Cairns Airport Parking: A case study in reconnecting with your customers

Cairns Airport Parking had lost market share and was held back from providing an exceptional customer experience. As part of a new top-driven strategic direction for Cairns Airport their customer service approach has undergone a transformation of late, winning back market share by encompassing a relentless focus on putting the customer experience first.

Major Customer Insights and Segmentation Study
Cairns Airport commissioned TH?NK Global Research (TH?NK) to understand their customers better. TH?NK engaged nearly 2000 of their customers to map their end-to-end Cairns journey. They case studied customers, businesses, the airport’s employees, and the community. This told the business what they needed to do to win back customers – discounts, rewards for loyalty, and better service. Following presentation of their findings, employees were provided a handy reference manual which gives simple guidelines for engagement with customers. Department-specific content was also collated with useful reference scenarios.

Sharing insights with Secure Parking
Cairns Airport Parking engages Secure Parking (by way of a management agreement). Secure Parking were key to implementing changes and have been fully included in our journey towards exceptional customer service. All TH?NK material and training was shared with Secure Parking so they have the tools they need to individually improve the customer experience. The approach is one cohesive team, to give customers a seamless and positive parking experience.

Collaboration to action internal feedback was particularly valuable. Secure Parking’s detailed input and considered feedback following the busy Christmas period, was used to improve the Easter operation. This included everything from correcting confusing street signs, to what information Secure Parking would need and when.

Marketing literature
The Cairns Airport Parking marketing literature is overwhelmingly customer-centric, emphasising that Cairns wants to make every visit a positive customer experience. In 2017 Cairns Airport Parking won the Parking Australia Outstanding Marketing and Communications Award for the Meet the Parkers campaign. This hugely successful initiative has helped changed the value perception of Cairns Airport Parking.

Further marketing campaigns were launched this year, including Christmas and Easter Free Valet Parking initiatives which were offered when the car parks neared capacity. Customers need to easily find a space, so when heavy March rain saw our covered product reaching capacity, the Secure Parking team took the initiative to roll out the valet service again to meet demand. The open door approach promoted by leadership positively encourages everyone to put ideas forward, and has seen fabulous initiatives launched by Secure Parking.

Customer Connectedness
“Connectedness” is embedded in the Cairns strategy, and characterised daily by the team, who warmly greet and serve each car park customer to spread the good feeling. Cairns Airport Parking also maintains formal mechanisms to connect to customers to record, measure, and integrate feedback into strategy.

Airport Service Quality (ASQ)
Cairns Airport Parking invests in ASQ, a global benchmarking program measuring customer satisfaction at airports around the world. Cairns Airport Parking use the impartial ASQ system to measure performance against selected criteria including car parking satisfaction. Customer Service is frequently changed based on the feedback score, then monitored and improvement-measured.

Direct Customer Feedback
The website offers an online feedback form. Hardcopy feedback forms are located in the car park service kiosk and terminals, conveniently placed next to handy tourist information. Other feedback, including Facebook and Google Reviews, is also transposed into the online form. All this feedback is collated and recorded using ASQ methodology, to combine all feedback in a consistent, measurable way.

Customer Value Collaboration Forum
Monthly forums review all feedback, ensuring every issue is addressed and disseminated to business units. Business units have benefited from sharing feedback by breaking down ‘silos’ and leveraging ideas to ensure the overall Cairns Airport Parking customer experience continues to improve e.g. free parking with shopping purchase. Actions are taken to improve how tasks are performed.

The Leadership’s vision of putting customers first, has turned Cairns Airport Parking’s performance around. Prior to May 2017, Cairns Airport Parking was performing well with +4% revenue growth, but had lost market share with total parking days purchased down by -6.4%.

Customer-centricity embedded in our operational plan has delivered on our core growth strategy and regained market share. Total parking days purchased has improved vastly by +7.2%. Repeat customers have grown by +13% to now make up 73% of the total business.

The business has seen vast improvements in performance and sales; the team is energised and morale is higher than ever. Most importantly, the car park operator – Secure Parking, was along for the ride.

Cairns Airport Parking was the winner of Outstanding Customer Service category at the 2018 Parking Industry Awards. Feedback from the judges identified that, “To take the decision to take a hard look at yourself, takes courage. Actively seeking feedback from consumers was a bold step but has paid off handsomely. The dedication of the staff is fantastic.”

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