Business – Boston Logan Airport – Committed to Customer Service
Boston Logan Airport serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 76 domestic and 35 international destinations and in 2012 handled 29.3 million passengers. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. As part of its commitment, Logan Airport has made increased customer service a reality with the addition of high technology solutions including like the Tensator Virtual Assistants, next generation digital signage.
Challenge – Inform 6,000 Passengers of Security Procedures Consistently in Spanish and English — All Day & Every Day
With over 6,000 travelers per day — many of them native Spanish-speakers — ensuring consistent bi-lingual instructions regarding the security screening process was proving challenging. In a world where information is delivered by email or mobile devices, posted signs was having little effect with people just tuning them out. Having bi-lingual TSA officers give instructions to passengers regarding what items to remove from their bags, clothing to remove, the number of permissible liquid ounces they can carry etc…just wasn’t an effective use of the officers’ time.
“We wanted to have a more effective way to communicate with our customers, quicken passenger flow and the overall screening process, and most importantly we wanted to free up TSA officers to focus on security screening. The number of signs that we have out are somewhat ineffective at times because it’s just overwhelming. We needed an attention-getting process,” said Ed Freni, Director of Aviation for Massport.
Solution – Carla, Boston Logan’s Virtual Customer Service Agent Captivates Passengers
“Safety and security is our number one priority, and good security means good customer service. This new virtual greeter gives us an opportunity to collaborate with the TSA on a more efficient security checkpoint by educating passengers ahead of time on the do’s and the dont’s of security screening. Our best asset in making the security screening process move along faster is an informed and prepared customer.”
— Ed Freni, Director of Aviation for Massport
Tensator’s Virtual Assistant innovative HD projected imaging and audio-visual technology that creates the illusion of a real person and is capable of delivering customized messaging, has been installed in leading airports across Europe and the Middle East. Boston Logan expressed interest in engaging in a pilot program with Tensator to see if the Virtual Assistant could meet their security screening needs.
Tensator worked with the team at Boston Logan to select their Virtual Assistant persona, the specific scripting and AV components that would maximize the effectiveness of the messaging and increase passenger flow efficiency. Shortly after, Boston Logan Airport installed the Tensator Virtual Assistant, named Carla, in Terminal E. Dressed as a Massport customer service representative, Carla immediately captured passenger attention with its 3D look and feel and essential security information delivery in both languages. Messages that ranged from information on ID and boarding passes, federal regulations regarding liquids, garment removal and x-ray machine instructions were delivered round the clock, providing passengers with consistent, surround sound audio accompanied by highly visual information to ensure passengers clearly understand all the information they needed to know.
Instead of asking TSA agents or reading a sign to find out how many ounces liquids are confined to, Carla had all the necessary info needed, “If you have liquid items over 3.4 ounces, you’ll need to return to the ticket counter.” After the initial installation, Ed Freni sees using Carla as a vast improvement over the signs.
“People are very receptive to Carla’s bilingual message and are intrigued by her customer service focus and high-tech message delivery,” adds Brad Martin, Deputy Director Aviation Customer Service, Boston Logan Airport. “Passengers really pay attention and appreciate the consistency and clarity of the message.”
Results – Improved Efficiency, Effective Communications Saves Passengers Time and Frees TSA Agents to focus on Security Screening
After successfully deploying “Carla,” Boston Logan Airport’s bi-lingual Tensator Virtual Assistant and informing and guiding millions of passengers quickly and efficiently through the Terminal E security checkpoint, the airport has signed on three additional Tensator Virtual Assistants. The attention captivating Virtual Assistants are now deployed at Terminals A, B, C and E and are all providing essential security information to improve efficiency, passenger flow and the overall airport experience while freeing up the TSA Agents.
“Carla is a more effective way to communicate with our customers,” says Freni. “She’s an attention-grabber and much more effective than the signs and videos we have had. At a time when passengers can get boarding passes on mobile devices and learn of delays via e-mail, airport officials say a virtual guide makes sense. She’s another step toward that high-tech experience. That’s why I think it’s really catching on.”
Since deploying Carla the airport has seen a measurable improvement in quickening passenger throughput along with overall passenger awareness and readiness at the security checkpoint. And the passenger feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.