WE TRULY WANT A COHESIVE TEAM, SO IT’S WORTH THE EFFORT.
By Jason Richmond, Founder, Ideal Outcomes Inc.
There’s more to airlines than flying planes and checking in passengers. From ticket purchase to baggage pickup, there’s an endless list to check off to ensure an incredible guest experience- and ultimately, to gain repeat customers. For one Director of Innovation at a major international airline, this is a daily focus, “we look at identifying internal and external pain points to create less stress. We want to make the interaction with our business as frictionless as possible for our customers.” However, being one of the largest alliances in the world doesn’t always lend itself to seamless operations, “in a company where you have a headquarters in one place and then thousands of employees across the world, culture can be very difficult to nail down. Ultimately however, we truly want to be a cohesive team, so it’s worth the effort.” For their team it comes down to two things: a value-driven culture and customer service. Here’s how they’re taking it on one step at a time: Safety If you really stop to think about it: a large vessel carrying hundreds of people in the air still seems unbelievable at times. Yet every day thousands of flights cross the oceans and successfully land in their chosen destinations. For airlines however, safety goes beyond the start and stop of each flight and is always top of mind, “we begin every single meeting with safety briefings because we understand that safety works with a top down approach if we’re going to train our team members successfully.”
“We want to make sure that we’re a company that understands unique situations and adapts to them as they come. Of course we are a huge company with major expenses but it’s important that we care for our customers first and foremost; it’s balancing everyone’s individual needs while still getting the plane off the ground in time. We can take customers pretty much anywhere they want to go these days, so it’s our job to do it the right way.”
Perhaps one of their most important steps is their current overhaul of training and continued education for their employees. “We want our people to fully embrace our culture and represent it every day to our customers. There are specific skill sets for working at an airport, such as understanding the computer systems and being able to switch flights effortlessly- these are things we need to help our team members to hone.” Other aspects of their training include:
- Recognizing and understanding the core values for all employees, from front desk to baggage to management
- “Real life” situation practice runs to teach employees the best ways to respond to various situations
- Meetings and trainings from leaders of the company
- Corporate “fly-alongs” so the leaders can experience first hand what is going well- and what needs to change
Ultimately, the director says that their company is making a deliberate effort to be a transparent company- even in the moments it is difficult, “if we’re going to provide our guests with the best experience possible then we need to be transparent with them and in the airline industry that often comes down to flight delays, cancellations, etc. We believe that ‘every flight has a story’ and the last thing we want is to mislead our customers. If there’s a delay in a flight it’s not because we’re trying to withhold information, but simply that we’re trying to get it right; at the end of the day, wrong information is usually more frustrating than no information―so we work hard to make sure we deliver accurate information every time.”