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MKT3412: Services Marketing Sim Shi Jie (A0140003J)

Within the airport setting, despite the pervasiveness of service provision supported with the employment of
technologies in the physical environment, which is imperative to the overall customer experience, the perceptibility
of service satisfaction can still be influenced and confounded by the irrationality of behaviours of passengers. One of
the most prevalent observable patterns of behaviour is the disorganisation and inefficient boarding procedure at the
departure gate waiting area. The disorderliness in the gate waiting area can frame a negative imagery of a lack of
open and spacious passageway, inducing stress and frustration in the process of waiting. Another observation that
correlates with the disorganisation is that passengers tend to sit near the main aisles towards the boarding counter or
choose not to sit despite having ample seats in the departure waiting area. This creates obstacles, with bulky
luggages, legs, and prams obstructing the passageway for passengers, especially for those who are rushing to board
the airplane. The chaotic and disorderliness can aggravate negative feelings of agitation, and can cause inefficiencies
in the boarding process. Additionally, prior to boarding, not all passengers have the necessary boarding documents
ready on hand for the ground staff to validate. Passengers who do not have the proper documentations such as the
boarding pass and passport ready for validation can impose a time constraint for the remaining passengers who are
in the line as they fumble through their belongings in search of the necessary documents. This not only incites
passengers to feel frustrated due to the excessive wait time, the bottleneck caused at the boarding gate may also
make passengers who are waiting attribute the blame to the airlines for inefficiencies. Together, the two behavioural
patterns lead to process inefficiencies and the negative perception may impact service satisfaction.

Hence, to reduce bottleneck occurring at the boarding gate due to disorganisation and the less-than-optimal seating
arrangement, a redesign of the gate waiting area can prompt passengers to maximise seating space and encourage
them to fill up open seats. Through social engineering, the seating arrangement can be used to influence seating
patterns. It can be organised in a way which guides families to sit in corners with pushchairs for their child, giving
them additional space to stowaway prams, creating passageway space. To nudge passengers to sit at the ideal
location without crowding around the main aisles towards the boarding counter, power outlets can also be
strategically scattered within the departure waiting area to drive passengers to diverge their seating arrangement. To
influence seating patterns that would make it perceptually easier for passengers to maximise the seating capacity,
seats can be distributed based on the different types of passengers. Instead of having a seating space with many seats
arranged side-by-side, the seating arrangement can be apportioned for single passengers or couples for greater
privacy. Another way to encourage passengers to sit is to place seats near informational screens. These interventions
can steer the type of passengers to the right seating area, reducing congestion at a particular spot in the gate waiting
area. It also encourages passengers to take a seat, maximising the seating capacity. When passengers are seated, it
removes obstacles from the crowded aisles and passageways, which also reduces anxiety and frustration. These
mindless environmental nudges that are externally-imposed can activate a change in behaviour, where orderliness
and organisation can increase efficiency in boarding procedure, which improves the overall service satisfaction.
Another intervention to guide passengers to have their passports and boarding passes prepared upon boarding is to
institute an action choreography by using visual displays. The informational screens can be used to provides visual
cues on the boarding procedure, nudging passengers into a more effective traffic flow it. The screen can display the
group of passengers who are due to board the airplane, while also institutionalising a call-to-action for them prepare
their passport and boarding pass. The mindful interventions that are externally-imposed can have positive effects on
the efficiency of the boarding time and not provoke agitation in other passengers, activating a change in behaviour.

Another observable problem relates to the hogging behaviour and congregation of passengers at the baggage
carousel. Passengers tend to defensively (or competitively) stand close to the edge of the carousel, hogging it as the
luggages dispense from the chute, so they do not miss out on the retrieval of their luggages. Other passengers who
are unable retrieve their luggages, crowds in to gain access to the edge of the baggage carousel, making it even more
difficult and inconvenient for everyone to locate and retrieve their luggages. The impatience and irrational hogging
behaviour of the passengers portrayed during baggage claim can induce frustration for other passengers whose
luggages have been dispensed but are unable to retrieve, and these perceptions may affect service satisfaction.

Therefore, to reduce the frustrations with the hogging behaviour and crowds encircling the baggage carousel, several
strategies can be implemented to attenuate irrationalities. One of the reasons passengers stand at close proximities
against the baggage carousel is because there are no indications on where they should stand. Hence, passengers will
identify a position which is the most convenient for retrieval as their default position, while others conform to the
behaviour of the former. To activate a change in behaviour of the passengers, a clear demarcation, such as using
contrasting tile colours, yellow lines, or tactile paving by texturising the ground, can establish a clear indication and
a new default on where they should stand. With an approximate five feet radius around the baggage carousel can
also minimise hogging behaviours as the circumference encircling the conveyer belt is wider, allowing more
passengers with more space to locate and retrieve their luggages. Additionally, the heuristic of social proof can also
minimise hogging behaviour when everyone stands behind the line. This is because passengers tend to look to the
behaviour of others and conform to the same behaviour the others are engaged in. The mindless intervention that is
externally-imposed sends a subliminal message for hoggers to observe their actions while activating a change in
behaviour. This can minimise frustrations when retrieving luggages from the baggage carousel.

Thought Paper 8