“Developing great customer experience requires persistent work; there are no quick wins. But I truly believe in the added value that customer understanding brings to business,” says Sanna Vatjus, Finavia’s Head of Customer Experience.
Vatjus’ current title was appointed in the spring of 2018 when customer experience was made one of Finavia’s strategic priorities. The new role suits Vatjus well, as digging into clients’ views was one of her core competences in previous roles in market research, and most recently as the research manager at Finavia.
“The transition felt natural because understanding the passenger’s path is based precisely on research and testing, methods familiar to me from my previous jobs,” says Vatjus.
Customer experience is a new way of thinking
Finavia’s four pillars of customer experience – sense of time, security, refreshment and Finnish experiences – steer the development of the airport services. Finavia aims at offering these experiences and feelings to passengers throughout the airport.
“When we look at the airport spaces, for example, we try to make sure they reflect a sense of Finnishness,” says Vatjus.
Vatjus believes that the entire airport staff creates the customer experience, all the way from the check-in desks to the gates. It is also a priority in all of Finavia’s development projects.
Award-winning customer experience is based on data
Finavia’s long-term work towards smooth travelling and high-quality customer experience has recently earned two awards.
Airports Council International, a non-profit organisation representing the world’s airports, named Helsinki Airport as the best European airport of its size (15 to 25 million annual passengers). The Finnish Association of Marketing Research Agencies also awarded Finavia with a “Market Research Act of the Year 2019” award for Finavia’s versatile development work at Helsinki Airport.
“We appreciate all the feedback that we get, and develop our operations based on it. It’s great to have our efforts acknowledged with these awards,” says Vatjus.
The awards, according to Vatjus, show that at Finavia, customer experience is regarded as a new way of thinking and of doing business, which requires a solid service culture.
Proud employees create great experiences
Vatjus finds it interesting to observe passengers’ behavior at the airport and to help and guide them, for instance in finding their way to the lost and found, while speaking with them. She encourages the airport staff to actively exchange experiences with colleagues, be present when encountering people, and serve passengers in a way that feels natural to them. Each member of the airport staff has an influence on customer experience.
“I hope I can help people feel proud about their work and create a sense of community at the airport. That way, we can improve both customer and employee experience at once.”