2.1 Managing people
British Airways has adopted the theoretically described new model in the management of its personnel, whereby the company values its employees highly, and invests in them just as much as they invest in technology during the provision of services. Technology is used to support the personnel as they carry out their duties, rather than replace them. Compensation is linked to performance for every staff member. The airline has thus adopted an application (app), which they hope will help the managers to connect with the employees.
According to the company director of people and legal, the company challenges people to try and find new ways of carrying out their duties, with the aim of improving productivity and efficiency (Balmer, et al., 2009, p. 15). This is with the aim of making the staff become highly engaged in the company. The app reveals personal information of the employees to their managers, helping them to connect more at a personal level. Information such as birthdays and service anniversaries are shown, which can enable the managers and fellow employees to plan what they are going to do for the given employee. The app is present on the company Ipads, and enables each manager to view information of each of the employees in their line (Reynolds & Beatty, 1999, p. 22). The app also gives managers access to information on employee competencies and certificates, thus enhancing more efficient service delivery.
Communication has also enhanced with the adoption of this app, as the line managers can talk to the employees in their team, whether there is a problem or not. The managers are trained extensively by the company on how to use this app in a productive way (Sultan & Simpson, 2000, p. 205). The development and incorporation of this application shows that British Airlines is ready and willing to invest in technology just as much as it is investing in the staff to enhance efficiency in the company and increase the general productivity. This is what is illustrated in the new model of managing people.
2.2 Customer relationship marketing
Customer relationship marketing is a strategy that focuses on keeping already existing customers and improving their loyalty. A lot more effort is put on retention of existing customers rather than the acquisition of new ones. Customer retention is applied with the objective of making these customers loyal to the company or organization. British Airways seems to have applied the theory which implies that the benefits obtained by retaining already existing customers are higher than those obtained by trying to acquire new ones. In this regard, British Airways has come up with a special group of customer members known as the execute club. The club has the aim of recognizing and rewarding frequent customers, thus also enabling their flights to be more enjoyable (Peppard, 2000, p. 320). This is a huge step in the enforcement of customer commitment and loyalty. This also instills a sense of belonging to the customers, and establishes trust between the customers and the airline. The establishment of this in relationship marketing can enable the company to obtain information from the customers, and use this information to establish a sincere profitable customer relationship (Aksoy, et al., 2003, p. 345).
Customer relationship marketing can also entail the gathering of customer demographic data. This can later be used to customize the services provided to customers, thereby increasing the customer satisfaction levels. British Airways has adopted this move, by using Business Objects BI, which helps them understand specific customer booking and preferences, which further enables them to come up with the best form of offers to promote to the given specific customers ( ). British Airways has also been observed to promote sports and cultural events, which is also a good form of customer relationship marketing. A good illustration of this was in the 2012 Olympic games in London, where British Airways promoted its image widely, by being the official airline of the event ( ). The company also aims at maintaining good, long term relationships with the media, as the media plays a big role in the enlightening of the customers on company affairs.
2.3 Demand and Capacity management
British Airways runs its affairs in a way that is aimed to ensure that the contribution that is obtained is channeled to the attainment of as much profits as possible (Kasper, 2002, p. 1050). This is by trying to make the variable costs incurred by the company to be as low as possible. The demand is not always the same all year round, so to try and achieve the realization of maximum profits, the company varies its productivity with the appropriate season. For instance, when the demand in the United Kingdom increases, the company usually contracts its facilities and resources in Spain in a bid to meet the fulfilling of the demand requirements (Haksever & Render, 2013). When the demand falls, the company also reduces that are put into productivity. The company has also utilized overtime to cope with excess demand, whereby the staff work for longer hours than anticipated under floodlights, if need be. Underutilization of the staff is also employed, and this is has been appropriately used in dealing with demand fluctuations. Finally, British Airways has also employed complementary seasonal staff, and uses them appropriately when the demand is high, and subsequently terminates their services when the demand levels fall. The company is aware that the search theory, which states that options are always available to the customer, is applicable to the company as the airline business is a very competitive venture. The airline has thus always tried to chase and meet the demand for air transport services (Reynolds & Beatty, 1999).
2.4 Service communications
British Airways has incorporated integrated marketing communications in its operations. The marketing communications employed involve advertising, public relations and direct marketing. E-marketing is also adopted by the company in its communications, whereby the company extensively uses its website to direct communications to its clients. In the British Airways website, there is a section that is set aside for customer communications, whereby information on flight delays, lowest fare availability, cancellation of flights, baggage delivery and liability, ticket refunds and other travel policies are availed to the customers. Social media has also been largely incorporated, with the company having handles in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram among other social media sites, through which the company seeks to connect with its clients, market its services as well as make vital communications to its clients. In these communications, the company has set clear objectives in the practice, and after the messages are passed across, the company executives meet to evaluate the past communications, and assesses if the objectives of the given communications were met (Lorenzoni & Lewis, 2004).
2.5 Performance measurement
Performance measurement is carried out by organizations in a bid to inform the employees of what the organization requires of them. It also serves to motivate the employees, as it would be prestigious for employees to know that they are the highest performers, and also other forms of rewards come with it. In the same manner, it also encourages underperforming employees to pull up their socks. Employee performance measurement is founded on the employees’ performance, and the completion of the objectives of the organization at all positions. The indicators for performance in British Airways are economic performance, operation margin, and the customer base, the flow of operations, the employee performance and the general profitability. British Airways always takes measurements of these aspects at regular levels, and always aims to keep these aspects at an optimum level, so as to achieve the preset objectives and goals (Kandampully, 2002).
3. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
British Airways is the largest airline in the world, and it has spread its reach around the world through collaboration with other airlines and formation of subsidiary branches, for example, the American Airlines. This is evident, because the company has put in place working structures in all its aspects of service management. It has attained a very high score on that regard, and it has a high customer base. The airline company should focus its operations on meeting customer needs, and it should ensure that its service management evolves and changes accordingly with time, advancement of technology, changes in the customers’ preferences and innovations by employees on how best to deliver the company’s services.
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