Hero.
Bringing to life through customer services
The ideas generated for the new vision were developed further to represent these roles through a set of service products and features that provided value to airports, airlines and passengers alike. These covered a wide range of areas that were identified as real value propositions and customer needs, such as travelling with children, airport environments, security, premium travellers and the use of technology and communications.
Each of the workstreams were developed, tested and assessed for technical requirements and business viability. Engine then mapped them across the passenger journey, identifying where and when they would have the most impact. The service products were then prioritised and roadmapped according to existing capabilities and future developments.
The strategy and early business case was then presented to the ANA board, including:
- The service opportunities with plans for delivery and implementation
- The design principles, roles and culture to enable and sustain ANA’s role as a service brand, manager and provider.
Implementation and rollout
With the approval of the Board, Engine developed ANA Basics: the tools and foundations for the delivery and management of services at the airport, including staff training and the internal capacity to develop new service propositions. These management tools help define, implement and monitor a consistent level of service to passengers and visitors to ANA’s airports, across all touchpoints, including:
- A guide for designing and delivering information to airport passengers
- A guide on working with 3rd party and other business partners to deliver consistent customer service.
ANA Basics helped us to establish the foundations of long-term service delivery in ANA’s airports and now form part of mandatory training.
From the Basics, Engine turned to the passenger-facing, value-add services that bring real, measurable value to passengers and the airport. We detailed the service products and touchpoints as comprehensive service specifications and blueprints, including MyAirport, a technology platform that enables all services to be accessed and subscribed to, and the ‘PODs’, or mini-lounges where passengers can relax and access information.
Finally, Engine established a Services Management Team within ANA and worked to develop their skills and capabilities with service design tools and methods and a programme of on-project learning. This also supported the development of partnerships with the suppliers, marketers and communications teams who would produce the touchpoints with customers. Engine produced storyboards and sales collateral to communicate and market services within ANA and to all external partners, including the Portugese Tourist Board.
A set of deliverables was created for each of nine workstreams. Including:
- Final service specifications, propositions and blueprints to create the ideal passenger experience for value-add services
- Structured approaches, tools and methods for the sustainable management strategy, such as a staff forum for training and sharing insights
Where appropriate, the deliverables also contained practical support for implementation, integration with other services and the key enablers and resources.
In 2011 prototypes and pilots of a range of services were taken forward, including ANA ‘PODs’ and Family Services. ANA Basics concepts were trialled, embedded within key staff roles and responsibilities, and integrated within training programmes for front-line staff.
As of 2012, ANA have rolled out a number of the concepts and services that were developed with Engine.
- Baby changing facilities
- Family ‘living room’ spaces
- Strollers provided after luggage check
- ANA mascot & children’s entertainer
- A children’s play area with seating and food preparation areas.
Airport facilities and technology:
- ANA ‘PODs’ – lounge spaces to meet a range of customer needs
- ANA mobile & iPad app - to monitor flight status and more.
During this first wave of roll out in 2012, across the group:
- Customer satisfaction has risen by 14%
- Passenger numbers have increased by 6% (notably, by 13% in Porto where main changes have been focused)
- ACI Certification of Service Quality has improved for 4 airports, with their certification being set at "Good".
ANA has also been featured as a case study in a book by Forrester and in an article on creating a customer-centred organisation by Harvard Business Review.
"In the new age of airport business, 'owning the passenger' and providing excellent service quality are becoming critical to ensure profitable and sustainable growth. This project provided ANA with an extraordinary set of strategic and tactical tools to face these challenges."
Francisco Pita, Deputy Airport Manager, Lisbon, ANA