Customer Care and Case Study of Emirates

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Executive Summary

The first chapter of this report will discuss the background of the problem, major objectives and scopes of the study and the second chapter will consider the research method to formulate this paper. The third chapter will examine the limitation of the study and the subsequent chapter will analyze the topic from a theoretical perspective and give a clear view about customer care, CRM, customer loyalty and other related issues. The aim of chapter five is to analyze a case on a large UAE Company and Emirates airlines are the selected company for the case study as it occupies the leading position in the Asian market.

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This chapter will focus on the company background, the CRM in Emirates Group, the customer care cycle of Emirates, and the relationship between Marketing and Customer Care of Emirates. This chapter will concentrate on customer satisfaction and loyalty of Emirates, a program associated with customer care in Emirates and privacy policy regarding the customer information in Emirates. Finally, this report will provide a recommendation and conclusion considering the outcomes of a case study of Emirates Airlines

Introduction

Background of the problem

Nowadays, many researchers endeavored to find out the answer to the questions of why purchasers choose a particular product and how marketing influences them to purchase or how customer care to increase the profits of an organization, etc. Kotler & Keller (2006) stated that multinational companies highlight more on customer care in order to retain more customers by increasing customer loyalty, for example, the Airlines industry, and car manufacturing companies use CRM solutions for customer retention. However, the prime objective of this report is to discuss customer care theoretically and analyze a case on a large organization to explore the topic and this report will consider Emirates Airlines to analyze the CRM experience by observing the real scenario.

Objectives of this report

  • The key aim of this report is to analyze the theoretical approach of the entire customer care, for example, it will discuss a conceptual framework for CRM, the importance of CRM, customer satisfaction, etc;
  • This report is intended to select a large UAE company for the case study;
  • The main objective of the case study is to analyze the topic from a practical perspective and assess the significance of the theoretical aspects for the company’s performance and CRM system;
  • This report will assess customer relationship management by measuring customer services, issues related to privacy policy and data protection system, community and loyalty, etc;

Scope of the study

  • As the author of this report would like to choose a real company to research on customer care and this study has huge scope to determine the effectiveness of Customer care services of Emirates Airlines;
  • This report has a huge opportunity to consider CRM to overcome the global financial crisis as recession adversely affects the business environment as well as the Airlines industry;
  • It has vast the opportunity to discuss customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, customer value, customer relationship, customer equity, and post-purchase care more elaborately in literature review;
  • For Emirates, customers are the key to business success, and the implementation of CRM has widened their business and this paper has scope to highlight these success factors.

Research Methodology

Research Design

The author of this project will formulate the paper considering the single case study approach of Yin instead of six major steps of the marketing research process of Malhotra though there is much criticism about Yin’s method. Because yin’s method has no precise formula and the researcher would be able to apply discretionary power to design the paper, as a result, he would like to use qualitative as well as descriptive approach and he also intended to avoid quantitative method for this report, as the duration of the project is not enough for the survey.

Justification for Single-case design

  • Here the literature review provides a set of theoretical proposition and single case facilitate to combine knowledge and theory;
  • In addition, to corroborate, challenge, or widen the theory, Emirates case may meet all the conditions for testing assumption;
  • Case study Emirates Airlines will assist to refocus future investigations in a whole field;
  • Moreover, the analysis about customer care of Emirates will use as representative for other similar companies (Yin, 2003, p. 40 -41).

Primary data

Yin (2003, p.57) pointed out that to adopt a case study approach, it is essential to have prior skills as it is the hardest form of research to perform because of the absence of a custom method and primary data collection is the process to gather knowledge about the problem. Therefore, the author of this report contacted with a number of managers of Emirates Airlines by phone in order to gather prior knowledge and develop skills about customer care and the CRM system of the company. On the other hand, this paper has mainly considered the secondary sources as the author of this report used descriptive and qualitative research methods to evaluate the research problem with the Emirates case study.

Secondary data

This report mainly concentrates on secondary data to avoid field survey and the author will accumulate these secondary sources in order to compare the customer care of Emirates Airlines with other Airlines of the world. According to the view of Malhotra (2009), secondary data sources are tools that are more useful because it is processed data and it assists to classify the problem, prepare a suitable research design, and reach specific objectives the paper. To formulate this report, the author will utilize some published books of prominent researchers, accessible research papers, CRM case studies from the internet, and marketing journals, management books, survey reports of other researchers, e-books, annual reports 2009 of Emirates, and so on.

Limitation of Data Collection

In order to gather prior knowledge, the author has contacted managers by telephone but they were reluctant to communicate for a long time and to disclose the exact facts regarding customer care as they are busy with their own job and their view could adversely affect Emirates Airlines. On the other hand, the author has faced many troubles to generate information from secondary data sources, which would be broadly discussed in the following chapter

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Limitations of the Study

There are a number of limitations in this study, for example –

  • The researcher used descriptive and qualitative research methods as it was not possible for the researcher to gather primary data from the customers of Emirates;
  • Limited budget for completion this report as the researcher has to spend lots of money to collect secondary resources like- all journals were not free accessible;
  • Huge reliable secondary sources (like internet resources, news, journal articles and books) are available to generate literature review and other chapters but very little data is available for the specific company, for example, Emirates Airlines is one of the largest companies in UAE and it has its own annual report, financial reports and other reports. In addition, many researchers have worked for the chosen company but there are no specific sources about the customer care of Emirates or the comparison of CRM issues with other similar companies, so the researcher had to work hard to get ostensible information;
  • A number of unnecessary information of secondary research disturbs to find out important information;
  • However, one of the main barriers was the shortage of time for planning and completing the paper.

Literature Review

Literature of Customer Care

Greenberg (2009) defined customer care as an organizational process that involves upgrading the systems in a level where it will maximize the customers’ satisfaction with the organization, which would be a prime deliberation for every business concern of today to boost their sales and the increasing profitability that depends upon the customers blissful to the organization.

Klopotek & Partner (2008) argued that customer care is a major issue that is directly significant than any other organizational culture for which employees starting from receptionists to sales staff and managers’ even top management needed to demonstrate customer-facing roles and customer care would be treated as a core aspect of their job and service rendered to the organization.

