Emirate Airlines Customer Service Essay

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Emirate Airline Analysis

What follows in this report is a review and summary of the customer services aspect of Emirates Airline. The firm in question has most certainly established a name for themselves and there is the common refrain about how adept they are. Even so, there are opportunities for them to get better and all firms should commit to a culture and mindset of continuous improvement, fettering out what problems what do exist and finding common sense solutions for dealing with the same. Regardless of what problems are found, there need to be evidence-based and realistic solutions put forth, and that shall be the goal of this report. While Emirates Airlines does a lot of things well when it comes to their customer services, they could do even better and strive to do so whenever possible.

Company Summary

Before getting into the minutia of what should change and why, there should first be a summary of the current state of affairs and level of performance that Emirates Airlines presently attains. Only with the definition of what is currently going on and what is currently deficient can there be clarity and specificity about what should change and why those things should change. There are a few details and facets of the airline that should be defined right up front. First, Emirates Airlines is a subsidiary of The Emirates Group. As many might extrapolate from that statement, the airline is based in Dubai in the country of the United Arab Emirates, or UAE. Rather than being a private firm, the Emirates Group Parent is actually owned by the Dubai Investment Corporation of Dubai, which is a governmental group. The airline is the largest airline in the Middle East. There are three to four thousand flights a week and the airline travels to nearly 150 different cities in roughly eighty different countries around the world. They have a concurrent cargo operation known as Emirates SkyCargo. In terms of the world as a whole, Emirates Airlines is the fourth-largest airline in terms of passenger volume and the second largest in terms of cargo traffic. The airline was created due to some discord an dproblems within the Middle East airline industry during the 1980's. Their planes come from the usual aircraft makers in the world, those being Boeing and Airbus. The airline's most direct competitors are Air Arabia, Qatar Airways, FlyDubai and Etihad Airways (Bloomberg).

Room for Improvement

Even with its fairly short life span as compared to other airlines, Emirates Airlines has actually done quite well for themselves in terms of performance and reputation regarding the same. For example, a 2010 survey of airlines companies found that Emirates Airlines was the best among them. The companies that were compared in this survey were some giants of the industry, including Swiss Air, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and the aforementioned Qatar Airways. Overall, Emirates Airline was one of only two airlines in the survey to surpass the 90% mark, coming in at 92.3%. The other 90-plus airline was Etihad Airways, who had 91.5%. Swiss Air had 86.6%, British Airways had 84.3%, Virgin Atlantic had 79.8%, Air France had 72.3% and Qatar Airways brought up the rear for the group with 71.5%. A good swath of the customer services and options were looked at for the survey and they included the check-in process, baggage drop, boarding, the conditions of the plane, the food and beverage services, the other services provided during flights, the disembarking process and final baggage claiming after the planes are emptied. It is quite impressive for a firm like Emirates Airlines to score so well given the rather thin profit margins to be had in the airline industry and the stiff competition that exists within the same. Digging deeper into the results, there were a few interesting data points to mention. First, just over a third of all passengers were greeted by name upon boarding. Given that the name of the passenger is on the boarding pass, this is something that Emirates Airlines could absolutely do more of so that there is more of a "personal" and warm touch when interacting with the passenger. Even with that, all of the travelers generally felt that the crew had a "warm and genuine nature" when it comes to the way they interact with guests, whether names are used or not. Of the entire group, roughly 79% (close to four out of five) were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. About a fifth (21%) experience departure delays but all of the survey-takers felt that they were "completely safe and in good hands".
Nearly three fourths (71%) said that they would fly with the airline again based on the experiences that they had with it. Given the 90-percentile score and the 70-percentile for "would fly again", there has to be some reason for that gap. That would mean one in four would not fly again, for whatever reason. In addition to the greeting by name option given above, the airline clearly needs to reduce delays when possible (although some delays are unavoidable) and there should be further drilling down on why those 25% of people would not fly again, whatever that may be (Sambridge).

