Customer Service Strategy of British Airways Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 17 February 2017

Customer Service Strategy of British Airways

British Airways is one of the worlds leading airlines with a network that provides passenger and freight services to 149 destinations in 72 countries. Its airline network is centered on the United Kingdom where 85% of its 47,500 workforce is based. The mission of the company is to deliver services that matter for people and how to fly. In order to achieve or realize this mission; British Airways recognizes the importance of working in partnership with its stakeholders. This has significantly influenced its approach to corporate social responsibility.

The main reason why the company has decided to engage CR is to help it achieve its long-term strategic goals in providing growth opportunities around the health airport

Today most companies are redesigning their operations and management style in order to increase customers satisfaction and productivity. With the introduction of the new technology, a lot of changes have been brought in the business environments. Different companies are coming up with various types of new information and technology in order to improve their businesses.

This paper therefore utilizes the various tools   of writing a research proposal to investigate how the new technology has made British airways company to improve the way it serves its customers what should be noted is that the success of any organization will depend on the quality of customer service skills employees have. The company has not been left out in coming up with new method s of satisfying its customers.

Communication more efficiently

If we consider the number of immigrants (passengers) visiting United Kingdom from east and central Europe, it can be said that the company has realized a lot of benefits. However the company needs to do a lot in order to attract more passengers and tourists into the region.

To date many tourists are raising questions about security measures and long lines made when booking for flights movements from major cities to the air ports has also not been possible. This research proposal has therefore been developed to investigate the efforts the company has put forward to improve customer satisfaction which covers the area of booking, traveling to the Airport in order to catch up with time and finally security measures that have been taken. This is because terrorism and drug trafficking has been mentioned as public enemy number one in the region. Passengers or tourists would not like to risk their lives when cases of terrorism are high. This means that the company needs to address the issues of tight security to ensure that its customers are protected.

            In any research proposal there must be an area dealing with significant of study that is the rationale of the study (Gill and Johnson, 1997). The company to make some adjustment in order to improve their services and attract more customers will use the information on the study. The government will also use the information to address areas that needs provision of services such as upgrading public transport system, security and provision of social amenities.

Research question

            The research question in this study will focus on the way the British airways company has improved its services to attract more customers and serve its customers better (Veal, 1997) .The following research questions will be used to assist in directing the study in this given area. The questions are as follows.

  1. Are there changes in the way passengers are served at airports?

      2) What measures should be taken to ensure that security and safety of passengers                are provided by British Airways?

3) Is there any link between public transport and airports to improve passengers’ satisfaction in order to reduce congestion?

4) What should British airways do in order to grab the biggest share of this growing market?

Objectives of the study

            This research proposal is on investigating how British Airways has tried to improve the service to passengers. According to Clark (1998) the objectives of any study should be specific, smart, realistic and time bound.  The specific objectives on the study will be:

  • To evaluate the safety and security measures taken by airports and airlines security department to ensure passenger are protected.
  • To find out the measures taken to promote easy movement of passengers.

      (3) To investigate how the company has tried to address the issue of customer satisfaction

            especially passengers.

Hypothesis of the study

            Hypothesis developed in this paper will be used to provide a general answer to the problems being searched on. However these hypotheses are subjected to clarification where by they will be tested to confirm whether they are true or not (Johns and Lee-ross,1998). The following alternative hypotheses therefore have been constructed to achieve objectives stated above.

H2: Online booking of tickets has been developed to improve services offered to passengers.

H3: Public transport has been established to help in easy movement of passengers from and to the airports.

H4: Security has been increased to ensure that passengers are protected from any threats.

Literature review

Literature review is one of the most important aspects of a research proposal (Hart, 1998). It involves reviewing the existing literature in order to a void wasteful duplication of work other researchers had previously done. It is divided into three sections whereby the first section deals with online booking, second section deals with modification on transport and last one on security measures.

Online ticketing

            The effects of the new technology have been seen in the air transport sector. To date it can be said that online shopping has become a feature of modern life. Passengers who are traveling using air transport can now take or find their tickets through the use of Internet (Debra and Colin, 2003,p7). They can further customize their tickets by adding meal preferences and self selected seat numbers to make them feel satisfied. The new technology has also made it easier for airlines to communicate information to passengers very easily about conditions attached to fares and about general conditions of carriage (Arnold, 2004). This has led to reduction of cases of inconveniency during travel (Finn, Elliot and Walton, 2000)

            A number of airlines are now shifting from traditional way of obtaining tickets to modern way where online shopping is encouraged. For instance easy Jet has ensured that over 98% of its bookings are made online (Rigas, 2002,p31). The Internet according to passengers has made booking of air tickets much easier than ever before. Among the advantage it has include saving time, and money since passengers will tend to avoid agents premiums and booking fees. Passengers therefore have time to make their decision on what to pick on.

