I was on a Latam flight, seat 7C, when the flight attendant came to me, called me by name and invited me to sit a little further forward, where there was more space and I could be more comfortable.
The attitude surprised me and, somehow, gave new meaning to my entire experience with the company.
What did it take for this relatively simple action to happen?
Training, systems, briefings, guidelines, governance, performance indicators, tools available to the commissioner and, without a doubt, above all, attitude.
In addition to the complexity of implementing a process for thousands of flights per month and all the support, this small attitude would not happen if somehow the company was not creating a quality-oriented mindset.
And it is this point that, as a quality-obsessed manager, I would like to explore: the creation of a quality mindset, which guides the company's actions at all levels of operation and management.
And mentality - whatever it is, cost, quality, excellence in service - is something that depends on a lot of focus, continuous communication effort, alignment of objectives in different spheres of the organization, harmony between KPIs, incentives, investment priorities , training and hundreds of hours of managers to make it happen.
The quality that comes from mindset is the most difficult to achieve, because it is not determined only by how much we can spend, but derives from the effort for every company to move in the same direction, in a consistent and lasting way.
Quality in the provision of services is a construction, it requires regularity, it must happen in the morning, in the afternoon and at night, when everyone is watching, when no one is watching, when the passenger is premium or when it is his first trip.
Of course, a quality service depends on how much we are willing to spend on items that make a difference to the consumer, but the mindset helps the company to maximize these expenses, generating additional value, which only companies with this mindset can achieve. In practice, it is possible to do more with a smaller amount of resources.
In this equation, in addition to focusing on processes, it is important to be willing to listen to all feedback, trying to understand where we can improve. Usually when we are trying to do our best, we don't find some feedback fair, and many don't make us comfortable, but here the main point is to listen to it and take advantage of it to boost the mindset.
Another key point is governance, aggregating feedback received, action plans for operational improvements, the costs involved for changes, planning for improvements to be implemented and performance indicators measured. Governance guarantees the company's constant attention and commitment to the perpetuity of the mentality in creation.
In airports, the sum of small factors makes the passenger perceive a quality environment. Silent airport, where non-automated speeches are avoided as much as possible, clean, well-lit environment, clear wayfinding, quick inspection channel are the first items that impact the customer.
Other initiatives such as reducing visual pollution, whether from advertising or communications from airlines and the airport itself, and employees ready to guide and support passengers will also help to create an environment where people feel good.
Training of all stakeholders who have contact with the passenger, from cleaning to the parking lot, and food and beverage options at reasonable prices, if we want the airport to not only be the inevitable alternative for consumption, they are also ways to influence and create this mentality.
Relentless attention to detail helps to forge the mindset necessary for quality to last. A quality based on processes focused on the passenger's points of contact and stress and fueled by constant indicators and feedback.
Added together, all these factors generate experience, as they are perceived by customers and confronted with their expectations. This is closely linked to the perception of quality in services, when we have intangible elements involved in the process, such as reliability: translated into the ability to perform the service safely and efficiently; tangibility: physical facilities, equipment, and elements that can be perceived by the human senses; responsiveness: the attentive way, with precision and speed of response, warranty: workers' knowledge and ability to convey confidence; and last but not least the empathy: how much the company truly cares about its customer.
In general, the instruments are available for everyone to do, but only a well-planned and tireless process that feeds back will be able to sustain it in the long term.
It's very easy to clean an airport, service an important passenger, have a few days of perfect operation, but we only generate value when we do it consistently.
In this sense, the creation of mentality is what enables and perpetuates an environment of quality and competitive advantage. After all, what company doesn't want, as Latam managed to make a positive experience with its customers in a simple gesture with me?