General Civil Aviation Authority’s Customer Satisfaction

Introduction

The organization under analysis in this paper is the UAE-based company the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) that regulates the aviation-related operations and activities that take place in the UAE and neighboring countries (GCAA, 2009). The major departments that constitute the GCAA as an organization include the departments of Licensing and Aeromedical Operations, Safety, Security and Flight Operations, and Airworthiness (GCAA, 2009). The recently observed organizational issues in the company have resulted in the start of the restructuring process aimed at improving and developing the customer satisfaction. The major focus of the process is to reform the customer-related activities and improve the levels of overall customer satisfaction in GCAA’s activities. The recent step taken by GCAA in the process of corporate restructuring is the establishment of the Strategic Planning and Corporate Excellence department responsible for customer satisfaction and relations between the company and its customers, customer care, and involvement of customers as the company’s key stakeholders, into decision-making process.

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Purpose of the Research

The major problem of the organization analyzed in this paper, GCAA, is the low levels of customer satisfaction and lack of means to control and improve this factor of the organizational performance (GCAA, 2009). The minor components of this problem include the impossibility for the company’s customers to contribute to the decision-making or file a complaint about the insufficient and low-quality services received. As well, GCAA’s employees lack education and qualification to handle the problem (GCAA, 2009). Finally, two above problems integrate into one more issue – customer queues and inability of the front desk employees to answer the customers’ calls timely and professionally. Thus, the customer satisfaction issue can be summarized as consisting of:

  • insufficient customer suggestions’ and complaints’ consideration;
  • lack of employees’ qualification to handle this concerns;
  • insufficient interdepartmental communication in GCAA;
  • low levels of customer satisfaction in GCAA’s services (GCAA, 2009).

Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to consider the major organizational issues of GCAA and to recommend certain solutions.

Methodology

The research under consideration will be a qualitative one, so it will resort to the use of the qualitative methodology that would include the creation of the timeline for the work (Figure 1), study of the relevant literature on the topic of customer satisfaction and customer care management, surveys of customers’ and employees’ opinions on the issue, and comparison of the GCAA data to the information collected about other UAE-based companies working in the aviation sphere. As well, SWOT Analysis of GCAA’s position in the market, creating the reports for the research results, making conclusions and offering the respective recommendations to GCAA will be included.

GCAA Organizational Analysis

Corporate Mission and Vision

Thus, to understand the nature of the GCAA’s organizational problem better and deeper it is necessary to consider the company’s values, mission and vision, organizational structure, culture, and leadership. Accordingly, the corporate vision of CGAA is to be the leader of the local and international civil aviation sector. The mission of GCAA is focused on the need to develop the aviation industry in the United Arab Emirates using various improvements for this purpose (GCAA, 2009). Among those improvements there are initiatives to structure the aviation rules and regulations applied in UAE and neighboring countries, safety levels observed in UAE aviation and security policies implemented (GCAA, 2009).

Strategic Plan Directions

According to the official corporate web site of GCAA (2009), the major direction of the strategic planning the company adopts and is currently developing is updating of the company’s services and provision of the most professional and qualified civil aviation services to the company’s customers (GCAA, 2009). As well, GCAA views the involvement of international investment and technological experience into the UAE civil aviation as one of the preferred directions of the strategic developments (GCAA, 2009).

Accompanied by the overall comprehensive educational updating of the knowledge and skills of the civil aviation workers, this strategic initiative is capable of making the UAE aviation companies into one of the major competitors in the international aviation industry (GCAA, 2009). Finally, GCAA views the assurance of security and safety of the civil aviation as one of the major goals in its strategic development. Combined with the organizational mission and vision, these strategic developmental plans can allow GCAA to develop further and achieve its goals.

