A service blueprint is a crucial tool for every organization, a diagrammatic representation that outlines the steps followed when delivering a service. The outline eases the creation of a new process or guides on how existing procedures can be improved because it considers the customer’s perspective. A service blueprint contains a combination of employees’ actions and the encounters of customers and subsistence processes that sometimes the customer may not be aware of (Go & Kim, 2018). Generally, a service blueprint is comprised of physical evidence that customers and employees touch. It also contains the activities undertaken by customers as they are experiencing the service. The actions of employees and customer interactions are also included in a service blueprint. Besides, there are employee actions that are not visible to customers but enhance the possibility of the service. Lastly, the outline contains internal activities that support employees as they are offering the service.
The customer journey for a business class passenger can be planned from the perspective of the airport that is offering the transportation service. Recently, the airline business has experienced an increase in competitiveness via price, thus necessitating a different approach to appeal to clients. In this light, the customer experience at the airport comes in handy to make an airline outstanding in service delivery and attract more clients.
The service blueprint for an airline is a combination of various components. Physical evidence exists on the booking website of the aircraft. The airport unloading zone and check-in station are some of the elements that one notices in this journey. Customer actions vary from booking reservations to arriving at the airport, checking in, giving bags and tickets to workers, boarding the plane, alighting, and picking their luggage. Employees have the responsibility of processing registration and taking tickets from customers upon arrival. These employees make reservations for the customers backstage, where they load their belongings on the plane and unload them upon landing. Reservation procedures and registration systems are the support processes in air travel.
Market Trends Leading to the Business Class Segment
There exist many emerging trends in the commercial aircraft industry, especially on the seating with the embracing of business class as a substitute to the first class that has become quite prominent. This transition has resulted from the availability of advanced creations originating from manufacturers of seats. With technologically advanced rooms in the business class segment, most airlines have replaced their first-class space with business class seats on their aircraft (Hwang et al., 2017). Innovative ideas in making the accommodation make the business class just as comfortable as the more luxurious aircraft segment.
The cost of the business class seats also makes them favorable to aircraft owners. Comparatively, this arrangement is much cheaper as compared to the first-class segment. A business aims to make a profit, so it adopts measures that reduce the cost and generate income. Every aircraft has a given number of chairs available to passengers on board. Replacement of existing first-class segments with business class means that the plane will have more space, thereby carrying more passengers, thus generating more revenue for the business, especially in long-haul flights. Qatar Airways is an example of a company that has announced a new Qsuite business class whereby the design of the layout is in such a way that they can be converted into a pair of beds (O’Connell & Bueno, 2018). This advancement enhances the client experience, making the business class desirable to a more extensive customer base.
How the Customer Journey Meets Business Class Needs
A customer journey that meets customer needs makes them feel special. In return, the client remains loyal to the business and is more likely to recommend the brand to their family and friends, thus increasing its profit (Lemon & Verhoef2016). For an individual intending to use a plane for transport, the customer journey has different sections starting from booking to finally leaving after arrival at the desired destination. The business class should have seats situated solely and from where a passenger can access the aisle. Wi-Fi connection and amenity kits providence should also be considered for the comfort of passengers. Tasty food with cozy bedding and friendly and attentive flight attendants are advantages of traveling in business class.
Points of Failure that might Impact Service Quality
The customer journey components should be incorporated to meet clients’ needs for all classes. Lack of proper maintenance and updating of the aircraft website hinders customers from getting information required before making booking decisions. Mishandling of customer bags or failure to label them properly can lead to loss of luggage and negatively affect customer experience. When flight attendants fail to check in the customers to their respective seats in the business class, a state of confusion is created in the plane. Languidness in checking passenger tickets leads to the boarding of passengers that are not cleared, affecting service delivery. Clumsiness in employees loading bags leads to the destruction of property, which lowers the quality of services customers receive. Unloading of luggage should similarly be done with a lot of keenness to safeguard customer property to ensure satisfactory service delivery. To attract new customers and maintain new ones, a company should provide high-quality services throughout the customer journey.
Extended Marketing Mix Decisions Important for Successful Service Delivery to the Business Class Market
The aircraft industry that offers the business class product operates in a market comprised of people, promotion, price, place, product, process, and the physical environment. The business class market’s people are the employees who make reservations for customers, process their registration, take customers’ tickets, check-in bags and take them to the plane, load and unload the luggage. These employees should be trained appropriately and have good etiquette to relate well with the customers seeking services from the aircraft. The physical part is the website booking site, airport unloading zone, check-in station, bags, plane tickets, and baggage claim. Regular update and installation of tamperproof websites with effective response systems. Plane tickets should be offered to passengers in time, and proper luggage handling equipment put up to make the customers have a pleasant experience. There are support processes that include the reservation system and the registration system of the airport offering the business class market.
In conclusion, a service blueprint is an ideal way to determine the relationship between various departments whose actions impact the customer journey and, consequently, their experience. The tool enables a business to plan for resources, identify weak points and identify opportunities to optimize. It also facilitates proper coordination across the various departments of an organization. The aircraft business offers essential services, so paying attention to every element of the customer journey is vital to maintain relevance, keep customers ad make a profit.
Hwang, J., & Hyun, S. S. (2017). First-class airline travelers’ perception of luxury goods and its effect on loyalty formation. Current Issues in Tourism, 20(5), 497-520.
Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2016). Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 69-96.
O’Connell, J. F., & Bueno, O. E. (2018). A study into the hub performance of Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways and their competitive position against the major European hubbing airlines. Journal of Air Transport Management, 69, 257-268.
Go, M., & Kim, I. (2018). In-flight NCCI management by combining the Kano model with the service blueprint: A comparison of frequent and infrequent flyers. Tourism Management, 69, 471-486.