After reading this article, I’m pretty much in favor of her improvement recommendations for O’Hare. That may not be my exact list, but the author, Mary Schmich, certainly gets you thinking about possible improvements at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
In my mind, you have such a great opportunity to make O’Hare a better place for all travelers and visitors. Why not have the approach that we are never finished satisfying our customers. We are consumer centric and if necessary, we’ll survey travelers for suggestions and input. It’s about doing the little things every day, in many ways to add value where you can.
Most of us know weather in Chicago does not always cooperate and many travelers experience layovers (for various reasons) but why not make O’Hare great? Is it possible to improve the customer experience without adversely affecting the good things at the airport? One suggestion in the article mentioned improvements in the food choices at O’Hare. If you add healthy items or more food variety but don’t take away from the existing faire, you’re adding some value for some with a discriminating palate without reducing the experience for those who like the typical restaurants or current original vendors.
Another improvement suggested in the article pertained to the baggage claim. Why not add more seats there? Why not consider adding an area nearby for some refreshments? You would be providing a place for people to sit and wait for their luggage or for people to sit waiting for people waiting for their luggage and maybe enjoying a refreshment. Is this too simplistic? You have thousands of travelers weekly going through the baggage claim with limited places to sit nearby. Do those in charge think it’s not a big deal? I know there’s a cost involved, but there’s an opportunity to sell refreshments and merchandise too.
According to the latest surveys, O’Hare has a below-average rating, being at No. 14 among 19 large airports. What about trending, are they moving up or down or just settling to be in the second or third tier among large airports? I say, leave the conservative, we can’t change too many things at once, Midwestern outlook behind. Look at things with an international perspective – tap into that resource and improve whenever or wherever you can.
A new paradigm: How can I make this airport excel? What can I do to get O’Hare travelers talking about something positive and not dwell on the weather or traffic congestion in Chicago? Aim high. Check with customers and as we know, feedback is a gift even if it’s negative and painful to hear. Is there even a suggestion box for people to make recommendations? Are visitors’ input solicited for improvement opportunities? Do the people in charge care about input we may have? Ask locals, national and international travelers. Make a serious attempt at making something really special.