Customer Care at Air France

Customer Care at Air France

Length: 1856 words (5.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Dr. Jaeger is not just any Air France traveler – he is a privileged member of the airline’s most elite loyalty program: Club 2000. By virtue of this membership, he is to expect the utmost in superior service quality standards from Air France. But after a horrible experience with the airline that left him “standing in the rain,” literally, he is not only incensed from his travels gone awry, but even more from the inferior service encounters he faces after the fact. After several months of frustrating, useless attempts to secure compensation for his lost luggage, and after having been ignored and given the “run-around” by many Air France service employees, Dr. Jaeger is obviously no longer an Air France customer. Yet the question remains: Who is responsible, and what should be done?

Based on the Inséad case study, the following are some of the problem areas which are contaminating the Air France-KLM customers’ vision of “best service” and which need to be addressed:

1) Leadership: A company’s philosophy is undoubtedly shaped by its leaders. Sincere leaders who lead with integrity truly inspire employees to do the same. Thus, in order for a leader to come across as genuine or “authentic,” that leader needs to lead his/her organization with purpose, meaning and personal values which are not only communicated verbally, but also communicated through the leader’s own actions. The authentic leader needs to “walk the talk.” With this value-driven leadership also comes the ability to build enduring relationships with people – first, with his/her own employees and, secondly, with his/her customers. Unfortunately, Jean-Cyril Spinetta’s (CEO, Air France) behavior in the case study is not an exemplary model of leadership. If Spinetta will not respect and respond to his best customers, then why should his employees?

2) Corporate Culture: It is no secret that with regard to Air France’s marketing efforts, service-related issues have historically been underemphasized, most notably those dealing with service quality. In this area, Air France’s endeavors have noticeably lagged behind those of other comparable traditional airlines. What Air France has been slow to realize is that, due to the deregulation of the airline industry in Europe, their battle for competitive advantage can longer be fought on either price (because price moves are too easily copied) nor on “loyalty” based on company legacy, since these levers will no longer be enough to keep customers coming back.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Customer Care at Air France." 24 Jul 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

France: A Model For American Health Care Essay examples

- Living in a country with the best medical labs, hospitals and educated technicians; you would only expect the best health care would come in correlation. However, the United States health insurance systems prevent millions from receiving care. The US health care system lacks in coverage, quality and cost; it is a system that doesn’t believe that everyone has a right to health care, ranks low on the global standards of quality of care and pays more on health care than any other well-developed democracy....   [tags: US Health Care]

Research Papers
1504 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about The Most Recognized Brand With Qualified Customer Care Team

- The Most Recognized Brand With Qualified Customer Care Team Whirlpool is one of the top most brands dealing with production of various electronic gadgets. In market, though you find several brands, as you think of quality, you will get some products and if anyone says, Whirlpool is one among them, no one can over-state it. If you are one of the users of Whirlpool, you can stay happy. If you search as Whirlpool Authorised Service Centre in Hyderabad, you will find out lists. Initially you need to identify category of product under Whirlpool....   [tags: Customer service, Customer, Problem solving]

Research Papers
841 words (2.4 pages)

France 's Health Care System Essay

- United States citizens are oblivious to the fact that the health care system is not the best in the world. People 's gullibility makes them believe in politicians like John Boehner, who say that the United States have the best health care system when the evidence proves the opposite. In the other hand, "some American experts say there 's a lot Americans can learn from the French" (Shapiro). A study rank 191 countries ' health care system placing France in first place and the United States in the 37th place (Dutton)....   [tags: Universal health care, Health economics]

Research Papers
763 words (2.2 pages)

The Merger of Air France-KLM Essay

- The merger of Air France-KLM 1. Introduction 3 2. Cause of the problems faced by Air France-KLM post 2009 4 3. The organizational structure of Air France-KLM 5 4. Discussion of the 'Transform 2015' program 6 5. Conclusion 7   1. Introduction In 2004 the airlines Air France and KLM merged into a new entity known as Air France-KLM. Both the CEO's of the companies saw the need to merge because of the need for consolidation in the European aviation industry. It was a unique merger in the way that is was a cross border merger between companies with different nationalities and cultures....   [tags: consolidation, global economic crisis]

Free Essays
1066 words (3 pages)

Customer Service at Southwest Air Essay

- As the project management triangle states, “do you want something done good, cheap, or fast?. Pick two!” That had been the constraints applied to many businesses until the launch of Southwest airlines in the mid 1960’s. Southwest managed to break free of the management triangle and offer safe (good), low cost (cheap), and timely (fast) air service in Texas and eventually across the United States. From the beginning, the company’s staff and management shared these goals, and developed a foundation on which to build the business....   [tags: Business Analysis ]

Research Papers
1652 words (4.7 pages)