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Short- and Long-Term Objectives

Based on the data presented above and on the information obtained from the corporate web site of GCAA, the company has its strategic short- and long-term goals established in order to follow the strategic planning directions discussed above. Thus, the short-term objectives that GCAA works on are:

  • update GCAA organizational structure and policies according to international standards;
  • increase the degree of industrialization in UAE civil aviation;
  • carry out educational work that would enable GCAA employees to pursue modern international quality standards in their work and achieve the desired levels of civil aviation efficiency as one of the company’s long-term objectives (GCAA, 2009).

The long-term objectives that GCAA pursues include making the UAE civil aviation more effective and attractive for customers and introduce UAE civil aviation on the whole and GCAA in particular as important and influential players in the international civil aviation industry (GCAA, 2009). As well, GCAA aims at improving safety of the UAE civil aviation and at developing its own organizational structure and culture (GCAA, 2009).

Products and Services

Needless to say, GCAA, as well as any other company, offers a wide range of products and services in its specific area of operation. Thus, GCAA offers services in establishing contacts between civil aviation and meteorological companies to ensure safety of aviation (GCAA, 2009). As well, GCAA provides regulation services related to departure and landing procedures, cargo and mail transportation via the means of civil aviation (GCAA, 2009). Accordingly, the services provided by GCAA range from legal aspects of civil aviation to purely technical side of this industry and can be represented in the following list:

  • ANS Regulations;
  • Safety and Security;
  • Airworthiness;
  • E-Publication;
  • GCAA Training;
  • Flight Operation (GCAA, 2009).

Leadership

The leadership observed in GCAA can be referred to as the cooperative one as far as the higher levels of the company’s organizational structure (discussed below) involve the lower levels of this structure to the processes of strategic planning, development, and decision-making, and none of the organizational levels of GCAA possesses the exclusive decisive power under which all other opinions become irrelevant (Mills, 2002, pp. 11 – 12). The leadership of the company under analysis is represented by the two highest organizational levels, i. e. the Board of Directors and the Director General Saif Alsuwaidi (GCAA, 2009).

Organizational Structure

The company’s organizational structure as such can also be viewed as one of the drivers for the customer satisfaction issue. Although GCAA’s organizational structure is the mixture of the vertical and horizontal division of duties and obligations in the working process, it is only recently that the lacking department of customer care and corporate excellence has been added to this structure. Until recently, the organizational structure of GCAA could be characterized as too single-sided.

In other words, the attention paid to the internal affairs exceeded drastically the consideration that was given to external, i. e. customer-related policies (GCAA, 2009).

Organizational Culture

Accordingly, the organizational structure of GCAA combined with the above discussed corporate mission, vision, and strategic planning objectives serve as the embodiment of the corporate culture on GCAA. The major values of the company include transparency, high quality of services provided, respect to GCAA employees and customers (GCAA, 2009). Therefore, the corporate culture is focused on the concepts of team work, motivation, and value attributed to customers. The recently observed process of the corporate restructuring is also a result of understanding the fact that the company’s organizational culture does not match with it structure. In any case, as Mills (2002, p. 21) argues, when company – customer relations experience problems it is always the matter of corporate culture, so it is one of the areas in need of improvement.

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Analysis of Organizational Resources and Capabilities

Tangible Resources

The tangible resources of any company, as Mills (2002) argues, include all the physically observable or practically used assets of the company including its premises, buildings, employees, financial capital, and equipment (p. 19). In GCAA, tangible resources include the company’s buildings and equipment, employees and financial assets, as well as exclusive licenses that the company has obtained from the UAE Government to carry out negotiations and settle legislative, financial, and technical disputes regarding civil aviation (GCAA, 2009).

Intangible Resources

The intangible resources, according to Mills (2002), include the non-material assets of the company that are mainly measured in skills, experience, and professional qualifications of the senior management and the company’s employees (p. 19). Accordingly, the GCAA possesses considerable intangible resources as far as its employees are highly qualified professionals and their skills are constantly updated during educational procedures that GCAA provides for its workers. The experience of the organization as a whole and its employees in particular is also an intangible resource that GCAA possesses (GCAA, 2009).