A more authoritative review and source on the matter of improvements that Emirates Airlines could use comes from Harvard University. Their analysis, done in 2016, centers on one of the major catalysts of public opinion. Of course, that catalyst would be the internet. In fact, the authors of the Harvard study assert that the internet is one of the major factors that is to blame for the poor service quality that exists in the airline industry as a whole. However, they also say that Emirates is one of the airlines that resists that overall trend that causes the service at other airlines to suffer. Indeed, they point out a few things that Emirates Airlines has done in the last ten years to remain or become modernized as compared to the rest of the industry. For example, they started offering inflight connectivity via GSM band internet access in 2008. They later improved that by offering a full-on Wi-Fi option. They were also among the first airlines to use Customer Relations Management, or CRM for short. The way in which Emirates Airlines implemented the technology allowed the crew and administrative staff to update and use customer information on a real-time basis. This information includes customer preferences, any history of complaints from said customer and even seat upgrades at the last minute once all of the other passengers are otherwise accounted for and settled. One of those items, that being the complaints, is a great way to address the issue with one in four people not wishing to fly again, as mentioned with the last source. In addition to taking in complaints that are willingly offered by customers, the airline can also induce and ask for surveys to be taken via email, smartphone apps or some other medium so as to get a larger and more complete picture of how customers feel about the airline and performance. Regardless of what is done with that, the real-time nature and the ability to be more spontaneous and on-the-spot rather than slow and lagging is a huge advantage to have over airlines that cannot or will not leverage such technology (HBS).

Another technological marvel that Emirates Airlines has made heavy use of would be what is known as IOT Baggage Management. This technology makes of use of beacons that are then used to locate bags and cargo. Further, the beacons can or will be used to verify the presence of life jackets and other emergency or otherwise necessary equipment without the need to physically inspect and verify their presence. Of course, this makes the airline more efficient and speedy when it comes to overall service. Even with that being the case, a definite visual inspection of such things, at least once a day or once a week, is probably a good idea. There is the worry that the equipment itself may be defective and/or that the beacons might give a false sense of completeness and security when it is not fully warranted. Even so, anything that makes the airline more efficient without sacrificing customer service or quality would tend to be a good thing. Something that Emirates Airlines does a very good job with is known as its Flexible Cloud Infrastructure. This infrastructure is designed with the fact that the airline industry is very seasonal in nature. Meaning, there are a lot of ebbs and flows in the consumer demand. The customer service frameworks and personnel, as such, must scale up and down to match this so that there is no situation where the staff is short in supply while at the same time ensuring that there is not a glut of personnel and resources on hand. In other words, there should be the proper personnel….....

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Works Cited

Bloomberg. "Emirates Airline: Company Profile - Bloomberg." Bloomberg. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 June 2017.

"Emirates' New York Daily A380 Delayed." CILT World, no. 20, Sept. 2008, p. 12. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=34697788&site=ehost-live.

"Emirates SkyCargo's Major Campaign on Supply Chain Services." CILT World, no. 8, Feb. 2003, p. 07. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=13011066&site=ehost-live.

HBS. "Emirates Airlines: A Quest For Service Quality - Technology And Operations Management." rctom.hbs.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 21 June 2017.

Ingram, Thomas N. et al. Sell. 5th ed. New York: South-Western College Pub, 2016. Print.

Rapoza, Kenneth. "Why UAE And Qatar Have The 'World's Best' Airlines." Forbes.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 21 June 2017.

Sambridge, Andy. "Emirates Tops Airline Service Quality Survey." Arabian Business. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 June 2017.

Sull, D. N., Ghoshal, S., & Monteiro, F. (2005). The Hub of the World. Business Strategy Review, 16(1), 35-40. doi:10.1111/j.0955-6419.2005.00350.x

Timm, Paul R. Customer Service. New York: Pearson, 2014. Print.

Zhang, Benjamin. "Emirates Is Beating Delta, United, And American By Evoking The Golden Age Of Air Travel." Business Insider. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 June 2017.

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