In our occasional series on customer experience strategies in airports, Sev Fevzi talks to Marva Greenidge, a Certified Customer Service Professional (CCSP), who has worked with the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) for the past 14 years. The authority manages the island’s largest gateway, Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) as well as the regional airport of George F.L. Charles Airport (GFL).
Greenidge has over 10 years’ experience in the airline industry, two of which were spent assisting with the operations of a new carrier in Antigua followed by a return to her native Saint Lucia.
UVF, which was once a military airfield, is now Saint Lucia’s international passenger and cargo hub, with flights from major cities like New York, Miami, and London. Greenidge says her profound wish is for everyone at UVF to offer exceptional customer service—continuously. She sees Modalis Infrastructure Partners, Airports Council International, and other industry stakeholders as key in helping to achieve next-level service goals.
With your airports being destination getaways in the Caribbean, what does SLASPA do best when it comes to providing a distinguished experience for its passenger?
The SLASPA airport team guides passengers seamlessly from initial entry to ground transportation. Clear signage directs passengers from the aircraft parking areas to the arrival lounge where customer service representatives meet them.
Immigration officers and Customs and Excise officers are trained to offer a professional, yet national, welcome. The final leg would be the arrival lobby where destination management companies and taxi services are available to take the passengers to their hotels or residences.
Greenidge: "It takes a team effort to deliver exceptional customer service."
In your opinion, what is the best way to develop awareness across various departments to gain CX success?
Continued in-house training and incorporating ACI workshops on Safety, Environment, Management, and of course, Customer Experience as part of the strategic plans.
In the post-pandemic recovery period, how have the fundamentals of customer experience altered and what has that meant for the way you operate now, and will do going forwards?
We have listened to our passengers and continue to work with our industry partners. For example, as of March 1, we are facilitating seamless entry with the introduction of an online Embarkation/Disembarkation (ED) form. We also removed health screening forms for travel to Saint Lucia which took effect back in February.
How much does the success of the airport depend on stakeholder collaboration and can you give us some examples?
It takes a team effort to deliver exceptional customer service. An example of this is in presenting ACI/ASQ research findings to our airport community for confirmation that they are performing to industry standards, with improvements where necessary. Another example is in our meet-and-greet (Fast Track) service where both Immigration and Customs & Excise departments play a big role in facilitating this service.
What do you envisage is the way forward for airports to become more profitable in the future?
By continuing to listen to all airport users—both internal and external, and introducing and/or modifying our products and services accordingly. This has been evident in the upgrade of our restaurant food offerings for example. As Carl W. Buehner said: “Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”
What advice do you have for others who want to reinvent their customer experience, and what is next for your own location?
Listen, research, and implement in a timely fashion. The present infrastructure has been operating at maximum capacity so the new $175 million Hewanorra International Airport Redevelopment incorporating a 30-year master plan, will see a modernized facility to meet the needs of visitors and locals.