Core Competencies and Sustainable Advantages

The major, or core, competencies of the company under analysis include its rich experience in the area of civil aviation and the profound skills that the professionals at GCAA possess and use in their work. The main sustainable advantages that GCAA displays include the exclusively favorable position of the company in the civil aviation industries of the UAE and the Gulf region, the governmental support of GCAA, and the considerable customer base formed during the years of effective GCAA work. As well, proper organizational structure and the ambitions to expand internationally add to the list of the sustainable advantages of the GCAA Company.

Existing Problems Assessment

Process Analysis

Thus, the above mentioned problem faced by GCAA is the low levels of customer satisfaction in the company’s services. The details of the problem include the very process of the company’s operation and the necessary improvements that might, and need to, be done. So, the major drivers of the low customer satisfaction in GCAA services are the low speed of service and the lack of qualified personnel to timely and properly handle the telephone and online applications for GCAA help. While trying to place a request for GCAA work, customers often have to wait in long queues, experience the lack of attention to their concerns, and leave the office with dissatisfaction and anxiety.

  1. Conduct the interviews and questionnaire surveys with GCAA customers in order to find out the actual satisfaction levels among the domestic and international customers of the company.
  2. Develop and analyze the Risk Analysis Matrix, synthesize its findings, and present in a form of the results report.

Existing Organizational Constraints and Problems

Thus, drawing from the above data, it is obvious that the current situation in GCAA is associated with two major problems that include the risk of the further development of the customer dissatisfaction and the risk of the damage to the company’s organizational structure as a result of the former process (GCAA, 2009). At the same time, the damage to GCAA corporate structure might also serve as the catalyst for the further customer dissatisfaction in GCAA’s services.

In more detail, the low levels of customer satisfaction constitute the major organizational problem for GCAA. Customers leave the company’s offices dissatisfied with the quality of service, with the long time they have to spend in queues and waiting for their calls to be accepted by the GCAA officials. This corporate problem demands urgent solution as far as it is characterized by the high risk of developing and affecting other areas of the GCAA organizational structure (GCAA, 2009).

One of the areas that might be affected by the continuing customer dissatisfaction growth, or might be the cause of the latter if viewed under a different angle, is the damage the corporate structure might suffer from it. In other words, currently customers are treated as the major value for GCAA, but observing the lack of positive feedback from the customer the organizational motivation might be damaged resulting in the reduction of corporate culture and the risk of the subsequent continuing customer dissatisfaction (GCAA, 2009). Accordingly, further assessment and solution are needed for the two above discussed problems.

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Risk Analysis Matrix

The Risk Analysis Matrix presents a useful tool of risk analysis based on the assessment of the likelihood and risk of happening of a certain risky event in the course of the company’s development (Level of Risk, 2009). The two scales observed in the matrix include the likelihood and the consequences of the risk happening. The likelihood is graded from rare and unlikely to possible, likely, and almost certain. The range of the consequences includes insignificant, minor, moderate, major, and catastrophic ones. Finally, there are four types of risks including the extreme risk (marked by letter E), high risk (H), moderate risk (M), and low risk (L) (Figure 4):

Thus, it is obvious that the customer satisfaction problem has two major risks for GCAA. The first risk that falls into the group of the risks likely to happen and whose consequences will be catastrophic for GCAA is the risk that customer satisfaction will keep reducing, which will lead to the loss of the extensive customer base of GCAA. The second risk is that customer dissatisfaction, as caused by improper organizational structure, night further damage the structure provided no steps are taken. This risk is likely to happen and it is major in its potential consequences.

