Pittsburgh International Airport to provide updated passenger experience

A new scheme will challenge the traditional ideas of passenger experience with customer social care, assisted by resources from Carlow University.

Pittsburgh International Airport and Carlow University have teamed up to develop a new proactive approach to improving the customer experience.

Carlow is curating and piloting a first-of-its-kind airport-customer social-care service programme that moves beyond minimum expectations.

The airport and Carlow are collaborating to develop an industry-leading customer social-care skill-builder programme that provides specialised on-demand mobile/digital support unlike any other in a traditional U.S. airport setting. To accomplish this initiative, customer-care agents will be deployed as a mobile team in the terminal as part of a one-year pilot programme.

Christina Cassotis, CEO of Pittsburgh International Airport, said: “We want to create a unique experience that could redefine the way airports approach customer service. We’re excited to partner with Carlow, which is a part of the region’s rich educational heritage.”

Equipped with iPads, the agents will provide real-time updates on irregular airport operations, such as flight delays or cancellations, and help travellers solve other problems.

Dr. Jim Ice, Dean of Carlow’s new College of Professional Studies, which is focused on meeting the educational needs of regional companies and their adult learners, commented: “The customer care agents, graduates of Carlow, will give the airport feedback and make recommendations to help develop and craft the programme into exactly what the airport wants it to be. It’s exciting to be part of something as dynamic as what Pittsburgh International is doing and to help them think a little differently about this concept of customer social care and how the resources Carlow University can provide will help advance those ideas.”

The agents will play a critical role in development of the skill-builder programme by being highly visible in the airport terminal while identifying, receiving and addressing passenger needs at every service opportunity.

The university worked with airport officials to develop an innovative customer social care skill-building programme to assist in developing a new type of customer experience. Ten online courses were developed to help teach these focused customer-care skills. Topics included: Intercultural communication, crisis communication, conflict management, digital environment relationship building and proactive social media communication to focus on meeting the customer’s needs both face-to-face and via digital media.

The development and enhancement of processes and utilisation of technology will allow for real-time information sharing, personalised wayfinding, individualised customer interactions, integration with internal operations and ultimately lead to an increased positive customer experience.

The partnership with Carlow is the latest collaboration between the airport and the region’s leading educational institutions. The airport already engages regularly with Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University and others.

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