Customer Experience

Head of Customer Experience Programs at JetBlue Talks About Streamlining the Airport Check-in Process

Liliana Petrova, Head of Customer Experience Programs at JetBlue Airways, talked about how JetBlue transformed the airport lobby check-in experience for its customers.

At the first keynote presentation of the day at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held on April 20 in New York, Petrova began by talking about her company and its core values:
integrity, safety, passion, fun, and caring. “Everyone in my company not only knows these but lives them,” she said. “JetBlue’s three corporate pillars are: differentiated products and culture, competitive costs, and high-value geography. Each of these has its own customer-experience strategy that was developed by journey mapping and talking to customers about what’s important to them. The customer-service vision is delivering a personal, helpful, and simple customer experience.”

“Each of [our corporate pillars] has its own customer-experience strategy that was developed by journey mapping and talking to customers about what’s important to them. The customer-service vision is delivering a personal, helpful, and simple customer experience.”

The main focus of Petrova’s presentation was describing her efforts to transform the customer check-in experience in the airport lobby. “There were long queue lines in a lobby that was designed for domestic flights. The NPS pre-security metric was declining. Part of what was happening was that our growth was impacting our infrastructure,” she explained.

Petrova’s transformation project began in September 2015. “In December, I went to a fellow carrier executive and asked him about a similar project he did with his company. He said it took him 18 months. I went back to the business and asked for 12 months. I was given six. I had to figure out how to build the technology and test it by April 2016. We did this in San Juan, Puerto Rico, because there was no way to do it at JFK,” said Petrova. “We had three different technology partners who were working together, we had a construction side that had to redesign the lobby during this period, and we had brand briefs that we had to design around this. Lastly, we had a training for the crew members to deliver this new technology. We launched this in June 2016 in JFK.”

The steps involved in the transformation involved expanding the lobby, choosing a lobby layout design, and introducing automation. “We incorporated customer self-tagging. Other carriers have done this, but we added an automated bag drop so customers wouldn’t have to go back on line to drop their bags. The goal was to have customers feel like they didn’t wait at all in this process. Our aim was for the customer to enter the lobby, check in at the kiosk, drop their bags, and proceed to security within two minutes,” said Petrova.

“Our aim was for the customer to enter the lobby, check in at the kiosk, drop their bags, and proceed to security within two minutes.”

“The customer’s touchpoints are the kiosk and the bag drop. We wanted signage that was intuitive, allowing the customer to easily grasp the sequence of events as soon as they entered the lobby. So we identified the two touchpoints on the signage as ‘1’ and ‘2.’”

Here are the results of the JetBlue lobby transformation:
• NPS improved by 1% (“JetBlue is in the mid-60s, which is already good,” said Petrova).
• There was a 63% decrease year-over-year on social media comments about “long lines.”
• Previously, time in the queue averaged 15 to 20 minutes and six minutes for transactions. After the new design, customers spent less than two minutes in the queue and 30 seconds in transactions.
• Bag drop time dropped by 50%.

Petrova said she found out last year that JetBlue is the only carrier in North America that has no podium between the customer and the crew member. “This forces an interaction between the crew member and the customer. The design of the space triggers behaviors you don’t even need to teach,” she explained. “There are also no computers at the bag-drop area; crew members have handheld devices that can only check bags. Because they don’t handle any other customer requests, this really accelerates the process.”

“The design of the space triggers behaviors you don’t even need to teach.”

In closing, Petrova said there’s a section in the JetBlue lobby for people who don’t want to or don’t know how to use the self-service technology.

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE LEADERSHIP FORUM - San Francisco in San Francisco, CA on Feb 27, 2020

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