Greenberg (2009) also added that customer care is a corporate strategy that positively leads an organization to the increasing transaction volume by adding more satisfied customers and ultimately enhance profitability and boost value for the stakeholders of that organization. At the same time, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is more than a wider method to promote customer relationships, gain their loyalty and retain them by using a set of tools, ultra-modern technologies, as well as procedures.

Buttle (2008) explained in detail that CRM has facilitated the business world by improved data management, massive data gathering in a single database by using innovative software with innovative promotional tools that are customized for each business. The opening of information technology has generated unexpected steps forward that the real practice of CRM now is an isolated marketing or promotional tool but an unavoidable component of modern SCM 1 as well as ERP2.

Parvatiyar and Sheth (2002) explained that CRM is firstly the matter of foremost-premeditated business procedure of quiet practice rather than just a conceptual framework as it is a program that spontaneously improves value for customer’s experience. On the other hand implementation tools to hold up customized solutions for the customer’s effectiveness analysis, integrating customer’s segmentation, customer’s demand determination, budgetary planning, prospects of management, contract execution, customer care strategies, customer’s problem-solving initiatives, effective team management, integrated marketing communications (IMC), and evaluating CRM performance are the subsequent intensity of organization (Parvatiyar & Sheth 2002).

CIM (2009) pointed out that the perceptions of customer relationship for a period from the point of view of a marketer are the life span value of the customer, value for his money has gone forward to facilitate well-informed direct marketer the prospects to distinguishing the profit impending from the entire market segments of the industry where they serve.

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Parvatiyar & Sheth (2002) added furthermore, loyalty marketing for all time is drawing attention to the realism that think about the preserved or current customers and improving business with the retained customers would trim down the costs of marketing rather than acquiring fresh customers while the customer retention strategy has organized on the facility to segmenting existing customers. This succession of CRM has delivered a higher value to the rapport of customer care involving both the vendor and consumer.

Buttle (2008) has given an explanation that the lifetime value of the customers would be projected by determining the engendered revenue flow for a span of time, the full amount of expenses followed to gathering all customers of that period would be subtracted from the generated revenue. After that, multiplying the resultant with the retention rate per annum of that corresponding year and adopting a discount rate upon the gross profitability would establish the present value of a customer and this process would be applied for several years with different rates.

Business Cycle of Customer Care

Katz et al (2009) argued that Customer care is far above the traditional function of customer service as well as support: that includes every function belonging to the marketer in course of the entire delivery chain that has demonstrated in the figure- as below-

Customer Value Chain.
Figure – 1: Customer Value Chain.

Jüttner (2007) explained this issue in such a manner that it is not merely targeting the acquaintance decrease but also an emphasis upon by and large customer satisfaction, though it becomes an explanatory ingredient within the underpinning concept of market-driven strategies those are customers faced, engaged to initiating customers profile, predict on the innovations with the object to reducing services cost.

Katz et al (2009) also added that in the first and second ranking of sales inventions is marketing and lead generation by the for marketers as well as to provide pre-purchase care for customers, simultaneously sales support at the instance of purchase, while post purchase supports would be guaranteed by an efficient process of customer care.

Jüttner (2007, p.5) pointed out that the customer care business cycle switches on through acquisition and explore up to retaining the customers for the long term while customer acquisition of an organization would largely draw the center of attention upon the beliefs of customers, queries, returning the one time and past customers, pull on customers of competitors and emphasizing existing customers. Prahalad (2002) added that the organizations ought to get hold of customers, but more attention to the forthcoming customers, and above all retain valuable customers while it is not possible for the business concerns to ensure high quality and long-lasting relationship with customers until and unless they could comprehend and identify the customer’s needs, wants as well as demand.

Prahalad et al (2002) argued that beneath the customer-oriented setting all products and channel expansion initiatives would pursue the customer’s lead while the modern organizations are at this instant developing products and services as well as arranging different outsourced channels to maintaining customer relationships rather than own employees.

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Parvatiyar & Sheth (2002) make it clear that the interactions with the potential customers are also a significant module of a booming CRM scheme while it is necessary to keep in mind that customers communicate in various roles with the organizations together with distribution channels as well as feedback through the Internet (Parvatiyar & Sheth, 2002). Beneath the CRM cycle, each business concern would get ready to amplify the value that the organizations make available for their customers to ensure customer-centricity and market orientation.

Prahalad et al (2002) addressed that relationship with customers and its management has contributed a major responsibility in the formulation of the strategies of organizations globally to face the challenge of a competitive marketplace. In fact, CRM is the expression of the implication of theoretical framework interconnected to the market orientation as well customer-faced strategy where the integrity of customer care has grounded on various paradigms demonstrated in the subsequent figure –

Multiple Paradigms in Investigating CC.

Customer Relationship Management

Buttle (2008) argued that under the present challenging business setting the significance of Customer Relationship Management3 has been expanded in a new shape rather than traditional CRM to concentrate on raising perfect competition, concentrated promotional activities, and customers’ wisdom and to increase profitability by reducing all sorts of risks. The most apposite definition of CRM has been presented as a procedure of managing and maximizing customer’s values by means of contemporaneous marketing drives, integrating proper management of customer’s knowledge and information as well as the relation with them.

Greenberg (2009) advocates that information system integration with the executing ERP scheme and such practice enabled the corporate firms to prop up CRM as well as e-commerce while the exercise of CRM leads for data mining; customers record maintenance, targeted research, and segmentation to ensure greater generation of the value of a customer.

Parvatiyar & Sheth (2002) argued that CRM has facilitated the business concerns with improved data management, massive data gathering in a single database by using innovative software with innovative promotional tools while the introduction of the information technology has given unpredictable progress for which CRM now is an isolated marketing or promotional tools but an unavoidable component of SCM 4 and ERP5.