Customer Service And Customer Services Essay

- Customer service has been around for many years. When customer service first came into place in the business world, it was in stores. In society today customer service is with any job with any company. “Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job. -Anonymous”. (Walter). Customer service is taking care of your customers. Every customer needs to be treated the same with excellent customer service no matter the business or the age of the customer. All employees need to adapt to each customers’ needs in order to provide the best experience possible....   [tags: Customer service, Customer, Want, Sales]

Research Papers
1518 words (4.3 pages)

Air And Sea Travel Center Essay

- Firstly, I would like to take about the customer service and satisfaction at Air & Sea Travel Center. Air & Sea Travel Center has a great amount of repeating client, our royal customer always come back to us because our great customer services. We have suppliers like Hawaiian Airline, Asiana Airline, China Airline, Marriott Hotel and other service suppliers that we could offer to our valued client. We make sure that every special request from our value client should deliver to the service supplier so that our clients could receive what they requested and wished upon their arrivals and departs....   [tags: Customer service, Service, Customer, Tourism]

Research Papers
1502 words (4.3 pages)

The Battle of France Essay

- 1. Introduction 2. History 3. Planning/Preparation 4. Execution/Action 5. Lessons Learned 6. Works Cited Introduction In the spring of 1940 Europe was enveloped in war. The German military machine had already conquered Poland, Denmark, and Norway. However, not content with northern and eastern expansion, Adolf Hitler wanted to control the western countries in Europe. Hitler had long been obsessed with attacking and controlling France. After their defeat in World War I, the German people, government, and military were humiliated by the enormous post war sanctions leveraged against them from the Treaty of Versailles....   [tags: The Fall of France, Nazi Invasion of 1940]

Research Papers
2520 words (7.2 pages)

Essay on New France

- Location The location of New France was North America. North America was an area colonized by France which stretched from New Foundland to Hudson Bay to the Rocky Mountains all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. All the territory was divided into 5 different colonies and those colonies were: Canada, Acadia, Hudson Bay, New Foundland(Plaisance), and Louisiana. Why Did Settlers Come to New France. Some settlers came for jobs and others came because either the king was going to give them money....   [tags: New France]

Free Essays
1930 words (5.5 pages)

Financial Comparison of Air France, Ryan Air and American Airlines Essay

- Financial Comparison of Air France, Ryan Air and American Airlines I decided to write the first experiential exercise about three airline companies. I chose Air France, what is the most famous airline company in Europe, a big US company American Airlines, and finally big low-cost airline in Europe, called Ryanair. First of all, I would like to give a short introduction about all the three companies, what are their main advantages comparing to other airlines, because all of them are market leader in their own sector....   [tags: Compare Contrast Business Airline Industry]

Free Essays
1003 words (2.9 pages)

What should be obvious is that, in this new environment where all airline companies now have comparable fares and matching frequent flyer programs, the airline with the better (or the best) perceived service will draw passengers from other carriers.

3) National Culture: Unlike the United States, France is not particularly well-known for its focus on customer service. Certainly some of this has to do with its national history and the fact that, even today, the class system in France is far from dead. One could make a strong argument that customer service in France may be viewed as a lessening of oneself to become subservient in a given context. This seems to be an indication of a cultural-specific issue, since service in the United States, for example, tends to be regarded more often as a service of “equals”: a salesperson or customer representative tends to act as a partner in a transaction, neither currying favor (although friendliness is always appreciated), nor pushing the customer (hopefully) into decisions s/he does not want to make.

4) Consistency of Competence: “Perhaps more than anything, a successful program depends on competent and consistent execution.” The problem that is apparent from Dr. Jaeger’s dilemma is that there is no consistency of competent behavior from one airline to the other, and neither is taking accountability for the issue. True, KLM does respond to Dr. Jaeger’s plea rather rapidly, but they still do not take any responsibility to the point of action, and instead send him right back to Air France, whose response (or lack thereof) is simply unacceptable from a customer service point of view. The bottom line is that, for the customer, Air France-KLM appears as one company, but even with a (supposed) synergistic alliance, they are still functioning and behaving as two distinct entities, a confusing situation indeed. With respect to the competent and consistent execution of Club 2000, all it takes is one negative experience for an elite customer to be turned off “for good” and to never consider that airline’s service again.

