Why I love Singapore Airport

It is the little things which matter.

A tired expression, yet organizations never seem to quite grasp this concept- be it inability, lack of care, or just laziness.

Anyways- lets get straight down to the title of this post. Why do I love Singapore Airport? Well, lets begin with what it provides.

The Augmented Product Model

Singapore airport provides a simple service: a location for passengers to check in, wait, and board their aircraft.

This is what we would call the “core product offering”. (Part of the “Augmented Product Model”)

The next layer is the “expected layer”. This involves things we take for granted which are actually not the core function of a product. For airports, things such as restaurants, shops, lounges, seats. Even for a low-cost carrier, this is so ingrained with what people expect that not including it is near blasphemy.

The one after is the “augmented layer”. This is the domain which has the potential to amaze and wow customers. Many organizations try to get in here, some successfully. This requires giving customers something nobody else does or can- what gives one product the edge over others.

What is Singapore Airport’s Augmented Layer?

There are many things, but one of which I am quite impressed with is the feedback system. This:


Not only is this located outside of all the toilets, but on immigration booths, etc. Anywhere which causes people anxiety and dissatisfaction.

Why is this an augmented layer? Because not many other airports make you feel so valued as a customer. It’s screaming “You matter. What you think matters. Thank you for coming here!”

The benefits of a feedback system

But apart from showing customers that they matter, what else does a feedback system do?

Three things: metrics, improvement, and venting.

The first two deal directly with examples of amazing management processes. Metrics is important. If you have a service, what is the best way to monitor quality? With products, you can stress-test the product. Services, on the other hand, are fleeting, quick, inconsistent, and subjective. Within this domain, it is amazing to have a metric for collecting data on how well the organisation is doing, much more to have that metric so easily accessible and convenient. Metrics enable the airport in this case to say “see… we’re improving- and this is exactly how much.” +1 promotion is on the way! If not, it tells you where you’re lacking. This leads us straight on to our second point.

Feedback systems encourage continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is a term used in management which describes the continual pursuit of perfection. This recognizes that perfection is not a goal, but rather a process. Companies which fall under the trap of “yep, this is good enough. Maintain it.” are soon to go out of business. Companies which recognize that there is always more ways they can relate to and delight a customer are doing it right. This enables managers to see the faults of their system, and improve on it. But that’s not the only way! Having a measurement system also places accountability on the staff. This wards away terrible behaviors such as laziness, cutting corners, and other productivity-destroying states and attitudes. Some argue this puts too much pressure- being constantly monitored. This is sometimes true, but depends on the system and manager. If the manager uses the data collected to punish and threaten the staff- of course. De-motivation, depression, and other emotions are soon to follow. However, if the manager uses the information to help the employee improve and reward the employee- this has the capability to highly motivate.

Finally, venting. This has more to do with crisis management. Dissatisfied customers usually behave in a predictable way. Below a certain threshold, they just dislike the brand. This decreases patronage, but sometimes they have no choice. If they dislike the brand past a certain point, they will start looking for substitutes. That’s still alright, it is impossible to retain all customers. The dangerous point is if customers dislike the brand so much that they feel the need to speak out against it, boycott it, or otherwise make their dissatisfaction known publicly or within their friendship circles. This is where feedback systems come in. It has been shown that feedback systems such as surveys and complaint boxes curb this desire. Simply put, if you get your customers to complain to you, they are less likely to complain to other people. Of course, this attempt must look genuine, and perhaps be incentivised (even something as simple as thanks will do) to have maximum effect.


So all in all, feedback systems have lots of benefits, and prevents lots of negatives as well. It is a simple and customisable tool which should be supported on management and marketing levels. Provided the organisation has the means to maintain and utilise, feedback systems are almost always helpful- and it seems Singapore Airport understands this quite well. Well done, Changi.

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