Prahalad et al (2002) pointed out that the perception of customer relationship for a period, his life span value, value for his money has gone presumptuous to facilitate well-informed direct marketer the prospects to distinguish the profit impending from the entire market segments where they the companies serve their customers. In addition, loyalty marketing for all time is highly concerned with the reality that cares for preserved or current customer and improving business with that retained customer would reduce costs of marketing rather than acquiring customers with spanking new while the customer retention strategy has organized on the capability to segmenting existing customers. With this progression of CRM, modern business has delivered a higher value to the rapport involving the seller and buyer as well as stakeholders.

Customers Value

Greenberg (2009) argued that all the customers of a product or service may not be equally recognized and may not be rewarded as best customers ridiculously but it is indispensable to understanding each customer with predominantly importance but essential to assess customer’s value. The reaction of each customer for like chalk and cheese product or services of different companies would be quite different from another though, for the similar product and service, no customers would be treated uniformly and thus CRM needed to make a distinction between the higher and lower valued customers. To formative, the customers value CRM needed to understand the factors –

  • It has been argued that each customer’s individuality sensitivities including their tastes and preferences (Prahalad et al 2002),
  • It would be taken into account that the lifestyle of the customer and his length of time sustaining with the company or with its brand;
  • The most considerable issue is the cultural background of the customer and his level of education
  • The unavoidable concern is the customer’s corporeal and emotional characteristics (Buttle 2008)

To make a distinction the customers, the needed to differentiate offerings assessed such as-

  • The Lower valued customers positively necessitate elevated valued customer offerings;
  • Lower valued customers with prospective to be higher valued within near future with in the operation
  • The high-value customer requiring high-value services at any time
  • The higher valued customers may need lower-valued services due to changing condition

Maximizing the Lifetime value

Parvatiyar & Sheth (2002) and Greenberg (2009) pointed out that by take advantage of upselling as well as cross-selling in the near future and by make out life-stage with life-events would activate huge points by customers and marketers would be capable of maximizing share of purchase prospective with due diligence. As a result, the introverted adults of marketing would necessitate purchasing new products and services beneath maximum lifetime value.

Importance of Modern CRM

According to the view of the study book, up-to-date and detailed buyer-related information help to take future steps in a competitive market as it identifies and anticipates customer requirements to estimate and control the performance of a firm. However, the following points depict the significance of CRM for an organization –

  • Corporate planning: CRM is used in corporate planning to take decisions according to the objectives of the firm as it measures the strengths and weaknesses of the company and evaluates corporate image;
  • Cost Savings: Pearson (2009, p. 7) reported that the first aim of CRM is to reduce cost as technology makes it easier to reach target customers, sell products and services;
  • Market planning: CRM is considered as an effective tool in market planning to coordinate the company with its markets and customers, for example, it is important for identifying, estimating and describing main customer segments’ behavior and approach, evaluating relative profitability of markets in due course, processing market data, scrutinizing business prospective of a new market, and so on.
  • Increased Profits: Its difficult to estimate the total increased profit from the adoption of the CRM system but profits are the ultimate tests and a result of both the cost savings and the enlarged customer loyalty;
  • Product planning: According to the view of the study book, CRM is precious in building and implementing products and services to fulfill consumer demands more precisely and advantageously by generating new product ideas;
  • Communications planning: CRM play a vital for building brand or extension the existing brand as CRM system is essential for marketing campaigns to influence prospective customers;
  • Customer Loyalty: Kotler &. Keller (2006) pointed out that CRM gives the opportunity to obtain new customers and it keeps efforts to sustain the concurrent customers and growing customers loyalty shows the path to raise profits margin as it makes it simple to get new consumers;
  • Employee Satisfaction: In most cases, the companies are only assessing the customer satisfaction but they never try to measure employee satisfaction though implementation of CRM increases productivity as they are eager to deliver better value to customers;
  • Logistics planning: Finally, establishing and sustaining relationships with the suppliers is a challenging job for all managers but customer relationship management can positively facilitate overcoming this challenge by offering effective networking and problem-solving tools and it is a very useful device to plan and manage logistics as well as supply chains.

Escalating Customers Loyalty

Hampshire (2010) pointed out that the term “customer loyalty” is used to hold a wide range of customer attitudes and behaviors and the fundamental principle of CRM is to reach and retain loyal customers to maximizing market profit by building customized resolutions for potential consumers.

Major Issues Relating to Customer Loyalty

According to the study book, all business firms strive for customer satisfaction and loyalty and these firms spend solid money to create customer equity. Kuusik (2007, p. 9) stated that there are five major factors that affect customer loyalty, for instance –

Five features affecting loyalty.
Figure 5: – Five features affecting loyalty.
  • Image: the most complex factor is an image of brand or supplier, which affect the company in two ways like –customer use branded products because the trend of the customer is to show their own image or to classify themselves into different social categories;
  • Trustworthiness: Trustworthiness of the partner play a vital role to create loyalty because it is one criterion for assessing the value of the partner;
  • Significance of the relationship: Kuusik (2007, p. 10) argued that loyalty indicates a desire to retain a valuable relationship and relationship is important to minimize high risks of transaction and cancellation of contracts for dissatisfaction;
  • Customer Satisfaction: Customer Satisfaction is one of the most important factors to establish customer loyalty, organizations should try to satisfy with their products, services as well as expectations;
  • Other: customer loyalty is also interrelated with other issues like marketing mix.

Customer Satisfaction

Mont & Plepys (2003) defined customers satisfaction as a socio-psychological behavior of customers to an organization that has developed by consuming the goods or services of a company to the extend so far his utility has contented as a matter of formal procedure and symbol and in course of fulfilling customers physiological and emotional needs the companies generate profit. EUPAN (2009) considered customers satisfaction as a post-purchase sympathy and patience that customers demonstrate emotionally after consuming and becoming pleased with the rendered products and services that they purchased.

Thus, understanding and measuring customer satisfaction has become a central issue of modern business where customer satisfaction is an extensively time-honored impression in spite of practical dilemmas to determining and formulating the traditional approach of customer satisfaction estimation (Blackwell et al 2005).

