Etihad Airways’ Customer Service Department

Background of the Company

Etihad Airways is a second-largest airline in the United Arab Emirates that serves more than a thousand flights a week to more than a hundred passenger and cargo destinations around the globe. The company was established by Royal Decree in 2003. Since then, Etihad Airways has quickly turned into the fastest-growing company in the commercial aviation sphere. According to the Fast Facts and Figures sheet (2015), the success of the company is mostly attributed to the employees that devote their time and efforts to improving and developing Etihad Airways. Furthermore, the company underlines the fact that the employees are focused on showing the best results, are committed to their customers as well as devoted to respecting each other (p. 6).

Apart from offering top-quality services to the community, Etihad Airways contributes to the economic growth of the United Arab Emirates across four major areas: Core Economic Contribution, Connectivity Economic Contribution, Tourism Economic Contribution, and Partners Contribution (Fast Facts and Figures, 2015, p. 7). In terms of performance measurement (PM), its importance is linked to the four components that include financial, customer, operations, and colleague components. By measuring the mentioned components, Etihad Airways will be able to assess the quality of its performance and meet the financial targets set by the management.

Research Method

Since the report focuses on the Customer Service Department of Etihad Airways, the main data collection method is the review of customer service feedback left by actual customers on various websites. Such information is available publicly and can be used in the report within the fair use framework. The Airline Ratings, Airline Quality, and TripAdvisor websites offer ratings and overall feedback from the customers that flew with Etihad Airways. There were no questionnaires created, however, the customer feedback provides in-depth information on the quality of the services the company offered.

Furthermore, the data collection method includes the review and analysis of the KPI report Fast Facts and Figures conducted by Etihad Airways management. The report provides operational and performance highlights in the areas of partnership, networking, customer service, and the business community overall.

Findings

The mission of the company is its reason for existing and is expressed in the form of a business objective. The objective of Etihad Airways is reduced administration, immaculate customer service, maximization of cargo profitability as well as minimization of transit times. Moreover, the airline company is aimed at providing the most comfortable and modern flights for customers at the same time with creating competition in the air transport market. For example, within a couple of years since the company’s establishment, the customer service department was able to make significant progress in efficiency to support the top quality customer services through cost reduction. Recently, Etihad Airways has contributed to the development of in-flight and aircraft facilities to target the Eastern market and provide better customer services for their clients.

The primary objectives of the customer service department of any company, including Etihad Airways, are sales improvement, problem-solving, and cost control. When it comes to the sales improvements, Etihad Airways relies on the customer service apart from cases when specialty expertise is required. The customer service key performance indicator is usually measured by customer recommendation, a primary aspect related to the company’s success.

With the use of the performance monitor survey which can be completed by customers online or even onboard, the company can receive an insight into the opinions of the customers every month (Social Bakers, n.d., para. 3). This survey is conducted by an independent researcher employed by Etihad Airways and involves approximately sixty thousand clients monthly. The customer service KPI relates to meeting the requirements and expectations of clients that choose the services provided by Etihad Airways. Apart from being an important indicator alone, customer service indicator can also become a measure in the future profitability of the company.

The customer service department of a company like Etihad Airways should be able to resolve issues in a way so that both the company and the customer are satisfied. This includes being polite and attentive to the customer and subsequently providing a solution; thus, the performance indicator of response is a critical metric for measuring. During the process of evaluating the customer service performance indicator, a company can measure the decrease and increase the customer satisfaction as well as figure out how effective is the customer service team is at resolving the issues that arise with clients.

The performance of the company in the course of its operation greatly depends on the measured key performance indicators. According to the recent studies related to the customer satisfaction indicators, some customers were unsatisfied with the behavior of some staff on board. However, Etihad Airways had received 91% in a customer service survey conducted by Ethos Consultancy. If the company wants to get as much value as possible from the survey, it should ensure further practice and training for the employees. Furthermore, the company should keep in mind that no matter how many flights it provides, a customer will always go for a company that provides better hospitality services as well as top-quality client support.

Thus, people are the primary focus of Etihad Airways. They are always supported by different divisions of the business. Furthermore, the company has experience in recruiting and training of professionals that provide both in-flight and off-flight customer services. This is possible due to the company’s Award-Winning cabin crew, an in-flight Chef, management of communicative skills training and crisis management (Badsha, 2014).

