The measurement of quality of service is not without its challenges. In the past, Canberra Airport’s quality of service was assessed by an annual survey of two airlines, as its primary ‘customers’. Aside from reliability issues associated with the small sample size of the survey, and the inherent bias from commercially attuned airlines providing the survey response, this approach failed to gauge the service delivered to the ultimate customer, the passenger.
Canberra Airport has, therefore, adopted an alternative approach, one focussed on the quality of service delivered to passengers, as determined by the passengers. This involves collecting and collating all passenger feedback on airport facilities, from multiple sources, identifying and aggregating common themes and, finally, reporting on the basis of these common themes.
This approach has the following advantages over the traditional survey approach:
- Rather than a periodic survey conducted over a matter of weeks, the process of collecting data for quality of service measurement is continuous, throughout the year (and, therefore not selective in any part of the year).
- The timeliness of quality of service data, based on the ability for passengers to provide feedback at any time during the year, means that there is less chance of erosion of detail and extent of information than might otherwise occur if the provision of feedback is delayed until the next survey period.
- Passengers can provide feedback in an unconstrained manner, free from the restrictions of a predetermined set of survey questions. This allows the feedback to be both as specific and wide ranging as necessary, minimises the risk of omission (which may occur in a restrictive survey format), and yields a more meaningful dataset.
- Sourcing the quality of service data directly from the passengers delivers a dataset directly from the ultimate customer, and is free from the commercial bias of one or more airlines.
Importantly, the interest of airlines in the standard of services delivered by the Airport is not overlooked. The interests of airlines are protected by the long-term contractual agreements between airports and airlines, where airlines have recourse for faults or failures in the facilities and services provided by the Airport.