Blackwell et al (2005) added that the most common feature to assessing customer’s satisfaction is the application of a wide-ranging satisfaction survey that is necessary to conduct time to time and intended to calculate the major changes that occurred within a particular interval though there are some other models of customer satisfaction assessment; survey taking would bring immediate response for marketers. EUPAN (2009) argued that as a complex conceptual framework of the literature of customer’s satisfaction, it is essential for the organizations to make it clear that –

  • Customer’s satisfaction is not a stationary perception but a chronologically changeable concept with time span while the new experiences and development of the stages of awareness would essentially modify the prospective levels of customer’s satisfaction that organizations have to uphold;
  • Survey with Customer’s satisfaction would bring complex outcomes with a mix of experiences that may not match with the present and previously measured outcome, so future prediction required enough study on the customer’s behavior;
  • Customer’s satisfaction achieved with quality of product and services along with the social contexts those are varied from time to time and this shifting is quite unpredictable or indescribable to the customers but market analysts required enough research;
  • The explanation of bringing customer’s satisfaction is enough complicated to express the motivation for their satisfaction but in practice, it mar argued principally where a smaller amount of tangible aspects of products and services would be considered;
  • It is far easier to convey the causes of customer’s dissatisfaction rather than satisfaction predominantly if there are no exceptional changes occurs;
  • Devoid of accepting the reasons for customer’s satisfaction most of all business concerns would be in the risk of losing new customers and fall to retain them thus it is essential to address the gaps of the service quality.
Gaps to Address Customer’s Satisfaction.
Figure – 3: Gaps to Address Customer’s Satisfaction.

Blackwell et al (2005) argued that in order to achieve a higher customer’s satisfaction, it is also necessary to understand the models of approaching satisfaction and disconfirmation that delivers that customer satisfaction overview from the customer’s viewpoint including their perceptions expectations and their gaps among the product or service quality. EUPAN (2009) added that increasing awareness and expectations of customers have a fundamental role to manipulate the level of their satisfaction with the product and services quality, which can be determined with a variety of issues such as-

  • Personal Needs: The customer of a product or service has preserved the features that he looks upon as a set of major personal requirements that he anticipate from the product or service to be addressed and it diverges from product to product and from service to service even from customer to customer where a crystal clear understanding is essential;
  • Previous knowledge: Most of the customers have had enough experience to rendering product and service encountered previously and this previous experience has a great influence upon his future expectations from the product or service including both bad and good experiences that generates future expectation;
Formulation of Customers Satisfaction.
Figure: – Formulation of Customers Satisfaction, Source: Mont & Plepys.
  • Oral communications: Customer’s expectations are also shaped with communications from different sources rather than the product or service offered to him or he rendered which sources include advertising medias and even his family, friends, colleagues and others;
  • Open service communications: Eventually, Customer’s expectations form from the statements of marketing staff, leaflets, billboards and other publicity objects those motivate directly to both positive or negative motivation;
  • Implied service communication: Outwards demonstration effects are included in this category those form customers believe and expectation for higher quality product and service from a company.

Mont & Plepys (2003) argued that the effect of price on the customer’s satisfaction has almost a great influence through the marketers are less interested on it than the other qualifications of customer satisfaction. However, the failure to incorporate price as s significant issue would irrelevant assess the combination between the customer satisfaction and performance of the organization while is deeply concerned with customer satisfaction. Moreover, promotion and communication are also keeping major influence the customer’s satisfaction while brand image and service reputation has a diverse impact on customer’s satisfaction to motivate customers to repurchase (EUPAN 2009).

Post Purchase Customer Care

Kuksov & Xie (2008) explained that the prospect of the organization to establish controls over the consumer satisfaction in the course of post-purchase endeavors is most precious to the consumers through maintaining such care is expensive to the organization. The organizations have the opportunity to apply post-purchase care to influence customer satisfaction possibly will depend upon the characteristics of the products and services and at the same time on the aptitude of the organization to spend in this regard. The instance of post-purchase care facilitates additionally flexible opportunities for the customers by gifting different free products, gift cards through postal service with company’s logo printed envelope and label to the post purchased customers. Companies also can take care of post-purchased customers with gift coupons, discount vouchers, and special offerings to the old customers to come back.

Kuksov & Xie (2008) also added that while the companies widely conduct post-purchase care for the customers to influence their satisfaction, it will positively generate the opportunity of retaining the customers but at the same time, it would enlarge consumer’s value of each transaction to provide interesting gifts and for the special offers on a future purchase.

Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2006) stated that it is also necessary to take into account how the diverse potentials of post-purchase efforts possibly will be supposed by the consumers as well as the value to consumers comparative to the spending by the organization and concerned with the possibility that the consumers were dissatisfied from post-purchase.

Blackwell, Miniard & Engel (2005) argued that it is essential to take into consideration the psychological issues and relevant time length to allowing post-purchase care if the time is too long for such efforts, the overall potency of the customer feelings concerning the purchase would be abolished while adoptions of widespread CRM can customer satisfaction rating.

Customer Equity

Rust, Lemon & Zeithaml (2009) defined customer equity as the summation of customers’ lifetime values of the nearby and future potential customers of an organization when the collective lifetime values of customers would be proportionate to the organization’s individual customers is called customer equity of that organization.

Wiesel, Skiera & Villanueva (2006) added the point of view, that the rationale of any amount of marketing spending is to boost the organization’s customer equity and every marketing costs that positively do not contribute to the organization to pick up customer equity is nothing but just waste of financial resources or wrong spending.

Rust, Lemon & Zeithaml (2009) also explained that customer equity is an alternative to the value of the organization apart from its accounting adjustments used for the expenses to purchase plant and apparatus including financial assets and liabilities all these generate the value of the organization is equal to the customer equity. Consequently, to define the achievement of marketing expenditures on the organization’s customer equity delivers the determination of financial return on all those investments that produced the value of the organization rather than this explanation CRM Models of customer equity is also more popular in the business world.

