Changi Airport is the main airport in Singapore and handles about 37,000,000 passengers each year making it the world’s 21st busiest airport and 5th busiest in Asia by passenger traffic in 2009. 13,000 people are employed at the airport and, in addition to being an important passenger hub, Changi is also one of the busiest cargo airports in the world handling about 1.66 billion tons of cargo each year.
Since its opening in 1981 the airport has made its mark in the aviation industry as a benchmark for service excellence, winning over 280 awards in a 20-year period from 1987 to 2007, including 19 Best Airport awards in 2007 alone. Most recently it was named World’s Best Airport in the 2010 Skytrax World Airport Awards – awards that are based on passenger choice with over 9.8 million completed survey interviews!
No doubt there would be many reasons as to why Changi receives so many accolades. From available leisure activities to security to dining and shopping, the options are many; but for me there is one thing that stands out every time I visit: the toilets are clean.
Not just clean, but scrupulously clean in a hermetically sealed kind of way that makes me think I could eat off the floor. They are an absolute joy to visit and symbolic of the pride and attention to detail the Changi Airport employees have in their work.
As you enter the toilets there is in fact a photo on the wall of the staff member responsible for keeping them clean! Had I run into him on my last visit I would have warmly shaken his hand (and possibly gone back into the toilets to wash my hands again).
It strikes me: this is what service should actually look like. Not the oft-mouthed, self-bestowed superlatives so many companies indulge in to try and convince us of the quality of their service, but service that can actually be seen.
Demonstrable quality, clearly identifiable responsibility and a personal touch that doesn’t have to be shouted from the rooftops for the simple reason that it is so blindingly obvious to anyone who has the privilege to experience it.That is why Changi International Airport is my favourite.