History of British Airways
British Airways has its hub at London Heathrow Airport with a second major hub at London Gatwick Airport. It evolved in 1972 with the combination of British European Airways Corporation (BEA) and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) under the management of a newly formed British Airways Board. It inherited a fleet of aircraft built in the UK except the Boeing 707 and Boeing 747 from BOAC. In January 1976, British Airways acquired Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde offering the world’s first supersonic passenger service (Penrose, 1980). The year 1981 saw the appointment of Sir John King as Chairman and by 1987; King managed to turn the airline into one of the most profitable to a point where privatization occurred and shares floated on the London Stock Exchange and took over British Caledonian (International Directory of Company Histories, 1996). In the early 1990’s it became the world’s most profitable airline. In 1993, it acquired Brymon Airways forming British Airways Connect and the same year saw the formation of British Asia Airways. Robert Ayling became CEO in 1993 and by 2000; there was a record 750 million pounds. In 1999 profits dropped by 84%. In July 2008, it formed a merger with Iberia Airlines.
Service recovery strategy plan for British airways
British airways being the United Kingdoms leading airline should be the leader in service provision. Hence, in service improvement, the priority should be customer interests. The first step would be defining the problem area and understanding what is the cause of the problem. The second step after defining the problem would be developing a measurement strategy to determine the magnitude of the problem and areas affected in the organization. After identification of the problem, research programs aid in determining the cause of the problems through data collection and tabulation. Service recovery can be implemented by setting up feedback websites where the customer gives feedback on their experience and comments on whether they were satisfied or if not specify on the exact experience they disliked and the company can use the feedback to tailor their services to suit the customers need. This can be tricky as different customers have different needs and demands therefore the service organization ought to sort out the different categories of customers and know how to react to all in a way that is suitable to each. They should accept criticism of their services and take that as a chance to improve their service. Incase of problematic customers the service providers should try to reason out with them and try to convince them as to why the company carries out its dealings as it does. The service department should also try and keep up to date with changing consumer needs in order to stay relevant in the market.
Once they receive feedback, the most cost effective strategy is applied in service provision to provide standards expected by customers (Hills & Barnes, 1999). The company during data collection should be empathetic and connect with the consumers in order to gain their trust. They should assure the consumers that their opinions are important to them and will be highly regarded in decision-making. Another service recovery technique should be providing better training to the employees in service provision to enable them to deal with diverse customers. These employees should be enthusiastic about their jobs in order to give their best service to the consumers. . Feedback should be collected from the employees themselves to understand the kind of working environment and conditions the employees prefer in order for them to give their best services.
The service department should monitor their competition and gauge them in order to understand their position in comparison with that of the competitor. In this sense, they should also try to forecast consumers’ needs in order to stay ahead of the competition (Claw & Baack, 2012). Channels of communication within the organization should flow smoothly in order to ensure that all departments work in unison towards the goal of higher quality services and in that way it is easy to discover which is lagging behind and the ability to spot a problem area becomes easier and faster.
In these studies, the company should keep in mind the quantitative aspect to ensure that the cost of research and upgrading is lower than the cost of returns gained from the information obtained and changes implemented. The revenue gained as a result should be higher to realize a significant difference in comparison with previous returns. Appointment of review panels should occur to evaluate the response from customer in regards to improvement and changes implemented by the company. They should be able to differentiate on which attributes the consumer would want them to maintain, which they should put less emphasis on and which they should improve. The kind of response gains indicates whether the company understands the consumer needs.
People place high expectations on British Airways as it is a leading airline hence it would be important to maintain high standards of customer services in order to maintain its large market base. With the emergence of new cheaper airlines, British Airways should always uphold high standards when it comes to service provision and keep itself informed with the changing times and the changing expectations of the clients to stay ahead of the competition. Technology wise it has been on the lead hence should continue being technologically advanced and should invest in positive publicity in order to gain new markets.
An effective service recovery strategy incorporates everything. It should implement both qualitative researches where customers give feedback on the quality of service they receive and quantitative research on the revenue and capital that the organization is making. It should be able to determine the customers’ perception of the services they are currently receiving and indicate the kind of services they expect of the company to provide the organization a good platform to review their policies in regard to customer service. A good strategy balances out the cost of research and the value of the information obtained. The information collected should be of high value that equals or surpasses the amount spent during the research. The research should also include valid statistics where applicable. These statistics should be up to date and relevant to the area researched on. A good strategy should be able to prioritize on the different aspects in an organization in relation to the customer requirements and satisfaction and be able to focus on the more important issues first. A strategy should not occur once but should be recurrent with defined intervals as consumer needs keep changing and an organization needs to keep up to date (Lucas, 2009).
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Hiles, A. & Barnes, P., (1999). The definitive handbook of business continuity management, Chi Chester: Wiley. Print
Lucas, R. W., (2009). Customer service: skills for success. Boston: McGraw-Hill. Print
Penrose, Harald, (1980). Wings Across the World: An Illustrated History of British Airways. London: Cassell. Print
International Directory of Company Histories. (1996). International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 14 St. James Press. Print