Emirates Airline is one of the leading Airlines in the world that serves destination in 60 countries and is planning to serve more international destinations. The airline targets diverse customer groups belonging to different culture, countries, region and race which includes families, business people and individuals. With the passage of time and change in the market trends companies are now moving towards customer-centric approach instead of the traditional product-oriented approach. They have understood that customers are very important for businesses and without them there will be no business.
Today Emirates Airline offers a number of special services to its customers according to their needs and requirements. It is a known fact that businesses only success when their customer are valued and respected. For this reason they focus on the current and future customers. Companies often focus on some considerations and parameters when applying the customer centrality approach. This involves informing the employees, training them well, studying and understanding the customer lifecycle, solving customer’s problems and ultimately building long-term relationship with them. Besides this there are some concepts related to customer centrality which companies are using in order to become more involved with customer and successfully apply the approach to their company. At Emirates they are extremely customer-centric concentrating more and more on the employees and their welfare, their aim is to make the employees feel comfortable and make them enjoy their journey. They have introduced technologically updated entertainment systems for entertainment and amusement of the passengers. They also have well trained and skilled crew who are always ready to help the passenger, exquisite meals and extensive reward systems.
Emirates Airline is successfully applying the customer-centric approach to its business operations and making its customers happy and loyal.
The research paper is based on the Customer-Centric approach that companies are using this paper represents thorough and deep analysis of this approach at Emirates airlines. This approach revolves around the customers and their welfare and requires steadiness and integration with customer at the important areas. Emirates airlines is one of those companies that take special care of its customers, by maintaining its high quality standards it has made a big name in the market and has developed and distinguished itself as a successful business of the 21st century.
Background of Emirates
Emirates Airlines is the largest airlines of middle-east that is famous all over the world. It is one of the luxurious and most profitable airlines in the world. It is the official international airlines of UAE that was established in 1985 by the Government of Dubai. The airline was started with only two airplanes and since then it has become a big name and influential name in the travel and tour business. The airline is also known well for its quality and standards that are set and maintained well (The Emirates Network (TEN), 2007).
Even though the airlines is owned by the Government of UAE it has to face tough competition from all over the world due to the open skies policy of Dubai but this has helped the airline in developing and maintaining its own special position and status in the world. Due to this policy of Dubai the airline is striving hard to maintain its position and grow rapidly. The businesses of the airline consists of an international cargo division, an international ground-handler, a full-fledged destination management and leisure division and airline IT developer (Emirates, 2010).
Currently the company owns a fleet of 34 airplanes that serves 100 destinations in 60 countries. The expansion and growth of the airline has not yet stopped it has bigger plans for the future to serve the best to its customers and serve them more. The airline seeks to have a better future by serving more international destinations and customers. Today Emirates Airline is a very successful and highly recognized airline all over the world for its especially unique services and extraordinary treatment of the passengers.
The Target market of Emirates Airlines
Emirates airline strongly focuses on its target market and try to fulfill their demands to make them happy in every possible way, because at Emirates they understand that customers means a lot to the business, their unhappiness and dissatisfaction can cause the business a high price and even failure sometimes.
On the basis of market segmentation the target market of Emirates airlines falls into the following categories (Small Business Notes, 2009):
Geographic segment: Emirates has operations in almost 60 countries of the world. So the target market in this category includes customers from all over the world i.e. from Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, North America and South America. The airline covers all the important destinations that people visit in order to provide its best services and hospitality.
Demographic segment: Emirates serves a diverse customer group which includes adults as well as kids, males and females both and customers belonging to different culture, races, incomes and occupation as they have different facilities for different customers based on their status and demands.
Psychographic segment: People seeking luxury, convenience, safety, a friendly environment and comfort comes in this category. As emirates airline is dedicated to its customer to the fullest, its aim is to provide them the best services and a memorable flight.
Behavioral segment: the regular customers of emirates are loyal whenever they are traveling; they opt for emirates as they are well aware of the services that the airline provides (Liu, 2010).
Specific parameters of focus for consideration with regard to customer centrality
Customer centrality has become a requirement for companies to survive in today’s competitive environment as it helps them to stay safe from the commodity hell. To focus on customer-centrality the companies have to:
First have an open mind and be able to understand and solve the problems that the customers are facing and may face in future in order to meet the customer expectations.
Then they have to analyze and study the customer life cycle which includes their marital status, children, ownership and other such customer related considerations. With the help of this knowledge the companies try to understand the customer behavior from their past purchases and buying behavior.
Make employee understand the demands and wants of the customers and they should work together to serve the customers in a better way in cross-functional teams to achieve the desired results.
Develop relationship with customers that have a long-term approach by providing them information, discounts and other incentives. In this way they can get customer attention and more market share.
Collect the important and worthy information about the customers from the sales people and the front line managers who have a regular interaction with them. These people and managers should be empowered and highly skilled in-order to convey and offer solutions to the customers related to any problem, issue or product. Companies should also have websites and help-lines where they can help the customers who are having problems or who wants information. This will help companies to develop good and long-lasting relations with the customers.