Maas, H. (2007) pointed out that from the consideration of marketers customers are as a rule the most uncertain and risky asset of any organization for which extraordinary credence has been devoted to the customers and their lifetime value generated to the value of the organization while the organization needed to shift from the product or service to the customer-centered approach. The following figure demonstrates the shifts to a customer-centered approach-

Customer-Centred Approach.
Figure: – 4: Customer-Centred Approach. Source: Maas, H. (2007).

Most of the concurrent research demonstrates the major drawbacks of the product-centered business drives and simultaneously emphasize the significance of the customer faced foremost value-oriented estimation of the organization while the customer equity roots from poles apart marketing drives those are at a standstill have limitations to considering customers as a valuable asset of the organization.

Maas, H. (2007) added that the modern trends in the economy have strongly forced the managers to reallocate the organizational focus from the product to customer correspondingly, commencing the brand equity towards the customer equity-focused to gain competitive advantage upon the most competitors.

Rust, Lemon & Zeithaml (2009) has concisely given a good reason for these transformations that at this time shaping the business world to the greater level by shifting from goods in the direction of services, starting from transactions towards relationships, from customer magnetism on the road to customer retention, and from product center headed for customer-focused (Rust et al 2009).

Case Study

Background of the company

Emirates group is one of the big business giants in the airline industry and in Asia, the company occupies the leading position in the industry. Emirates group consists of two independent organizations Emirates Airline and Dnata. Emirates runs the flights in various destinations in the world whereas Dnata is one of the big organizations in travel management service and they are the only sole agent of ground handling in Dubai International Airport.

According to the annual report 2009, the main wings of the Emirates group and also the major source of revenue is Emirates Airlines. This Airline service provider has a strong customer base around the world and for customer convenience and business developments currently operate almost in every important destination of the world. From the very beginning to today, it continuously strives to ensure the maximum customer satisfaction of the customers (Emirates, 2009).

Customer relationship management in Emirates Group

To Emirates, customers are the key to the business success and all the components of the CRM of the company are designed to serve best the customers. The customer relationship management of Emirates consists of various services provided to the customers, the main purpose of which is to add value in every step of the CRM process. For Emirates, customer care is a little bit more important than any other functions and all the business strategies and functions design in a way so that maximum value addition for the customer can ensure. As the literature shows, there are three components of customer relationship management that are customer, relationship and management. In this section, the customers, relationships, and management of Emirates have been identified for clarification of the concept.

Customers

In general terms, customers are those who buy the product or receive the service of a company. For Emirates, customers carry the extended meaning than the general term that is customers include the passenger of the fleet, the agents, and suppliers of various components of the value-added service, the workforce of the company and finally the other stakeholders including the shareholders.

The passengers of the airbus generated revenue and profit for the company so that they get the supreme importance. Besides these passengers, there are numerous suppliers for various services like food, accommodation, etc. who also get equal importance for the company. A large pool of employees serves the customers and performs a different function for the company who is also a valuable asset for the company. Finally, the shareholders of the company who provide the financial support for run the business operation make the business responsible to them. All these peoples are part of the customers of Emirates and as a result, got the focus of Customer Relation Management of the company.

Relationship

Emirates Airlines mainly concentrates on building long-term relationships with its customers. In the airline industry, most of the customers visit frequently to the different destinations of the world and service as well as price is an important consideration for most of the customers. To maintain a long-term relationship with the customers, Emirates gives importance to the continuous improvement of the services through the different initiatives and tries to keep the price of the fare constant. In 2008, the hike in oil price affect badly in the airline industry and almost every airline firm increased the fare to cover the additional cost.

Nevertheless, Emirates did not increase its plane fare and did not cut the workforce to compensate for the additional cost of fuel. Besides this, every year Emirates introduce new flight and airbus for the customers in a various destination of the world. In 2009, Emirates introduced a new double Decker airbus from London to Dubai with top-class services like air baths and spas on the flight.

Management

Emirates is one of the biggest airline firms in the airline industry of the world and serves a large number of customers every day. For Emirates airlines, customers care does not only involve the functions of the marketing but also the value addition process from every functional area of the organization. All the functional areas of Emirates airlines are dedicated to satisfying the customers and for this purpose, the corporate strategies of Emirates closely touched and aimed with the satisfaction of the customers.

Customer Care Cycle of Emirates

The customer care cycle of Emirates starts with the retention of the current customers and acquires new customers. Emirates executes long haul routes for which involves high-cost exposure, which forces the company to retain the existing customers besides the new customers. The existing customers are mainly corporate customers that contribute 80% of the total revenues. Besides these corporate customers, there are individual customers, which are also important for the company. To retain the existing customers and acquire the new customer’s Emirates frequently take market research and training program for the employees to interact more with the customers.

The main key for retaining the customers and creating new customers is a deep understanding of the needs and demands of the customer. According to the market, study reports Emirates increases its destination to various countries and towns to support the rising demand of the customers. Currently, Emirates has 124 international standard aircraft and every new fleet is added to the current size of the aircraft.

In Brazil, the company started its seventh destination in Sao Paulo where it executed a seven-day operation in a week. Not only has that it also increased its operation in Europe and America and in America, Emirates extended its operation in Los Angeles and San Francisco where it operates three weekly flights. In Europe, new flights have been introduced in different cities of Italy, the UK, Istanbul, Russia, and Greece (Sun Microsystems, 2010)

Finally, the process of interaction is very important in the customer care cycle of a business and Emirates develops various physical and online base processes for interacting with the customers. As an independent organization of Emirates group, Dnata aids Emirates airlines through processing and interacting with the customers. It is very important on the part of the Emirates as it gives the opportunity to get feedback from the customers. Side by side, Emirates has a rich website and systems through which it can interact with the customers. Customers can make any comment, suggestion, query, and complaint about the services of the company and a customer support team is always ready to interact with the customers online (Akamai, 2010).

