Embarrased to be English
Travelling a lot around the globe I see a number of airports. It was always been a certain sense of pride for me that Heathrow Airport was the busiest international airport. But recently I have realised that maybe my pride is misplaced as the experience at Heathrow is so poor. Recently I have visited Skipoll in Amsterdam, Madrid, Bangkok, Singapore airports just to name a few. These are what proper airports should really look like. They are clean, modern, and efficient. It is like visiting a shopping mall. I then fly back to Heathrow and I am embarrassed at the poor state of our “flag ship” airport. Only last week on landing oin Heathrow I made the mistake of looking up at the ceiling to see wires, air ducts and other services hanging down. Heathrow, in my view, is a national disgrace. My worry is this is our window to the world. This is the first and last thing people see when visiting England.We all know first impressions count. What happens in 2012 when we host the Olympics? What a poor showcase to the world….. So from a Customer Experience perspective what is happening here? In my view, it can be summed in three main areas.
1: Lack of competition
2 :Lack of leadership
3: An “inside out” culture
As outlines in the Times a lack of effective competition means, in my view, BAA are not motivated enough to make changes that are so desperately need. One of the key questions we always ask our clients is “where is the pain?” If you are not suffering pain people will not change, unless they have strong inspirational leadership who can motivate them. Therefore with no pain nor motivating leadership the result is an “inside out” culture. In other words a culture where people are more interested in themselves than the customer.
Personally I would support the proposed break up of BAA, and I would like to se this happen now to enable us to have some chance of getting Heathrow in some state of readiness for 2012 Olympics.
By COLIN SHAW | Published: AUGUST 29, 2008