Utilize tailored business streams (TBS) efficiently and effectively in order to provide customized offerings to the customers, which will ultimately result in low cost and increased customer satisfaction and happiness. (Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc, 2004)
With the passage of time the market has become customer-driven. Customers are given first preference in everything as due to increase in competition they have more choices available. To get the best results and more profits the companies must manage their businesses as portfolio of customers by giving them importance and understanding what they really want.
Customer centrality is basically the extent to which the customer is engaged in defining and creating value. This approach creates better results for both the company and the customers as the company gets profit and market share while the customers get their desired product or services (Galbraith, 2005). So we can say that it is a mutually beneficial approach. In simple words it is also defined as the capability to absorb and respond to the changing customer needs and demands (Mitreanu, 2005).
Key marketing concepts/theories and philosophy of customer centrality
The concepts in customer centrality focus on the right customers for the business and developing long-term relations with these key customers. By building relationship with these customer will make the company more profitable in the long-run.
Understanding the current and future needs and wants: companies must focus on and try to understand customer needs and wants even before the customer them self know them, as this will result in superior customer satisfaction. Customers must be involved in every step of new product development in order to create value for the customers and deliver them the best products and results.
Value addition: to satisfy the needs and wants of the customers it is very important to add value to the end product that is being delivered to the customer. Organizations must take into notice and make sure that at level of its operation value is added by the employees to provide top quality products or services to the customer. For this it is also very important that everyone in the organization knows the customers and understands their needs and demands. Companies must take measure to assure that the customers are getting the best products in an effective and efficient way at the lowest prices.
Preparing for change: the company must always be ready for adopting long-term change that will have an effect on the company. For this it is very important for the company to understand the whole process of customer- centricity and its requirements. And later the company must implement customer centricity to all the processes and departments of the organization which includes: the organizational structure, strategic vision, information and technology, people and process. As customer centricity has become an important aspect of businesses today the companies must be open minded and ready to accept it and make efforts to bring in changes related to it in order to get the best results (Hewett, n.d).
Availability of information to the customers: companies should also offer information to the customers through internet and telephones.
Business scenario of the 21st century
With technology and globalization there has been a tremendous increase in competition, countries from all over the world have international as well as national competitors. In this era of high competition companies have become more customers oriented and customer-centric. They are focusing more and more on customer satisfaction and customer happiness as they know very well that it is the customer with whom their business will fail (Singhania, n.d).
Application of Customer Centrality at Emirates airline
Emirates Airline has adopted the customer-centric approach to build a good reputation in the market and among the customer and position itself in a better way and effectively manage competition. The company is focusing on all its activities and trying to make them convenient and better for the customer by understanding the nature and type of the customer. As people all over the world travel through emirates, the airline is trying its best to entertain and facilitate them to the fullest. The crew on the airplanes is very hospitable and trained. They are ready to help the customers in any way possible. The airline is providing comfort along with exceptional services to its customers. The experience of traveling through emirates is legendary and classical and makes customer loyal as they get attention and good facilities (The Emirates group career centre, 2010).
Evidence of customer-centrality at Emirates airline
Emirate airline is considered as one of the world’s best airlines that have a customer-oriented approach. Their aim is to make the customers happy and satisfy their needs and demands. For this purpose they are constantly making changes and innovation and bringing in new things that would make the customers happy. Following are the facilities that Emirates airline provides its customers:
Online Check- In: the airline provides 24 hour check-in-system to its customers which permit them to check their emirate flights 24 hour before they arrive at the airport. Also E-boarding passes are offered to the customers who functions the same as the normal boarding passes. The business and first class passengers of the airline can even use the E-boarding pass to acquire entrée to the Emirates Lounge.
Frequent flyer Programme: to its regular customer Emirates airline provides unique reward programmes which are:
Business Rewards: This is designed especially for the organizations that use Emirates for their travel needs. Through this the organizations receive incentives whenever their employees travel by earning reward points. The incentives are in the form of complimentary tickets to any destination of the Emirates Global Network. In case of charity related organization and clubs that have around 80 business travelers the rewards and incentives are even higher.
Skywards: this reward system is created specifically for individual travelers. This plan has three level of membership which are named as Blue, Silver and Gold, these entitles the passenger to a number of gratuitous services which includes: access to exclusive lounge, priority on the wait list, priority check-in, seating assigned before hand, allowance for excess baggage, guarantee of seat reservation along with assistance on personal travel by devoted travel coordinators (Southall Travel, 2010).
The different types of cabin classes: with technologically improved and developed fleets and well trained and skilled international cabin crew Emirates airline offers comfortable and relaxing travels. Following are the three different types of cabin classes that Emirates Airline has:
First Class: this class has utmost relaxing and comfy sleeper seat. This class facilitates the passengers to get to their desired location revitalized even after an extensive flight. This class even offers technologically updated hand-held controllers for customized luxury; it performs several tasks like adjusting the seats and selecting movies. The passengers traveling through this class also get alert and approachable crew that confidently speaks local languages and English in order to fulfill their needs and demands.