Relationship between Marketing and Customer Care of Emirates

Customer care is a major component of marketing and from the marketing perspective; customers are the main resources of the organization. All the marketing activities of an organization are designed to serve and satisfy the customers. In Emirates, the customers get the major focus and all the marketing activities of the company are directed towards the satisfaction of the customers. There are mainly four areas of marketing, which also known as the marketing mix and these are product, price, promotion, and place –

Product

Product means the goods or services provided by the company and in the case of Emirates, the product of the company is the flight service through which the customers can visit different destinations around the world. For Emirates, the service is the main way to interact and satisfy the customers and it arranges environments where the passenger can enjoy and satisfactory journey during their trips. For providing the service according to the customer requirements, there are two broad categories of services in the flight that are the economy class and business class. The economy class brings the service to the individual customers who have a low budget and businesses provide service to the corporate customers who have strong financial exposure.

In both cases, the standard quality has maintained for maximum customer satisfaction and most of the case the customers are highly satisfied with the services provided to them. In UAE, Emirates airlines were elected as the top airline service through customer survey in UAE. Emirates tries to serve the customers through standard services in flights and it thinks the flight is the main source of serving the customers.

Price

Price is another important component of the marketing mix and price directly affects the choice of the customers. If the quality of the service is inferior to the price of the service, it will dissatisfy the customers with the company. In Emirates, fare charge is a very important consideration for marketing and customer satisfaction process and it always offers a competitive price to the customers to satisfy the customers.

During the price hike of oil, the fuel price of the fleet rises to a good percentage and to cope with the situation, all the airline’s company raises their fare. In such a situation, Emirates did not increase its fare and continued its existing service to the customers for their satisfaction. In the pricing policy of Emirates, revenue and profit is not the only motive of the company rather it tries to give maximum value to the customers against the money received from them.

Promotion

Promotion refers to all efforts made by a company to increase the desirability of services to current and prospective customers. Emirates have long and short-term promotional programs attract the passenger for visiting the airlines. The promotional campaigns of Emirates consist of advertisement, promotional events, sponsorship, media relationship, etc. Emirates follows heavy advertisement campaigns for the new service they had launched such as the new jumbo flight from Dubai to New York, Los Angeles, etc. For advertisement purposes, they use the mailing campaign to the agents, mini canvassing and frequently use the internet for advertising the new services. For the promotional purpose, Emirates use roadshows, organize cultural festivals, offer a discount of fare during Dubai shopping festivals, etc.

Emirates has a good reputation for sponsorship and it already sponsored five big football clubs of Europe and brought the title of the home ground of Arsenal in the name of Emirates. The company has a good relationship with the media across the world and most of the big events of Emirates occupied the headlines of the big newspapers and media of the world. In the last five years, it showed the most of the news is positive and stimulates the customers of the company.

Through these various kinds of promotional tools, Emirates always connected with the existing and potential customers around the world. These promotional programs help the customers to identify the numerous services of the company and they can easily choose the service suitable for them. Not only that, the customers can deliver feedback to the company based on these promotional programs.

Distribution

Distribution is the process of delivering the product or services to the customers within time without any constraints. As a service organization, Emirates delivers its services to the customers directly and through the agents operating in a different locations. These agents are actually the information hub for the company and the company sells its plane ticket through these agents. Emirates follows a strong supply chain for delivering premium services to customers.

Besides these agents, Emirates has a strong network of online services through which customers can access the service facilities of the company from any place of the world and it removes the location barrier for the customers and the company. Now customers can get the knowledge of different routes and services through internet and they also can book or confirm the flight in the same manner. It fundamentally changes the way of relationship with the customers and customers are now feel great comfort with the service of the company.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing refers to building a relationship with the customers through marketing activities. The main target of CRM is not to create new customers but also to offer more new products to the customers. In Emirates, almost every year a good number of new routes and destinations have been introduced for more customers satisfaction and to build long-term relationships with the clients.

Emirates is an airline that operates its flights in most of the important countries and cities of the world gets the focus from the customers of every corner of the world. Emirates already introduced new flights with big A380 flights from Dubai to Hamburg to make relationships more strong with the customers. In its continuous effort the maximize customer relationship, in the year 2008, it increases the number of flights in different routes and increase the number of routes. In Latin America and Europe, Asia and Africa a good number of new destinations had added in the following year.

At the outset, all of the marketing efforts made by the company are directed towards building a long-term relationship with the customers. Emirates has an excellent call center for prompt response to the customers, which is also an initiative to enhance the relationship with the customers. Currently, Emirates plans to decentralize the customer care operation of the company so that the customers can get a more quick response from the company and certainly, it helps to strengthen the relationship with the customers.

Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty of Emirates

Customer satisfaction is the main aim of customer care and all the efforts of the organization center around the achievement of customer satisfaction. One research shows that only 20% of the total customers are responsible for 80% of the revenue of the company. Emirates stresses high customer satisfaction by adding more value to the customers. Emirates is treated as one of the highest value non-US airlines in the world and it rated 9 in the 10 scales based on the customer voting.

Name of the Airlines Origin Rating
British Airways Britain 1
Qantas Airways Australia 2
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong 3
Thai Airways Thailand 4
Emirates Dubai 5
Qatar Airways Qatar 6
Singapore Airlines Singapore 7
ANA Japan 8
Malaysia Airlines Malaysia 9
China Airlines Taiwan 10

Table 1: Rating by customer vote.

The following table, it shows the rating of airlines by the customer on the satisfaction with the visit of the airlines. In this rating, one important matter is that customer considers the fare charged by the different airlines as a tool of satisfaction. In the rating, Emirates gets the fifth position and definitely, it is one of the best airlines in Asia and the other two airlines of Asia getting a high position in the table because of the low cost not for the service.

In every step of the processing of the flight like baggage handling, check-in, catering, plane cleaning, etc. Emirates maintain a high quality, which always meets the expectation of the customers. In customer processing through the internet, the participation rate of the customers is also high which helps the company to boost the service up to the expected level. In the way to increase the level of customer satisfaction, Emirates introduce an online survey program for measuring customer satisfaction and it declares the prizes for the participants in the survey.

Program Associated with Customer Care in Emirates

Customer Affair and Service Audit: Emirates airline has the Customer Affair and Service Audit (CASA) department to handle uniquely the problems of the customer and respond to the complaints of the customers. Currently, Emirates decided to decentralize this program from Dubai to another point of the company in different countries to improve the quality of the customer service. Previously the company has four regional offices in America, Europe, Australia, and Indian subcontinents to handle the customers of four different regions.