Key Stakeholders Involved

Needless to say, the solution of every organizational problem should involve the participation of all the key stakeholders of the company, especially in case if the issues discussed are to affect those stakeholders directly. According to Alpha News (2009), the key stakeholders of any company include the management and the board of directors of this company, the employees and the investors of the company, its partners, and of course its customers (Alpha News, 2009; Mills, 2002, p. 28). In the case with GCAA, the organizational structure of the company and its relations with the customers are affected, so the key stakeholders that are involved in the search for problem solution are the company’s management and the Board of Directors, investors, and the customers.

The most difficult point here is that customers can be directly affected by the issues of the GCAA organizational structure damage, but they cannot directly participate in the solution of this issue. Neither can they contribute to the solution of another problem, which is the low level of customer satisfaction observed in GCAA. The paradox of the situation is that one of the key stakeholders involved in an organizational problem cannot directly participate in solving this problem. Given the above discussed risks of the customer satisfaction issue, it is in fact necessary for GCAA to find solution for this problem.

Impact on Organizational Objectives and Performance

The above discussed issues have two major ways to affect the organizational objectives and performance of GCAA. The first way is the actual meaning that these issues, and their solutions, might have on GCAA organizational objectives, both short- and long-term, and on the performance of the organization. The second point is the needed measures that should be taken by GCAA is respect of the risk levels demonstrated by the Risk Analysis Matrix.

Concerning the first aspect, the lack of customer satisfaction affects GCAA greatly as far as the company positions itself as a customer-oriented organization, whose success depends upon its image and reputation among the customers. Therefore, GCAA might be damaged by the currently observed customer dissatisfaction by its services. The organizational objectives might also be changed as without the loyal customer base GCAA will fail in achieving its strategic objectives and will display negative results in its overall performance. Decrease of customer satisfaction means decrease of profit, and the latter is the first marker of the fact that the company’s financial and developmental projections will face changes due to the insufficient funding.

Therefore, to solve the issues of customer dissatisfaction and its potential influence upon GCAA organizational structure, it is necessary to use the implications of the Risk Analysis Matrix. According to Level of Risk (2009), the extreme risk level requires the detailed action plan to be considered, while the high risk involves special attention to be paid by the company’s senior management. As the two major organizational constraints fall into the extreme and high risk categories, the best solutions for them will be the increased management attention to the problem resulting in the development of the detailed and focused action plan for customer satisfaction increase.

Conclusions

The above presented discussion and the analysis of the GCAA organizational structure and problems faced by the company allows drawing the following conclusion. GCAA is a dominant service provider in the UAE civil aviation industry. The mission and vision of the company value transparency, team work, and respect to the customers most of all. GCAA’s goals include further civil aviation development, internationalization, and industrialization. At the same time, GCAA faces a serious issue of the low levels of customer satisfaction in its services, which might also affect the development of the company’s corporate structure and culture. Assessed through the Risk Analysis Matrix, the above issues present a serious threat to GCAA and demand urgent and focused solutions. The latter should involve all key stakeholders of the company as far as the issues observed might affect the management of GCAA, as well as the company’s investors, partners, and customers.

Recommendations

Based on the above presented considerations, to solve the customer satisfaction issues observed in GCAA, the company should implement the more customer-friendly approach to handling its operations. In more detail, GCAA should provide its customers with easily accessible opportunity to communicate their feedback to the company. As well, GCAA should make the process of handling the customer ideas in a faster way so that not to form queues which serve as the major reason for customer dissatisfaction. Finally, the establishment of the Strategic Planning and Corporate Excellence department is only one of the steps that GCAA should take regarding its organizational structure, and the next steps in this area should focus on creating customer-care groups and educating the current GCAA’s employees for the purpose of speeding up the operations of the company.

References

Alpha News. IT Hardware, Networking & Customized Software Solutions for the Offices of GCAA. Alpha, 2006. Web.

GCAA. Aviation Safety and Security. Official Web Site of the GCAA, 2009. Web.

Level of Risk. Qualitative Risk Analysis Matrix. Government Finance, 2009. Web.

Mills, John et al. “Competing through Competences.” Strategy and Performance 9.13(2002): 9 – 28.

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