The most important part of a service is when the attendant meets the patron. It is in this situation where money matters and feelings link in real time and people have differing views or on the quality of service rendered. Some people believe that when a service is executed proficiently and productivity unevenness is small, there is an assumption that the service course or process has been achieved. Chase and Dasu argue that this assumption overlooks vital mental variables that rest at the intuitive level, and which if comprehended by management could be dealt with in such a manner as to enhance customer satisfaction.
As many industries mature, competitive advantage all the way through first-rate service is a progressively more central weapon in ensuring business survival. This is especially true in the airline industry where competition is fierce. One has had the honor to travel with and experience the in-flight services of two more or less prominent airlines; Air Botswana and Etihad airways. Through the use of the SERVQUAL model or rater I was able to compare and rate the services of these airlines.
SERVQUAL is founded on the intention that service excellence can be evaluated as the breach between the expected service and the actual performance received. Air Botswana This was a short 45 minutes flight operated by Air Botswana from Gaborone (Botswana) to Johannesburg (South Africa). Although the flight attendants were attentive throughout the whole flight, there was quite a number of shortfalls in the overall service. When I arrived at the entrance of the airport building there was no help attendant I could turn to for assistance.
I had to look around for sign boards to direct me to where I was to check in. When approaching the check in counter I noticed a woman behind the counter who was preoccupied with the telephone. I had to wait with my luggage beside me for about a minute until she got off the telephone and greeted me with a smile. After confirming my flight booking she then instructed me to place my bag on the weight scale for weighing. On boarding the airplane I was greeted politely by another woman and to my surprise was told that I could sit anywhere.
During the flight there was no food selection and I was served packaged biltong with packed peanuts and raisins as breakfast with no entertainment on offer. I was bored, disappointed and longing to arrive at my destination and change flights. Etihad Airways This was my connecting flight from Johannesburg to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). On my arrival at the flight transfer counter I was politely greeted by a woman who swiftly checked my booking and showed me the boarding gate. On board the flight attendants were extremely attentive, alert, polite and warm.
I was guided to my seat and helped to settle comfortably into my seat. To be brief the overall ambience of the flight was tremendous. The meals were served on time and well above average and entertainment was exceptional with a wide selection of latest movies and music to choose from. My encounter with Etihad airways shall in this part of my essay be scrutinized in detail from a service marketing point of view. This careful examination of Etihad will help us understand what impact each part of the service does on the overall customer view and contentment.
The scrutiny of the information will illustrate which parts of services are of vital importance for the consumers’ contentment, and which make no idea on them or even stop them from consumption or future cooperation. I was very satisfied with the services provided by the flight personnel. The impression that was made on me by the few staff personnel I encountered with was firmly positive and enjoyable. I know now that whenever I want to book or board a connecting flight to Malaysia from Home, Etihad provides good services and there are flight attendants who are always available to assist me where necessary.
As a customer I was made to feel important, comfortable, worthy and in unison with the customer service representatives of Etihad. Each Etihad customer service representative I encountered in my experience had a very simple and important role. The customer service representatives were organized in such a manner that they were present to assist me at any given time I needed to do something or ask questions for help. Therefore, the polite lady at the flight transfer counter immediately welcomed me, informed me about my booking and answered my questions, providing all the necessary information detailed, clear and in concise form.
Whereas the flight attendants, with whom I spent most of the time, were extremely attentive, alert and also provided detailed answers to questions I asked. Rozemeijer and Valk delineate that various business services can have a major effect on the operations of businesses because meager purchase choices can result in poor performance and, similarly, good choices to good performance To survive in a highly gung ho or rather competitive environment, Etihad airline operators were compelled to maintain their primary service at a high rank, as well as to bring in additional complementary services.
I was surprised during the flight duration to learn there was shopping on board, an additional service offered by the airline. Initially my intention was just to fly from Johannesburg to Kuala Lumpur but I found myself doing some shopping for a few duty free perfumes that were among the things that were on sale aboard. This kept me preoccupied for a while (just what I needed at the moment to suppress the anxiety of getting to my destination).
Cost wise, the service rendered was excellent value for money (I would not hesitate to place another booking with the airline the next time I fly). I should make a clean breast though that for some of the additional services offered the airline imposes an extra charge. For example if a passenger wants transport to travel to and from the airport or wants to fly in the business or first class instead of economy they pay extra. Therefore, each passenger incurs all the expenses allied with the execution of the type of service he/she wants.
Some of the costs implicated including the hidden ones, comprise of the cost of food and beverages served aboard, the cost to hire flight attendants, captains etc, and the cost to maintain aeroplanes and a whole lot of other things essential to operate an airline business efficiently and lucratively. In using optimum effort to please their passengers, Etihad at the same time stops and makes an attempt to shun any bad customer conduct that could occur.
A very short period thought through performance, and scrupulously arranged process of flight service delivery is anticipated to avoid passenger dissatisfaction that could happen. By being courteous, attentive and a quick completion of tasks by flight attendants presented by to meet their needs and wants during their flight experience results in the customer being assisted immediately and not having to wait or get confused. A courteous and competent workforce also adds to the general optimistic impression about the airline service provider, and is meant to omit any conflict situations that may occur with the customers.
The use of a strategy whereby the airline managers evidently defined the role played by individuals certainly helped to avoid many mix-ups that could have taken place. It is apparent that the management of Etihad instructed the staff that customer satisfaction is the key target of every person working in the airline industry. Their conduct was courteous and detailed to please every passenger. I also noticed that the flight attendants on board the aeroplane did everything dependent on them to make a good impression about the airline and make a positive impression on me.
The airline’s well coordinated and passenger-based efforts made me feel that the satisfaction of every passenger was of paramount importance to them. The faultlessly structured and intended performance signified that they value every passenger and could go an extra mile just to please their passengers while simultaneously doing their best. The staff at Etihad is motivated with the reward of promotions and financial incentives to boost their efforts in maintaining high standards of customer-oriented behavior.
They are encouraged to care for every customer and only those who reveal the best results and qualities gain from the provided incentives. Taking Etihad as an example elaborated above, their marketing-mix was exceptional, at least from the experience that I had with the airline. The thriving combination and relation of the key components of the 7P’s contributed immensely to achieving customer satisfaction. These were thoughtfully considered to ensure that passengers are satisfied.
The quality of the services provided was of high standards, the price was satisfactorily considered, the personnel offering the service were trained and courteous, the course of delivering the service was well planned and methodically detailed, the physical evidence that is, inside the aeroplane was clean, neat, comfortable and had gadgets loaded with entertainment for passengers, there was continuous systematic promotion of the services rendered on board the airline on television screens and information on flight conditions communicated by the flight captains, a menu of warm food was also served.
The flight felt very safe and enjoyable. It was clear that the airline had to exceed customer expectation in an industry that is characterized by tough competition in order to build a good reputation and stay abreast other rival airline companies.