As an initiative to decentralize these services to the other areas of the world, Emirates extended its CASA operation to Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Osaka, and Tehran. This extension allows Emirates to improve its quality and in Dubai and other areas of the world, its shows 50% improvement in the quality of the service. Now the company can deal with the problem of the customers more effectively and locally which increase the satisfaction level of the customers.

Through this process, the time required for fulfilling the baggage claims was reduced significantly by 66%. A training and development plan for the staff undertake to improve their quality, skill, and knowledge of them and online data warehouse have provided for further improvement in customer handling. CSRA team handles the problem of the customers in a caring manner it solves the problems that are not going to the expected level of the customers.

Emirates also has a service audit team to examine continuously the quality of the services of the company to maintain the high standard of product and service offer to the customers. To evaluate the performance of the customer care staff, the company has a special team named Mystery Shopper Team. This team has the responsibility to measures the performance of the staff and they continuously work on it. The audit team continuously expands its area of operation and in the following year, this team executes 500 audits on the flight of the Emirates, 200 audits on the call center operated around the world, 3 thorough audits in Dubai airport and 100 in the group organization Dnata (Annual Report 2009 of Emirates).

Engineering in Emirates

As a commitment to the customers regarding the quality of the services, Emirates has a large hanger for maintaining its fleets. In addition, this hanger is one of the three largest facilities of the world where the interior design of the plane can change and the refitting of the body is possible. Through this hanger, Emirates already changed its 40 fleets with GSM facilities, which enable the customers to use mobile phones during the flight.

Changing the interiors of a fleet, it requires only forty days including the installation of various in-flight facilities like compound, toilet, entertainment, etc. In the engineering department, the fleets are frequently checked before departure for maximum safety of the customers and it has the facilities to wash the components of the engines. It has huge investments in the engineering sites and all the activities of these departments dedicated to customer safety and entertainment.

Operation of the flights

As an airlines company, flight operation is the most important function of Emirates Airlines. Customer satisfaction mainly depends on the comfort during the flights and Emirates stresses more on this function to get customer loyalty and satisfaction. The flight operation of Emirates is one of the difficult and complex processes in the world as it has numerous flights and a large number of cabin crew and passengers. For reducing the problem of flight runway, the company introduced the Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS) and this system helps to ensure the maximum safety of the passengers during take-on and take-off of the fleets.

To enhance the knowledge of the pilot during the flights, Emirates started Class II electronic flight bags and the LIDO Electronic Charting System. This system allows the pilot to access more information regarding the technical issues to operate safely the flights. Emirates frequently takes the training program for the cabin crew and pilots to understand the common rules and regulations. As part of the environmental regulation, the company reduced substantially the omission of carbon for environmental safety.

Emirates has a Network control system that enables the company to monitor the fleet’s location, performance and flight time in the airport to reduce congestion, flight delay and technical problems. The state of the art technology of the company operated in more than one hundred stations, which is one of the world’s largest operations of the world. Currently, Emirates plans to introduce an integrated system for managing the different operations like Emirates SkyCargo, Crew Control, Flight Dispatch, Maintenance Control, Aircraft Planning, Commercial Operations, Hub Control, Reservations, Dnata Airport Operations, Airport Services Dubai and Outstations, as well as Duty Operations Dubai and Outstations.

Under the same controlling system, the performance of the company will upgrade and it helps Emirates to perform the operation more effectively. With the effective operation, the customer will get the service more promptly without any kind of hassle and the quality of the customer service will improve.

SkyCargo of Emirates

SkyCargo is the wings of Emirates Airlines, which provides cargo services to the customers and almost all of the customers of this service are corporate clients. As a source of good revenue for the company, Emirates gives special focus on this service and during the recession period, this service brings a positive result for the company. To facilitate the cargo handling most effectively, Emirates has the Cargo Mega Terminal, which enables the company to store and operate large sizes of merchandise including the sea-air consignment.

Two hundred additional cool cells in the warehouse improve the storage capacity of the high-temperature sensitive goods. For perishable goods and pharmaceutical items, the company introduced with color cover with gas-permeable porous material that ensures the quality, maximum safety and required temperature of the goods during the transportation cycle. Emirates install the SkyChain 3.0 application for cargo handling that enables the company to restore and more efficiently the transaction data, lifecycle data and real information on time. All the systems of the cargo handling by Emirates are installed to give high-quality service to the customers and obtain high customer satisfaction through delivering the additional values to them.

Leisure and tourism

Like other tourism companies, Emirates has tourism wings beside its general flight’s operation aimed at providing additional service to tourist passengers. Emirates Hotels and Resorts adopted the new technology for facilitating the customers for international reservation, international sales, and global distribution system (Online Travel Book). It allows the customer to book the rooms from any destination of the world online and receives the best service against the payment made by them.

Emirates started its new Harbour Hotel & Residence that committed to provides world-class services to the tourist and during the first year of operation, approximately 70% of the capacity was occupied by the customers (Lazrado, 2009). Another option for the tourist in UAE is Maha Desert Resort & Spa with a top-class spa and other services that were rewarded by the tourist. Emirates started to build the 10-storyed extension of Emirates Holiday building Arabian Adventures Operations Centre with all the facilities like the multi-storeyed car parking, washing bays, etc.

Delivery of Services

Emirates invested a huge amount of money for improving the quality of the service provided to the customers. As part of this investment, Emirates for the first time introduces double Decker A380 aircraft with high passenger capacity and all other facilities that are not available in other aircraft. Emirates started training facilities for the cabin crews that were best suited with the new services to the customers. In the A380f flight, the new facilities like shower spa, fully equipped onboard kitchen, single cabin for the first-class passengers required special attention and skills to handle the customers.