SabreSonic Introduction

As a response to the fast-evolving demands of their customers, airline companies are targeting all of their efforts into reinventing the way they do business and allow the technology partners to lead their way. Since the customer service strategy of an airline company is the nucleus of its operation, Etihad Airways decided to introduce the SabreSonic CSS solution (launched in 2008) that is instrumental in acquiring customers, managing reservations as well as inventory, provision of convenient check-ins, and the support of customers.

The SabreSonic CSS is aimed at meeting the anticipated demands of a market that change at a very fast pace. It includes customer-centricity, stress-free airport experience, and the introduction of convenient services that offer customers purchase tickets and receives any required information when needed (Yeung, 2013, para. 6).

Despite the success of the solution, Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer James Hogan has held business meetings analyzing the customer service KPIs (key performance indicators). Based on the indicators provided by the solution, the management was able to develop a plan for further actions related to customer service that is also beneficial for the satisfaction of employees that work in with customers.

The importance of the employees being satisfied with the developed system is linked to employees’ effectiveness in dealing with customers; if an employee is comfortable with an established performance system, the cooperation with customers will be much more productive. If the employees are not satisfied, then the quality of the provided services will be unsatisfactory. With the use of KPI analysis, managers can outline the primary issues of concern within the customer service area and provide training or educational programs for better services

How Data is Managed and Analyzed

Once the key performance indicators for the customer service department of Etihad Airways are set, the management should be able to get the results regularly: monthly, quarterly, and annually. As mentioned above, Etihad gets its monthly customer service KPIs via surveys conducted by an independent consultancy. Monthly KPI analysis is the most effective in finding out whether a company has reached its goals, if the goal if not met, it is reflected in the survey and then is put as a primary goal for the next month when it is measured again. Thus, surveys and data collection programs are the most effective ways of understanding whether a company has reached its goal (PeopleStreme, 2013, para. 2).

The managers are primary bodies responsible for acting upon the measured and KPIs. The KPIs are separated into successful and unsuccessful indicators as well as the actions of the company that led to success and failure. The low performance is addressed by further training of employees that work in the customer service department as well as optimizing the performance system that exists within the Etihad Airways customer service department.

The possible consequences of the key performance indicators for Etihad Airways’ customer service department are connected with the inability of the sub-division to resolve the issues without the management’s help. Thus, any issues that arise in the analysis of the KPIs should first be addressed by the management by designing an appropriate system of performance improvement.

Etihad Airways is devoted to regularly measuring and reviewing the key performance indicators to sustain the performance of the company on the highest level possible. The most optimal frequency of KPI review is to measure them each month with the use of customer-implemented surveys. The KPI-review system of monthly surveys encourages the company to adapt to the changing needs and requirements of customers to remain a top airline in the United Arab Emirates.

Thus, it directly affects the performance of the company that aims at satisfying its customers. The effectiveness of the system is defined by how the company’s management can identify primary advantages and disadvantages in the performance and address them in time before the next KPI survey comes (NIBusiness, n.d., para. 3). The primary disadvantage of the system is that in some cases it takes for the management more than a month to address the issues reflected in the surveys. Thus, to put more time and effort into satisfying customers, Etihad Airways also conducts quarterly or yearly KPI-measurement surveys that reflect complex improvements.

Conclusion

To sum up, providing top quality customer services is essential to any business, especially when it comes to the area of aviation where customer satisfaction is key to success. With the increase in the needs of demands, Etihad Airways decided to introduce the technological solution that facilitates the performance of the customer service department. The example of the issue has shown that the quality of the management’s work can affect the workload for the customer service department that has to put a lot of effort into damage control.

References

Badsha, J. (2014). Term Paper on Etihad Airways. Web.

Fast Facts and Figures. (2015). Web.

NIBusiness. (n.d.). Measure Performance and Set Targets. Web.

PeopleStreme. (2013). Struggling with Key Performance Indicators? Web.

Social Bakers. (n.d.). The Role of KPI Analysis to Resolve Business Problem. Web.

Yeung, J. (2013). One Step Ahead. Web.