Online ticket sales by region

Region

 

Own Airline

Web-site

All online

Channels

E-tickets issued
       
Industry average 11.0% 14.5% 19.1%
North America 29.5% 37.1% 41.4%
Europe 15.2% 16.0% 20.7%
Asia Pacific 7.6% 10.2% 16.5%

Source: Airline Business, July 2004

The table above shows the increase in passengers using online tickets during travel by British Airways.

Travel to airports

            Must of the passengers using air transport have not recognized the need to use public transport in order to get to and from the airport. This has led to congestion on surrounding roads. To reduce the congestion on the roads passengers are encouraged to use pubic transport to avoid being late. Many passengers do have bulky luggage and at the same time they will be required to be at the airport at a given time (Magalia, 2000). Use of surface access links should therefore be encouraged especially by travelers undertaking inter-urban journeys for business, non-work/leisure community and freight that are using links which are not directly connected with the ports or airport (Stabler, 1997,p17).

            Managing directors and chief executive officers of the various airlines and airports have also encouraged the use of Buses and coach services to airports in order to reduce congestion and provide a public transport service to those for whom rail is not available option. These services are offered twenty four seven to increase efficiency and effectiveness when handling customers (Danny and Barbara, 2002,p11). The bus and coach services are made easily accessible and available from the airport and drop-off points, which are also well placed at strategic points. The Transport for London (TFL) for instance had agreed that bus stops and bus stations were to be located as close as possible to passenger objectives, including terminals and work places.

The investment in coach and bus facilities that are well placed will attract more passengers to use the air transport more frequently, which in turn will lead to improved development of airline business (David, 1995). Airport officials currently are working with public transport operators to harmonize the linkage between airports and other cities and towns in the country (Fredrick, 2006,p25). Good infrastructure development is one of the indicators of economic growth of a given country. When links to the airports are many well established those who will be traveling will also be many.

            The use of Rail transport has also led to some significant improvement but still premature. The breakdown of modes of transport used by migrants from UK airports shows low levels of rail use. However the low level of rail use can seriously change when new facilities are provided. For example the building of Docklands light Rail link into city Airport has resulted in 49% of passengers using Dhr therefore leading to an increase in public transport usage from 31% in 2003 to 50% in 2007 which off course was recognized as one of the highest rail mode-shares at any airport in the UK (Danny and Barbar, 2002,p9).

Security and Safety issues

            The need for strong and tight security measures was realized on 10 August 2006 when police officers tried to stop a suspected plot to blow up several planes leaving the UK, possibly using liquid explosives carried on board in hand luggage (Fredrick, 2006,p28). Around twenty people were arrested but the greatest challenge was to introduce a new technology that could detect any dangerous weapon carried by passengers. Restrictions on hand luggage were introduced whereby passengers were only allowed to carry a small range of essential items such as prescription medicines in but in recommended quality. In the beginning the introduction of these restrictions led to the widespread disruption to flights departing from all UK airports including the cancellation of many flights. Passengers are only to carry one small bag without any liquid or gels onto their flight (Frank, 2005,p16).

            When we talk of security, most passengers have developed negative attitude towards using air transport because of security threats. The security issue has affected airline business and it is now the major problem that airlines should address (Melanie, 2003). Among the problems include longer queues, increased waiting times to go through security and increasing intrusion for passengers. In UK the situation is even worse in airports with large numbers of transferring passengers.

Most of the airlines have been forced to cancel their flights because of security threats. For example British Airways announced in September 2006 that the August alert had cost them ₤40 million losses from the business (Joby, 2003). Further losses were also experienced since more funds were to be used in coming up or implementing effective measures. The airlines are everyday becoming more frustrated at the continuing difficulties at security points (Stephen, 2002,p84). This calls for the assistance of Government and airport operators in order to ensure that UK airports are able and capable of handling unexpected events (Harold and Evra, 1994,p7).        .

Data Collection method.

