Airporter Awarded Gold Star for Service Excellence

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Innovation Excellence
Airporter, the Derry/Londonderry bus service to the Belfast airports is awarded EFQM Gold Star for Service Excellence.

Company Background

Airporter is a family run transport company based in Derry/Londonderry providing a direct scheduled coach service connecting the North West with the 2 Belfast Airports. The business was established in 1996 and now carries 80,000 passengers a year and employs 20 people. Airporter has developed a reputation for being an industry leader in innovation and quality of service. In 2009 Airporter was the first coach company in Northern Ireland to introduce free Wifi on board the whole fleet and in 2010 introduced the first online reservation system for coach travel in Northern Ireland. 

Reaction and Impact

The reaction from staff was excellent, and the results from the first audit were startling: we could clearly see that while the management team were involved with activities which clearly addressed Customer Service excellence, we weren’t sharing nearly enough with the staff so we had many areas of what Adrian called “divergence”.  We also found that while there was clearly an ethos of customer service, we had a great deal to do to clearly define what was expected by staff, management and customer. We began with customer service training (including Customer Service NVQ’s for 13 staff members) and then began to put in place tangible guidelines including a Customer Service Charter, a staff handbook and set up monthly team meetings. While we were delighted to have successfully achieved our accreditation, we are even more pleased with the process and the results at the end of it. 

Benefits

Expected Medium & Long Term Business Benefits

-       A more empowered staff who are better trained to deliver excellent service and to promote the company and our values.

-       A better communication channel with our customers to ensure we are developing in a way that is responsive to their needs.

-       A more comprehensive system which captures complements, complaints and comments and tracks the progress of improvements

-       A more defined brand for Airporter, which encourages our customers to leave their cars at home and use the Airporter.

-       A more structured approach to business planning which will make expansion more ambitious, more profitable and more organized

-       A better management system including new KPI’s and definition of success.

-       Ultimately, a more stream lined and profitable company making Airporter a role model for small businesses in transport and beyond. 

  • Jennifer McKeever. Director

    "I can say that the whole process has been thoroughly worthwhile, highly motivating for staff and has helped us put systems into place that have brought the company forward enormously. It has given us a renewed focus and we plan to use our achievement to make ourselves role models for customer service within the service industry for the upcoming City of Culture 2013 year. I would highly recommend the process for other companies and can I add it has been a pleasure to have been mentored by the Centre for Competitiveness during the past 6 months."