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The most exciting part of my job as the CEO of TAV Airports is dealing with people, especially our passengers and employees. TAV operates 15 airports and delivers services such as duty-free shopping, upscale dining, entertainment and passenger lounge services and parking management to another 75 airports around the world. I constantly ask myself how I can better connect with all those people traveling through and running our airport operations.
Creating happy passengers
My primary focus is to create happy passengers. We’ve already worked hard to put information into their hands on their iPhone, iPads and other devices. Before coming to the airport they can learn about empty parking spaces, dedicated check-in areas and food and beverage concessions. This helps reduce their anxiety and creates a better traveling experience.
But that’s not the whole story. We know that employees who feel connected and listened to are happier. And happy employees are more inspired to deliver an outstanding customer experience. We were doing a great job communicating with our passengers. However, I also wanted to empower our employees to communicate freely with each other and with me.
Connecting employees with collaboration platform
I’ve always considered myself an accessible CEO, but our front-line employees were too shy to reach me through email. Then I learned about IBM Connections. Here was a way for our 85,000 employees from different countries and cultures to collaborate and share their thoughts and ideas. We call our IBM Connections collaboration platform TAVFACE. It has become the Facebook of our company. Within TAVFACE employees can share their concerns and suggestions about airport operations through forums, wikis and communities.
Before we implemented TAVFACE, our employees were readers. They read emails and updates and directives from their managers and the company. Now, through this platform, they write everything they want, and I read it. I am hearing them, their managers are hearing them, and it makes the employees happy.
Connectivity = productivity
At TAV we say “connectivity is productivity.” IBM Connections is helping make TAV airport operations more productive. For example, an IT group needed to speak to a key airport CEO, and had been trying unsuccessfully for three months to get an appointment with him. We have a TAV Academy, which trains and certifies airport CEOs. The IT people saw on their social feed that this executive was attending a training session just down the hall from them. They leapt at the opportunity to speak to him, and were able to tell him what they needed from him. Who knows how much longer it would have taken them to get that meeting through traditional channels?
Enhancing airport operations
We’re a growing, global company in a world constantly connected by technology. Our passengers and employees come from different cultures, and we want to understand and connect with those cultures locally and abroad. TAVFACE lets our employees from the Medina airport make and connect with friends in Macedonia, Latvia and Georgia, for example. This helps them increase their social networks and bridges intellectual and cultural gaps. These informed, connected employees can now understand and deal more easily with people from different cultures and geographies, improving service and passenger satisfaction at our airports.
To build on the success of TAVFACE, I plan to provide our passengers with a similar capability to communicate with us directly. We’ll be able to identify customer struggles faster, and drive further improvements to our passengers’ experience of our airports and services.
Learn more about how TAV Airports is using IBM Connections to empower employees by reading their client success case study and by watching the below video interview with CEO Dr. Mustafa Sani Şener.