Balakarthik Venkataramanan
By
August 05, 2016

Customer Experience Lessons Straight from the Toilets of Singapore Airport

banner_CX_lessons.png

I am a frequent visitor to Singapore but for this time around, it was just a 45 minutes transit at the Singapore Changi airport and I was NOT looking forward to it. Especially after missing my flight from Seoul to Kuala Lumpur (my final destination) because of the flight delays at Detroit (my origin) and then staying at the Seoul transit hotel for 9 hours. 

The only way, Delta could route me from Seoul to Kuala Lumpur was through Singapore, with a 45 minute transit at the Changi airport. After all the delays, those 45 minutes transit at Singapore sounded like a bad idea, until I met Sundaresan. He was the janitor responsible for the toilet near the gate I was going to board my flight to Kuala Lumpur.

With only 45 mins to board my flight to Kuala Lumpur, I didn’t want to go to the lounge or shop at the airport. Found a seat closer to my boarding gate, went to the nearest rest room to freshen up. Nothing surprising, a well maintained Singapore style airport restroom. One that I would expect at a minimum in any international airport. While heading out, I saw a gamified screen asking for my experience. (like the one in the pic below)

I hit the ‘EXCELLENT‘ rating, didn’t realize that the janitor was standing right behind me. When I noticed him, “Thank you for keeping the toilet so clean”, I said. “It’s my job, sir”, he replied. A quick 5 minute conversation followed in Tamil (Tamil, is a south Indian language). When I walked out of the restroom, I was amazed at the passion Sundaresan as well as Changi Airport management exhibited in making my restroom experience easy and comfortable. Below are some key points I captured from my conversation with Sudaresan.

3 Rules for Customer Service Excellence at Singapore Airport

  1. Every 3 toilets have an owner like Sundaresan. That person is like the chief customer officer for those 3 toilets and are accountable for the overall cleanliness of the toilet as well as user experience
  2. If any users rate ‘POOR’ or below rating in the survey then users will be asked to select from one of the following 7 reasons for their ‘POOR’ rating (No toilet paper, foul smell, Litter bin full, Wet floor, Dirty floor, Dirty basin, faulty equipment). Once the user selects the reason, turn around time to fix the issue is 5 minutes. The back end also gathers their POOR rating reasons and draws a Pareto on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. This is also tied to the performance of the Janitor and the respective team lead.
  3. For those janitors who receive 100% rating for the entire week are rewarded for their performance (He didn’t tell me what the reward was)

I found the video below after a couple of days which supported everything that Sundaresan shared with me.

I was amazed at the 360 degree user focus of the toilet management of Changi airport. Every single aspect of customer service management was carefully planned and executed. Below are the 5 key pillars on how Changi airport has built an end to end user experience roadmap. I assume that this is beyond toilets and is factored in to every single touch point of a passenger that arrives at Singapore airport.

During my previous visits to Singapore, I have seen the customer feedback survey screens across multiple other areas in the airport including information desk, immigration etc. But my conversation with Sundaresan gave me insights in to the customer centricity and the actions that happen behind it and above all the passion to enhance every touchpoint of the customer’s journey is what we need to learn from.

The world of customer service/experience talks about some 4-5  leading multi national organizations as benchmark for Customer centricity. After my experience and research on how Changi airport manages user experience, I would expect them to be a new benchmark for user experience management.

The next time you are at the Singapore airport, don’t miss the chance to pay more attention to how every single aspect of a user journey is mapped and designed. Especially the restroom experience. There are tons of practices you can leverage back in to your customer service organziation.

Whitepaper: Transforming Your Customer Experience

About the Author

An early entrepreneur in social media, Bala is a strategic customer service leader with a track record of customer experience transformations globally. Bala has 2 decades of experience in customer experience strategy & operations for leading brands like Google, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft. Prior to Intuit, Bala was leading global process & business excellence for Google’s trust & safety vendor operations. You can connect with Bala via Linkedin, view his personal blog here, or follow him on Twitter @vbkarthik123

View Bala's Contributor Profile


Download the most comprehensive OpEx Resport in the Industry

The Largest Leadership-Level Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Event

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards

Welcome to the Official Content Portal of the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit. Learn more at btoes.com.

504x672
AWARD 2019-1
Copy of Copy of btoes19
Subscribe to Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Insights Now
btoes19.png
png
certificate
png
btoes19healthcare
png
3-30
png
Copy of Copy of btoes19 (1)
png

Featured Content

  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Technology & Communications: IBM
  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities: Black & Veatch
  • Best Achievement in Cultural Transformation to deliver a high performing Operational Excellence culture: NextEra Energy
Operational Excellence Frameworks and Learning Resources, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation and more introductions
  • Intelligent BPM Systems: Impact & Opportunity
  • Surviving_the_IT_Talent_deficit.png
  • Six Sigma's Best Kept Secret: Motorola & The Malcolm Baldrige Awards
  • The Value-Switch for Digitalization Initiatives: Business Process Management
  • Process of Process Management: Strategy Execution in a Digital World

Popular Tags

Operational Excellence Business Transformation Business Improvement Process Management Business Excellence Process Optimization Leadership process excellence Process Improvement Continuous Improvement Premium Execution Excellence Change Management Lean Enterprise Enterprise Excellence Lean Six Sigma Organizational Excellence BTOES18 Lean Capability Excellence Culture Transformation Healthcare and Medical Devices Changing & Improving Company Culture Digital Transformation Execution & Sustaining OpEx Projects New Technologies end-to-end Business Transformation Agile Lack of/Need for Resources Adapting to Business Trends Changing Customer Demands Failure to Innovate Integrating CI Methodologies Lack of/Need for Skilled Workers Lack of/Need for Support from Employees Leadership Understanding & Buy-In Maintaining key Priorities Relationships Between Departments Culture BTOES HEALTH BTOES Video Presentations Customer Experience Technology Process Automation Strategy Execution Innovation Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing BPM Agility Systems Engineering Process Design Report Exclusive Awards BTOES Presentation Slides thought leaders Insurance Robotic Process Automation Healthcare Professional Services Banking and Capital Markets White Paper BTOES19 Consumer Products & Retail Operational Excellence Model Project Management value creation Customer Experience Excellence Data Analytics data management innovation execution digital operations Automotive and Transportation Interview Operational Excellence Example Artificial Intelligence business expansion revenue growth Data Digital Frameworks Primary Measure of succes Workplace Analytics transformation journey BTOES17 Business Growth Kaizen Lean Culture Learning organization NPS Net Promoter Score Oil and Gas Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Six Sigma Telecommunications business process automation investment banking Announcement BTOES18 Award Winners BTOES18 Awards Client Feedback Strategy Communication Communications Denial Management Education HealthcareTechnologies Hoshin Planning Hospitality & Construction Human Centered Design Infographic Innovation in Healthcare Integrated Decision Approach Integrated Decision Making Jidoka Learning Resource Oil & Gas Recruitment Supply Chain Management Team Text Mining The FAST lane eHealth master text analytics virtual resource management