On a recent trip through DFW Airport an advertisement caught my eye.  Not for a product, but for DFW’s customer satisfaction metrics.  One way to improve service is to survey customers.  DFW took it a step further by making those results public!

Their metrics were things like: terminal cleanliness, ease of finding your way, courtesy and helpfulness of security and check-in staff, courtesy of airline check-in staff, and restaurant/eating facilities.  And their scores (on a 5-point Likert scale) ranged from 4.0 for washroom cleanliness to 4.3 for ease of finding your way.

DFW further segments results by terminals.  I like this idea because it fosters healthy competition among terminal staffs.  There’s little harm in sharing the details because, as consumers of the service, we already know which terminals are ‘better’.  As an experiment during a long layover, check out the difference between terminals in an airport.  Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport is a good test case.  The international terminal is spacious and clean while some of the others are narrow, dark, and dirty.

DFW misses two opportunities.

  1. DFW should post their results relative to an industry benchmark.  Management at DFW should determine which airports (globally and locally) set the standards and match their results to those of DFW.  For good results, that would help DFW showcase their performance.
  2. DFW should use the advertisements to highlight planned improvements.

What DFW has done, and what so many companies are afraid to do, is share customer satisfaction survey information.  This level of transparency creates a bond between customer and provider and enables a dialogue.

The pivot point is that service transparency forces service improvements.  Without sharing results, management can hide in blissful ignorance.  By sharing results, by opening a forum so that customers can comment, critique, and yes, complain about service, companies take a visible step in acknowledging what customers want and hold themselves accountable to improvements.  Which kind of company would you rather do business with, one that purports to deliver high quality service, or one which  shares its results transparently?

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