Based on Dr. Jaeger’s very negative service encounters with Air France, the following recommendations are suggested in order to address the poor service quality issues of the airline:

1) DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISE: When a loyalty program promises to reward customers with special treatment, it must ensure that the services provided through these special arrangements are actually delivered. If we examine Exhibits 1 & 2, it is easy to see that there is a distinct gap between service delivery of Club 2000 and the external communications about the service delivery to customers. This error must be corrected, and can only be done so from the “top-down” – the senior leaders of Air France and KLM must first instill in their employees the values they practice themselves everyday (which employees witness everyday). Secondly, they must convey those values via external communications to their customers. Finally, they must effectively deliver on those promises made to their customers, in order to build confidence and trust, tow key drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2) IMPROVE SERVICE RECOVERY: The phenomenon of “service recovery” is actually an interesting paradox: First customers are dissatisfied; then they experience a high level of excellent service recovery; then they may ultimately be even more satisfied and more likely to repurchase the product and/or service again. Therefore, some ways Air France can try to cultivate better service recovery standards are by acting quickly to customer complaints; providing adequate explanations for mishaps; treating its customers fairly; cultivating relationships with its customers; learning from failed service experiences and lost customers; learning from recovery experiences; trying to “fail-safe” the service; and finally, encouraging customer feedback and tracking complaints.

3) SERVICE EMPLOYEES ARE THE BRAND. An airline customer who lives in a small town with a tiny airport, for example, has a reduced set of options in airline travel. This customer will be more tolerant of the service performance of the carriers in the town because few alternatives exist. S/he will accept the scheduling and lower levels of service more than the customer in a big city who has myriad flights and airlines to choose from. The customer’s perception that other service alternatives exist accordingly raises the customer’s level of “acceptable” service expectation, and also narrows the sphere of the customer’s tolerance level. Every time a customer comes into contact with an enervating Air France employee, that encounter tarnishes the company and brand image in the customer’s mind. Therefore, in order to revolutionize the way its employees interact with customers, Air France should motivate employees through defined performance rewards based on customer feedback and metrics. In an economy that has been carved out of a socialized (as opposed to capitalized) system, the only way to motivate employees in the case of Air France is through well-designed pay-for-performance systems.

4) ALLY YOUR COMPANY PRACTICES, NOT JUST YOUR COMPANY: Dr. Jaeger’s perceptions of disparity in the service provision between the two allied airlines, Air France and KLM, are also evident from the case. Much research has focused on the service quality of individual airlines. Similarly, there is also considerable literature that examines appropriate measures to be taken in case of a service failure by a particular airline. Regardless, it is evident that the issue of service failure and recovery can occur with a partner of the airline with which a traveler has a close relationship. Consequently, this has important implications for individual airlines, especially those which have established in the past a reputation for high standards of quality and service, such as KLM. If a service failure on an airline is not resolved to the satisfaction of a customer, it may adversely affect not only the airline responsible for the service failure but also, inadvertently, the partner airline as well, by means of association through the alliance. Such potential drawbacks of an alliance membership could seriously damage the alliance between Air France and KLM and needs to absolutely be remedied. And at the end of the day, both companies are indeed responsible for Dr. Jaeger’s extreme customer dissatisfaction.
This poses severe problems for Air France-KLM, an airline provider which may not even understand what service quality features are important to its customers. As we have learned, good service has little to do with what the airline provider believes; rather, it depends solely on the beliefs of the individual customer. Customer satisfaction can occur only when the customer’s perceived experience either matches or exceeds the customer’s expectations. However, customer loyalty (leading to repeat business) occurs only when the perceived experience can be considered excellent, as in a level far exceeding merely good service. Thus, what are some of the typical underlying factors that could form perceptions of service quality for Air France-KLM?

• Reliability: Flights to promised destinations depart and arrive on schedule

• Responsiveness: Prompt and speedy system for customer complaints, in-flight baggage handling and baggage insurance/guarantees on lost luggage

• Assurance: Trusted airline name; good safety record; employees who are not only competent, but go “above and beyond” the call of service and duty

• Empathy: Employees who understand the special individual customer needs and anticipate their customer needs

• Tangibles: Modern, new aircraft; attractive ticketing counters; convenient baggage area; neat, professional staff uniforms

The success in turning Air France around from a bureaucratic institution – that at one time regarded itself as superior in doing the public a favor by allowing them to fly on its planes – to a customer responsive and world-class service provider should be dependent on the actions of both corporate CEO’s, both Spinetta and van Wijk, in designing excellent service quality standards for Air France-KLM, as one entity (even if they choose to maintain their distinct identities). Their leadership by example should literally set the example for the entire corporate culture and, hence, propel these two airlines to a new level of success.

It is difficult enough for any airline customer to evaluate and discern the subtle differences in service quality and make objective appraisals, but ignoring the customer’s (especially elite customer’s) appeal is beyond the zone of bad service quality – it is simply intolerable. Toward this end, Air France must keep close watch on its best (if not all) customers, assessing the importance and performance of each customer contact. It is essential that service quality measures be customer-driven, as there could be a disparity between senior managerial thought and practice versus customers’ actual expectations. By carefully listening to and responding to customers, Air France can identify critical areas of service that need immediate managerial action, as well as those that can be promoted on differentiating features.
Return to