M. Awaluddin, President Director of AP II: “Momentum Determines PR Work”
JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – The State-Owned company which is currently managing 13 airports, PT Angkasa Pura II (Persero), is in the public spotlight. There are many developments and breakthroughs that have been done. The latest one is the operation of Skytrain-the driverless train which connects one terminal to the others. At the beginning of September, Silangit Airport which was known as “sub-district class” airport in North Tapanuli, North Sumatera, officially became an international airport.
For these many efforts, the company which is known with the acronym AP II received many appreciations. One of them was from the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Soetta). The airport which attracts more than 60 percent of traffic passenger between other airports under the AP II management ranked seventh in the world or second in the Asia-Pacific as the most connected airport. This award is given according to the 2017 Megahubs International Index published by OAG, air travel intelligence from England, and The World’s Most Improved Airport 2017, Skytrax version. Last August, Muhammad Awaluddin, the CEO of AP II, received the award from PR INDONESIA as the 2017 Best Communicators for the category Non-Tbk SOEs CEO.
Muhammad Awaluddin, President Director of PT Angkasa Pura II (persero), met by PR INDONESIA in Tangerang on Thursday (19/10/2017), did not deny that breakthrough is a part of AP II’s to finish the company’s main program and build the reputation of the company. Muhammad Awaluddin viewed that the formula of building the company’s reputation is simple. But, the implementation is not easy. “Corporate reputation is a combination of corporate performance with corporate image. These two are related to each other,” said the former Director of Enterprise & Business Service of PT Telkom Tbk.
The effort to improve the company’s performance must be supported from the inside. In 2017, he recorded that there were three main programs of AP II, such as double digit growth for financial performance, 100 passengers target, and smart airport. Specifically for smart airport, AP II focused on improving the experience of the airport’s customer from what was once conventional – waiting for taxi, luggage, and bus to change terminal – to become easier and comfortable with the existence of digital technology. “The goals are three free. Hustle free, stress free, and confuse free,” said the man who have published four books.
It sounds simple right? But in reality, Awaluddin said that to achieve one goal, for example stress free, AP II needed supports from the various sectors of the government such as when the company pushed the realization of airport train to severe the traffic jam chain that caused stress when heading to the airport.
Another stressful thing is the matter of the inadequate airport capacity when the public interest in air transportation continued to increase. ”There was a quite big bag lock,” he said seriously. Before there was Terminal 3, the shortage of Terminal 1 of Soekarno-Hatta Airport reached 14 million from the normal capacity of 9 million people per year. Terminal 3 was built to accommodate 25 million people was predicted to experience shortage up to 2 million people if the moving process of the international route airlines was finished, not to mention the inadequate runway.
Of the many challenges, the biggest challenge lies in the company’s effort to build a corporate image. “Image is a perception from outside,” he said. Managing image, even though it sounds unimportant, actually closely related with the company’s commitment in improving the service and give memorable experience to the customer (costumer experience). Moreover, in the midst of many public communications channel where individual matters become social matters.
The man who graduated from European Univeristy, Belgia, and Harvard Business School, USA concluded that there is only one keyword to answer the challenges: transformation from the inside. Started from transformation in terms of business and business portfolio, infrastructure and operation system, to the transformation of the people, work culture, and the company’s organizational structure. “We must change,” he said. Moreover, the disruption era causes uncertain conditions. Now is not about the big one eats the small one, but the fast one eats the slow one. “We don’t want to be the slow one,” he said firmly.
This increasingly fluid condition has prompted AP II to change the concept of building engagement. Contact Center, for example, is no longer about receiving complaints from customers by telephone, but responding to events or information on social media in real time. While more than 500 employees were involved to become social media warriors. They are buzzers and connectors so companies can quickly receive and respond to public complaints.
Like when Awaluddin responded to complaints about "lazy helper" uploaded by netizens through social media by being a helper on the field. This step was a form of the company's seriousness in responding to public complaints, as well as the way Awaluddin experienced and did direct verification. "The effort to improve this image is being addressed by AP II. All areas that make customers uncomfortable must we handle fast," he added while referring to a digital or smart airport concept strategy.
Mid-October 2017 became a new chapter for the journey of AP II corporate communication (corcomm). Awaluddin decided to increase the level of the organization which initially was only on manager level, to become the vice president of Corcomm. "The company continues to grow, the complexity is increasing. The scale of risk reputation is getting bigger, then the organization level that is responsible for PR (public relations) activities must also be upgraded," he argued.
Speaking of PR, Awaluddin considered that the profession is unique. One of them is that he must be good at managing momentum. "PR work will be largely determined by momentum. The treatment when managing inappropriate momentum will have an impact on the company's reputation," he said.
So don't be surprised, especially for matters of managing momentum, Awaluddin often has to intervene. Like when a video of an officer unpacked a suitcase at the airport went viral on social media. At that time, he instructed VP Corcomm to immediately contact one to two online media to deny that the popular video did not occur in Indonesia, especially the Soetta International Airport as alleged by many netizens.
In addition, there is no standard formula in managing momentum. Every situation and condition faced has its own uniqueness. "For some PR cases, the handling formula can be effective because it is considered the same. But, in practice, it is different and specific" he said.
Even so, he argued that transformation from the inside is in vain if the leader cannot give an example. For him, becoming Chief Executive Officer is not enough to be a leader, but he must become the Chief Reputation Officer (CRO). "In addition to maintaining the performance of the company, the leader must also be a person who oversees the company's image," he concluded.
According to Awaluddin, there are at least some competencies that leaders must have so that they are worthy of being called a CRO, such as good communication skills to the internal and external public, become a role model for the company, and have commitment. "If you want to see a company profile, just look at the profile of the CEO," he said. (rtn)