Service Management: Training on Communication and Soft Skills

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Service and maintenance have become familiar concepts for any activity since the goal of most companies are to provide comfort to the population and meet their needs. In the Cathay Pacific Airways case at hand, the problem arises of a mismatch between consumer expectations and the service provided by the airline. Instead of the expected warm welcome, customers are faced with mechanized personnel with requirements to meet the standard of service. There is a conflict of interest: despite good reviews, the company’s vision of service does not meet passenger demands (Simanijuntak et al., 2020). It results from the inadequate strategy of airline service managers; they did not consider the development in interpersonal communication of flight attendants. Unfortunately, service satisfaction problems often stem from the inability of both employees and managers to provide feedback to customers and consider their wishes properly.

History of the Company

Cathay Pacific Airways is an airline based in Hong Kong with many scheduled flights to nearly 100 destinations. The company has many aircraft: mainly Airbuses A and several Boeing 770s. The company was formed in 1946, initially flying only to Singapore, Manila, and Bangkok. Gradually, Cathay Pacific Airways has increased its fleet and evolved with technology. In the 1990s, the airline acquired Dragonair shares and began to replace the fleet. In 2001 there was a conflict – case 49, which began because of demands to make unscheduled flights. The fired pilots fought against Cathay Pacific Airways for ten years, and in 2012, the court found the company guilty. The company suffered during the 2008 crisis but quickly recovered by locking in paper profits. The International Airlines Group has the highest revenue and large passenger flow that make it a competitor. In addition, the government-owned Air China, a member of the oldest airline alliance, Star Alliance, raises concerns. Another national competitor is Singapore Airlines, a member of the coalition.

Training Programs

Needs Assessment Tools & Methodology

Various organizational development tools related to the social and ethical components of the company can be used to assess the needs of Cathay Pacific Airways. For example, SWOT analysis allows one to analyze the weaknesses and strengths in customer service. It will determine why the service is recognized as “robotic” and not warm enough. The analysis result is a list of needs with a certain number of points according to the developed scale. One can then develop criteria to assess the possibility of doubling the condition and its ways.

A needs assessment methodology can consist of several large blocks: using current performance measures, consulting with participants, and involving a third party for the assessment. Initially, managers observe why high levels of satisfaction have not been achieved: lack of communication with customers, lack of interest, and motivation. Then there are discussions with flight attendants and customers: surveys can effectively identify weaknesses. Finally, it is advisable to invite a service specialist who will provide a third-party assessment of the company’s current situation.

Types of Training: Communication & Soft Skills

The work of flight attendants is inextricably linked to communication: soft skills should be at the forefront of the training. Exceptional service requires a change in corporate culture and perhaps a change of cousin to more customer-centricity (LaBelle & Waldeck, 2020). Soft skills can be developed through role-playing and various lectures on communication, teamwork, and adaptation principles. It would be helpful to conduct a few training sessions to refresh knowledge and skills: managers can assess whether the flight attendant correctly uses the prescribed instructions (Dean & East, 2019). At the same time, professional development and service leadership incentives would be excellent companions in improving the quality of service.

Changing in Training Programs

Training programs should be reviewed after the company’s needs have been assessed. Innovation and collaboration are integral to the development and growth of companies, so the corporate principles of vision and motivation used in training should be changed. Instructors may not be motivated enough to teach service in a new light because the company’s weak strategic goals do not justify the cost. Consequently, flight attendants are less interested in improving service skills if they know that mechanical service is enough.

New principles of positive psychology and motivation should be incorporated into training programs. Management should review and adjust the adherence to the company’s corporate culture, paying attention to what kind of goals it uses. In addition, it will be helpful to create incentive-based service ratings, laying out new ways to evaluate performance in the service organization. Recent information and educational technology trends can be monitored to keep up with innovation. The collaboration will grow if instructors set up feedback from flight attendants and management.

Additional Concepts

Communication disruption and lack of regulation of the situation on board are two other concepts with which company and customer conflicts of interest are. Communication disruption arises from a lack of attention to customer issues during flight. The lack of ways to screen flight attendants also does not fully assess why service is insufficiently lukewarm. To evaluate whether the employees’ interests are disruptive to the service and interfere with customer communication.

Human Resource and Society Connections

Staff training and development are essential business components that need close attention. Conflicts are reduced by having highly trained staff who can quickly solve difficulties and make the customer feel welcome. The principles of learning and development practice seem to be the most necessary elements of this course. How educational programs, companies, and client needs are assessed allows for the proper shaping of future service perspectives. For businesses, instructional managers are needed to build a base of promising and motivated employees willing to work for the company. Organizations with qualified professionals will invariably have a high status and rating among clients. Having strategic goals with these employees will be reflected in the community because, in this way, organizations can influence the community in the right direction.


Dean, S. A. & East, J. I. (2019). Soft skills needed for the 21st-century workforce. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 18(1), 17-32.

LaBelle, S., & Waldeck, J. H. (2020). Communication ethics. In Strategic communication for organizations (1st ed., pp. 91–116). University of California Press.

Simanijuntak, M., Putri, N. E., Yuliati, L. N. & Sabri, M. F. (2020). Enhancing customer retention using customer relationship management approach in car loan business. Cogent Business & Management, 7(1). Web.

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