            This chapter deals with how data on study will be conducted. Basically two methods will be used that is administering questionnaires and interviews. Five students in one of the universities in London will be selected taking a degree in airline and airport management to assist in collection of data. These students will be given a thorough training for two days in relevant questions in the questionnaire. A total of five passengers will be interviewed. The CEO, transport manager and security officer will also be interviewed. The sampling method for picking passengers will be randomized clustered sampling.

Data collection method and techniques

            Interviews will be conducted where the interviewers will have with themselves a set of questions to be asked and answered. They will be expected to have undergone thorough training on both the method and meaning of each item on the questionnaire. The students will also be expected to be familiar with the different airports and airlines in UK and piloting of the questionnaires will be done first to test for construct validity.

Data collection procedures.

            Data collection procedure will be through questionnaire and interviews. The interviewers in order to carry out the study will be trained on the topic of study will conduct direct face to face interviewers with the sample population stated above with the assistance of a well prepared questionnaire to elicit response and ensure consistency. Four categories of responses ranging from very satisfied (VS), neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (NS), very/fairly dissatisfied (VD) and don’t know (DN) will be used.

Limitation of the study

            The survey will deal with different people from different cultural background. The interviewers may have problem of winning the attention and trust of passengers. Difficulties in convincing them to be free and honest may arise. Lack of adequate funds may also hinder the success of the study for it to be completed in time.

Work Plan

Phase Activity Time
1 Choosing study topic and looking for objectives and hypothesis 10/11/2007 – 20/11/2007
2 Research design

Developing, questionnaires

25/11/2007 – 30/11/2007
3 Developing literature review chapter and reading books 02/12/2007 – 04/12/2007
4 Writing chapter on research methodologies 07/12/2007 – 15/12/2007
5 Finding the relevant research tools 20/12/2007-24/12/2007
6 Preparation and presentation of finding 25/12/2007 – 30/12/2007
7 Write up of the report 01/01/2008 – 05/01/2008


Structure of the questionnaire

  Very/ fair satisfied (%) Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied (%) (ND) Very dissatisfied (%) (VD) Don’t know (%) (DN)
Public transport link to airport        
Number of destination served        
Cost of flight        
Airport security        
Airport facilities        
Level of flight delays        
Information about flight at airport        
Check in times        
Local services provision and Access        

Bibliography

Arnold, D.C (2004). Lt. Gen, Forests. S Mc Cartney. The First Space Professional; Air power History, Vol 51

Clark, M (1998) Researching and Writing Dissertations in Hospitality and Tourism. London. Thompson Business press

David, J (1995) Filling up The British Experience, 1896 – 1940, Journal of Design History, Vol.8

Douglas G.P. & Richard, W. B. (1999).  Contemporary Issues in Tourism.  New York: Routledge.

Debra J. & Colin, T. (2003).  Issues in cultural Tourism.  New York:  Routledge

Danny, M. & Barbara, D (2002) Public Relations Cases:  International Perspectives. New York: Routledge

Frank, P. Harvey. (2005).  Canada Addition to American Security; The Illusion of Choice in the War on Terrorism (1,2); American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. 35

Fredrick. M. Burkale Jr. (2006). Globalization and Disaster, Issues of public health, state capacity and political Action, journal of international Affairs, Vol. 59

Finn, M., Elliot-White, M. and Walton. (2000). Tourism And Leisure Research

   Methods. Harlow, Essex: Pearson education.

Gill, J & Johnson, P. (1997). Research Methods For Managers 2nd ed. London:

   Paul Chapman

Harold, F. O. & Evra, L.B. (1994).  Technology Assessment in software Application.

  London Lawrence Earl Baum Association.

Hart, C (1998). Doing A Literature Review. London Gage Publication

Johns, N & Lee –ross, D (1998). Research Methods in Service industry Management. London Cassel

Joby, J. (2003). Fundamental of Customer – Focused Management; Competing through service; Westport CT: Praeger

Magalia, D. (2000). Barrier and Incentives to the Adoption of ISO 14001 firms in the United States, Duke Environmental law & Policy Forum, Vol.11

Melanie, K.S. (2003). Issues in cultural Tourism. New York. Routledge.

Rigas, D. (2002). Flying off Course:  The Economic of International Airlines. New York: Routledge.

Stabler, M.C. (1997). The economics of Tourism. New York: Routledge.

Stephen L. Baird. (2002).  Biometrics “Security Technology: It is important for students to understand that Technology can be used as part of a solution to a problem. The technology Teacher Vol. 61

Veal, A.J. (1997). Research In Tourism And Leisure: practical Guide. London: Financial

    Times, pitman

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