If you ever find yourself lost or looking for help in Changi Airport, don’t be surprised if you find a lady dressed in a cheery, bright fuchsia pink blazer (or a guy decked in a smart, purple blazer) walking up to you. Known as the Changi Experience Agents (CEAs), they are definitely aptly named as the airport places utmost importance on each passenger’s experience in the airport. You may also think of them as the ambassadors for Changi Airport who will ensure that your stay at the airport, no matter how short, is one you find most pleasant. Consistently striving to enhance the overall passenger experience, it is no surprise that Changi Airport is the most awarded airport in the world, with more than 440 Best Airport awards received to date.
What sets the CEAs apart from your usual customer service personnel is that – service is brought to passengers instead of passengers having to approach information counters when they need assistance. Now, how does that work? CEAs are actually roving customer service officers who walk the grounds at the airport to help visitors and passengers with their requests. They can be found at all terminals as part of the airport’s efforts to be more responsive to customers who require assistance, no matter how big or small.
“Equipped with an iPad each, this allows the CEAs to obtain real-time information on flight status and other data from Changi’s in-house apps and programmes. With mobile and immediate access into such information, they are able to provide seamless and immediate assistance to passengers, which is deemed critical in the airport environment since time is of essence,” said Robin Goh, Assistance Vice-President of Corporate Communications at Changi Airport Group (CAG).
Pleasant, patience, sincerity, a desire to serve and a willingness to go the extra mile are just some of the qualities a good CEA should have. However, a good CEA is also not just about doing well in the looks department. It’s the ability to pick up the extensive amount of airport knowledge in a very short time that’s more paramount, according to Sumardi bin Abdul Hadi, who’s the trainer for new CEAs. Applicants will have to go through 3 rounds of interview and after making it through, they will then have to go through a 2-part training programme before they can be come certified CEAs.
We spoke to Cherie and Germaine who were both working as CEAs for four to five years before their recent promotion to become Changi Experience Supervisors (CES). Both ladies evidently enjoy their job and find it truly rewarding.
Said Cherie: “I think it’s a very challenging role, you have to always be on standby, be alert and be pro-active in helping the passengers and the CEAs on ground. I also enjoy how I’ve always got to think out of the box, finding the best solution to give the passenger the most minimal disruption.”
And as for Germaine, she enjoys meeting different people from all walks of life and countries. “I’ve come to understand that each passenger handles things differently because they all come from different countries and cultures. But at the end of the day, it’s about being understood, especially when you are in a foreign land. So, we are here to understand their problem and give them a solution.”
“There’s never a dull day,” she adds.
There are around 220 CEAs today, and are made up of service enthusiast from 20 different nationalities speaking a total of more than 35 languages and dialects including English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, Hindi, Japanese, French, Tagalog and Thai to reflect the international profile of passengers who enter and leave Changi Airport.
Fun Fact 1: The oldest CEA is 60 years old while the youngest CEA, is 18!
Fun Fact 2: The existing pool of CEAs comes from a variety of colourful backgrounds – from dancers, DJs, models, drama teachers, ex-flight stewardesses, chefs, lawyers and even a former Mrs. Singapore contestant!
Cherie shares her most memorable experience:
“There was this Indian man who had to buy a last minute flight ticket back home because his aunt just passed away. He actually cried in front of me asking for help. But all the direct flights to his destination have departed so we had no choice but to find an alternative but fastest way home for him. He said if he can’t see the aunt one last time, at least he wants to make it in time for the funeral. I searched online for the fastest way and after we managed to finish the booking and all, he cried again and thanked me. And because I booked it online using my own email, he was able to email me back to thank me and to tell me that he managed to attend the funeral. It’s the thank you from passengers that mean a lot to me, that’s what matters most.”
// Shanice, Social Media Marketing
We are happy to feature Changi Airport as a part of Mynewsdesk’s #TellYourStory series. #TellYourStory is a series to showcase stories from different brands, told by the people behind it and whom, made it happen. Find out what goes on behind-the-scenes of the brands you know, love and are inspired by.
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