The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today unveiled its latest customer service initiative aimed at improving passengers' experience in taxicabs serving Logan International Airport. The training program, which will begin in June 2001, will instruct taxi drivers on how to provide the best of impression of the City of Boston and Logan to the airport's 27 million passengers. This move is the most recent effort by Massport to enhance customer service at Logan and follows a bold initiative that monitors airline performance.
"While we invest billions to rebuild and modernize Logan, we must also invest in the people who keep our local economy moving. Massport's Taxi Ambassador program gives taxi drivers the tools and techniques to meet - and exceed - their customers' expectations," said Virginia Buckingham, Executive Director and CEO of Massport. "When it comes to providing first rate service it is the little things that count, such as a warm welcome, a helpful hand, or some good, old fashioned conversation."
More than 5,000 cabs come through Logan everyday, and for many travelers, their cab drivers are the first and last impression of Boston and of Logan. The training will cover all aspects of the transaction between taxi drivers and their customers, including how to greet a customer and how to make the trip more pleasant and comfortable for passengers.
The program will review with drivers all the elements that go into making a positive first or last impression. Taxi drivers will receive instruction on how to gauge whether a passenger is receptive to conversation and how to politely initiate conversation with their customers. They will also receive tips on taxi cab cleanliness and maintenance, as well as personal grooming and dress code.
The training will consist of three one-hour training sessions: Courtesy/Professionalism, Airport Rules/Regulations/Safety, and Local Geography (including Logan taxi pool operations).
The Taxi Ambassador model was first used in 1985 in Miami ("Miami Nice.") The program was also implemented in Atlanta for the 1988 Democratic Convention and in Calgary for the Winter Olympics. Newark International Airport, which also uses the program, has seen complaints about taxi drivers decrease by 51% since the training began.
Massport's goal is to train a lead group of drivers, approximately 200, by the end of June. Following the initial sessions in June, Massport will locate a training trailer in the Logan Airport taxi pool for on-going training. By June 2002, approximately 1,600 drivers who use Logan regularly will have gone through the program.
Earlier this year Massport initiated a program to provide delayed passengers with cots, snacks and emergency baby supplies. In February, Massport developed Guaranteed Passenger Standards for airlines at Logan and has been monitoring airlines for their adherence to the standards. Massport is also seeking to address passenger's number one complaint about Logan, delays, by building a new unidirectional runway at Logan, which would reduce delays by 30% annually.