Business Class: this class has special seats that are reclineable and flat specially designed to facilitate the passenger in this class, these seats also provide the passenger the services like Calls, SMS, laptop charging and e-mail. The aim of this class is to provide all the possible resources to the passengers to carry out their business conveniently throughout their flights.
Economy class: the cabins in this class are designed specially to provide more comfort, space and good services. This class’s cabin consists of splendid and wonderful in-flight amusement system that contains radio and TV facility. Here they also play on-demand movies so as to keep the passengers busy and entertained during their long and tiring flights (Emirates, 2010).
Lounges: seeing the demands, expectations and requirements of its regular customers Emirates Airlines has established fashionable and exclusive lounges in Mumbai, New York, Auckland, Dubai, Bangkok, Hamburg, Munich, Manchester, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Johannesburg, Paris, Frankfurt, Zürich, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore (Emirates, 2010).
Besides this they also offer complimentary access to the passengers to 50 above associate lounges at the international airports within six continents. Also Emirates Airline provides unlimited entertainment, facilities and dining options at its lounges to make them feel relax and refresh before their next flight.
Meals: Passengers traveling through Emirates should always be ready for superb meals while in the mid of the sky. They offer extraordinarily designed regional menus specially created by professional chefs who are expert in cooking to their respected passengers. On a Gueridon trolley they serve the seven course menu which they offer for lunch and dinners. The passengers on the first class get the opportunity enjoy extensive variety of complimentary drinks which includes Vintage wines and champagne (not for the flights for Saudi Arabia) and Cocktails on all flights. They also have the luxurious option to order snacks and multi-course meals from exclusive ala carte menu whenever they want.
Entertainment and communication facilities on the flight: Emirates coddles its passengers by providing them the best entertainment with the help of world’s number one complete in-flight entertainment systems. Passengers have the option to choose from remarkable bunch of around 1200 channels allowing them to watch their preferred movies, TV shows and sports programmes. The passengers also have the alternative to listen to music from all over the world, play video games and DVDs. The exclusive in-flight systems provided by the airline offers user a number of functions which include: stop, start, pause, fast-forward and rewind form their seats while a watching movie it enables the passenger to enjoy the movies to the fullest without moving. The system also has distinctive Air show functionality which provides live views of the sky and aircraft from the airplanes external cameras. Emirates flights also provide the In-seat telephone facility with the help of which the passengers can make international calls by using credit cards or pre-paid phone cards. These phones can also be used to talk to the passengers already present in the airplane (Emirates, 2010).
Emirate airline is no doubt world’s number one airline that provides comfort and convenience to its passenger. Form all the evidences provided above it is quite clear that the airlines is customer-centric and believes in making customer happy by providing them extraordinary facilities and services.
effectiveness/or not. Ideas for consideration/improvements:
The approach of Emirates airline is very effective and has lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty. With the help of its customer centrality approach the airline has also received many awards and good name in the market. The awards Emirates airline has received are for its excellent services, quality, entertainment and cuisine (The World Airline Awards, 2010).
Even though the company is very successful and doing all it can there is a special need of getting customer feedbacks and opinion regarding the services and facilities as customer opinion matters the most it can further help in making changes and improvements which will ultimately make Emirates more successful and famous.
Customer centrality is an important and highly applicable approach of the 21st Century in order to compete globally and establish and maintain its position in the market. Companies all over the world understand this phenomenon and are applying it to their organizations for better results. The company understudy for this paper is Emirates airline which is also applying and working on customer centrality approach.
Emirates Airline is extremely focused when it comes to customers. The aim of the Airline is to provide best facilities, services, care, hospitality, comfort and convenience to the passenger. All this requires Emirates to focus and apply the customer centrality approach. Being in the travel industry requires Emirates to be customer-oriented and satisfy the demands and needs of the customer to attain their loyalty. By delivering the set of high quality and excellent services to the customers Emirates has made a big name in the national and international markets. People from all over the worlds admire the services and facilities Emirates offers along with their highly efficient, well-trained and skilled crew.
The process of Customer-centrality at emirates airlines is a planned one. As the aim of the business is to make the customers happy Emirates is doing its best by providing all the services that other airline provides along with the special facilities of its own and some that the customers demand. With the help of customer’s opinion and views and by understanding their needs the Airline has efficiently established itself and its procedures to satisfy the customer’s needs and wants and ultimately make them happy and loyal.
The customer-centric approach is flawless as it makes the customer most important which actually is true because customers are very important and critical for any organization to achieve profit and desired results. Without the customers there will be no business also if the needs and wants of the customers are not satisfied the customers will move to competitor. So to survive in this era of high technology, competition and globalization companies have to adopt customer-centric approach, because today’s customers have become very smart and they know very well their importance and value. In a nutshell for a company to be successful customer-centric approach is the best approach as any company’s success depends on its customers.
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