For serving best to the customers, Emirates arrange intensive training for the employees including 22 conversion courses centered on A380f and another 400 courses on emergency and safety procedures of the flights. On average at least 33 courses on different issues related to customer care have been held on every day in a year for the employees in Emirates Airlines. Through a network of information systems KIS (Knowledge-driven Information System), all of the cabin crews are given handheld computers through which they can get information about the chronology of the flights.

During the flights, Emirates provides first-class catering services to the customers for four hours and forty-five minutes. In catering services, passengers have a wide array of food options like South African traditional foods, Indian chickens, Chinese codfish, Scottish peseta breakfast, etc. As part of the upgraded food services, a wide range of foods is also supplied to the airport lounge for the customers.

Services in the Airport

From the customer’s perspective, airport service is an important matter in customer care and most of the customer satisfaction can bring through the high customer service in the airport. As part of giving high value to the customers, Emirates started Terminal 3 in Dubai Airport, which is one of the largest terminals in the world with all exclusive facilities to the customers. This giant terminal is bigger than terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport of London and allows the high performance by the aircraft without any delay in flight schedule. This terminal has added some special facilities for the passengers like a VIP lounge with restrooms, digital playing spots for the children and high-quality food catering services.

Procurement and Logistics: In the process of procurement and logistics, Emirates always focusing on procuring globally the best goods and services that bring high values to the customers and when negotiating with the suppliers it tries to maximize the interest of both parties to ensure the win-win situation. In procuring, the logistics from the supplier’s Emirates always focus on the new and innovative products from the suppliers. For cost minimize and effective procurement the company has a group named P&L with the major responsibilities of selects and negotiates with the suppliers.

Privacy Policy Regarding the Customer Information in Emirates

Emirates has a large data warehouse with a huge number of customer information, which was collected through the website of the company. In this data collection process, there are much personal information and financial information, which are very important and need to protect strictly for preventing the damage of the customers. To protect the data of the customer Emirates has its own privacy policies that comply with the national laws and regulations of the respective country.

The requirements for customer information

Customer enters into the website of the Emirates for receiving service from the company and for getting the services, the customer need to give some information like the name, address, credit card number, etc. This information was gathered for the purpose of the agreement with the company to receive specific services like flight processing, seat reservation and so on. Through registering with the website, the customer enjoys various facilities and for the registration purpose, the company collects the information that can be unsubscribed at any time by the customers. Sometimes Emirates arranges various contests for the customers and through the received information, the company can notify the customers if he or she wins the contest.

The company may use the information for undertaking the various customer satisfaction surveys from time to time and it may also use the information for notifying the customer about the new services and facilities of the company to the customers. For detecting any crime by any person during the flight or in the airport if any, the company uses the information of the customers. Finally, the company can use the information for purely marketing purposes.

Use of personal information

The collected information about the customers used mainly by Emirates airlines for reviewing the customer satisfaction and the level of service provided by the company. If there is any improvement in the service quality and new offerings to the customers, the company may give this knowledge to the customers through the mail or direct call.

The information discloser

The information of the customers gathered by Emirates may disclose to the third party for various purposes. Emirates mainly discloses the information to third-party support service providers like Credit Card Company for data authentication, internet service providers for web page processing, data processing and customer relationship centers. It also provides information to the marketing agencies who provide marketing and promotional service to the company, research organizations that undertake research for service and other development of the company, and various other parties related to the emirates.

During these data transferring process, Emirates maintains strong safeguard, provides only those data required for serving the purpose, and also monitor the uses of the data. Emirates is bound to provide information about a customer or a group of customers to the legal agency of the country or required by the states. If Emirates sells all or substantial amount of its asset to the other company, with the other asset the data is also given to this company. Emirates can provide the data to the immigration authority or any other agency if required by those agencies. Any customers can choose the options not to allow the company to use the information and in such case, the company does not use the information any more (Emirates, 2010).

Customer Consent

Whenever a customer provides information to the company through website, the customer ultimately give his or her consent to the company to use the data on some specific areas. Customer can restrain from giving information to the company through not providing the information through the website or notify the company not to use the given data.

Consent Withdrawals

From the stored information, the marketing teams and agencies of Emirates send various marketing offers to the customer through e-mails and these agencies also can give the option to the customer for withdrawals. If the customer does not want this mail from the company, then they can notify the company or agencies for eliminating the name from the mail list. It will stop the mailing of the company to the specific customers.

Cookies

Cookies is the small text imported in the browser for storing the information from the site. Emirates use cookies for detecting the customers in different location who visit the website. These cookies used to get the information and time of the visits in the website by the customers through the server and not retrieved any information from the hard drives of the customers. According to the Emirates (2010), the customer has the options to close the cookies receive the cookies options.

Recommendation

  • Customer’s valuable information can be misused because of technological improvement or e-marketing processes, for example, hackers are active in hacked multinational companies and security forces. So, Emirates Airlines should always check their security system to avoid any claims and terrorist attacks;
  • As the competition among airlines industry is too high, Emirates Airlines should focus more on its customer care strategy to restore its competitive advantage;
  • The Data warehouse of Emirates helps to store huge amount of data, so all large companies should have this data collection process;
  • Most of the time, Emirates is taking customer consent to use their personal data, but many companies are not concern about consent, so it should stop as it is unethical;
  • The financial position of Emirates Airlines was affected due to recession but it can extend customer care to retain customers;
  • Emirates uses cookies for detecting the customers but Emirates and other companies should avoid cookies, and spam messages.

Conclusion

Emirates is an excellent service provider in the airline industry and the customers of the company positively rated the company for delivering high value to the customers. Emirates maintains a strong relationship with the customer through various physical and online systems.

The company continuously upgrades its service to the customer by focusing on the different functional areas. Emirates already fully automated all of its operations from customer handling to flight operation. The customer can make contact with the company and book the plane ticket from any destination of the world through the internet. Besides this, there are numbers of networks and decentralization of operation to provide more services to the customers from the physical location. Customers are also satisfied with the commitment of the company to its customers.

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Footnotes

  1. Supply Chain Management.
  2. Enterprise Resource Planning.
  3. CRM.
  4. Supply Chain Management.
  5. Enterprise Resource Planning.

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