Designing to Serve: an Examination of WestJet's Domestic Check-in Space
thesisposted on 2021-05-21, 11:04 authored by Jaime Stopa
My major research paper (MRP) focuses on the service design of WestJet’s domestic check-in space at Toronto International Pearson Airport. In the context of this micro space, service design refers to all of the touch points or points of contact between the customer and the organization designed into this space. This includes anything that communicates with the customer in this space to direct their behavior. My central research question is: how does the service design of the domestic check-in space at WestJet affect customer behavior? In exploring this question, I examined two main aspects: (1) service design and (2) customer behavior. Service design theory is concerned with managing customers’ experience of service quality through the design of services. I observed how customers experienced the service design of the check-in space through their visible behaviors and reconstructed a service blueprint or map of each step in the check-in service with which to track these behaviors. This allowed me to identify variances between customers’ actual behaviors and the desired customer behaviors in the check-in space. I also conducted a series of interviews with select WestJet employees to understand the service objectives of the check-in space and the strategic objectives of the organization. An analysis of the self-service route of the check-in space indicates that some sub-touch points are not positioned at natural decision points for customers. This is despite the fact that the sub-touch points are designed to supply customers with information to make decisions at each major touch point in the check-in service. Consequently, actual customer behaviors vary from WestJet’s desired customer behaviors in the self-service route of the check-in space. These findings suggest that there are nuisances in the design of the check-in service that are impeding WestJet’s service objectives and resulting in inconsistent and potentially confusing customer experiences.