United Airlines provides the air transportation services in United States particularly in North America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Latin America. This service takes people and the cargo both from one destination to another via main and regional operations (Craft, 2018). In the year 2017, the firm operated with the fleet of 2160 aircrafts approximately and 4500 flights per day to 337 airports all over five continents. The firm also supplied fuel and offer services like catering, ground handling and also the maintenance of the services of the third parties. This firm was incepted in the year 1934 and the headquarters of the firm is in Chicago, Illinois. It actually is a subsidiary firm of the United Continental Holdings Inc. (United, 2018). This airline firm have in reality dealt with the huge number of publicized customer services incidents failures since past few years. This firm have hurt its customers, threatened them and also abused them and their pets in past. But the major incident service failure happened in the year 2017 April when it dragged the passenger off an overbooked flight. This really was their mistake but still they abuse the passenger and harassed him.
In the year 2017, 9th April, United Airlines actually wanted to bump 4 passengers in one of their flights form O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky. The basic goal was to actually make the room for four United employees who were travelling with them. For doing that, the airlines actually offered the compensation of 400 dollars in the flight as vouchers and then when there were no takers, it also doubled the amount. Still there were no takers of this compensation as everybody wanted to fly because it was the last flight of the day and everybody had their own personal reasons (Bankova, 2018). At last four of the passengers were chosen to be bumped but those passengers were not voluntarily ready for that. Out of those four, three of them actually complied but the fourth passenger whose name was DR. David Dao of Louisville actually refused as he said that he has to be at work at the hospital the very next day. At last the security of the Airport was called and Mr. Dao was hit and armrest at the time of struggle to unboard the plane (Mostert & Rensburg, 2011). He literally has blood coming out of his mouth and was unconscious. All the other passengers took the videos and pictures of the incident and that incident of service failure got viral. The CEO of the firm Oscar Munoz called this incident as the “re-accommodating the passengers”. The CEO himself said that the passenger was aggressive and disruptive. Later, they realize the mistake when their image got really down in front of their customers and they agreed that they made a mistake and that this incident would never happen again.
Service Recovery Strategy and Recommendation
Recovery service is something which is referred to the action which is taken by any firm when facing the eventualities of the failures of their services provided to any of the customers (Díaz, 2017). Bitner in the year 1990 and Hoffman in the year 1998, founded the three categories of the service failures. They are:
- Service System Failure: This category of incidents happens in the core services that is inclusive of the defects in the products like food is cold, soggy etc. or slow services and the services which are unavailable or unfriendly facilities policies for the customers.
- Implicit or explicit customer requests: This happens when majorly the requests of the consumers are not complied according to the needs of the customers. Per say seating smokers in the non-smokers section or reservations getting lost etc.(Lee, 2018).
- Unprompted and unsolicited Employee Actions: This involves the behaviour of the staff which is literally not acceptable to the guests or the customers such as rudeness, attitude which is really bad, wrong deliveries or faulty services, incorrect charges such as charging the customers for what they did not even order(Dutta, et al., 2007).
There are some of the recovery strategies which United Airlines and other similar incident sufferer can use for coming out of the failures. They are as follows:
- Encouraging Feedbacks: For understanding the customers well, the researchers reveal that 90% of the consumers will never return if they have had a poor or a bad experience with the service provider. It is all about the first impression sometimes. It is also found out that only 4% of the consumers would actually take out time to complaint for the service they have tried and experienced. There is very minute gap in making the customers actually file their complaint and letting them go. The Airlines also could use this strategy in opening the opportunities for the customers to file their complaints and give feedbacks so that the customers feel they the airlines are genuinely interested in knowing what their customers think and need(Koc, 2017).
- It has been found out that if the firm have actually worked in their favour once they filed the complaint or had poor experience, then only the customers would be ready to work with that firm again. It happens with the 70% of the customers. The agents or the service providers should be clearly communicated about the rules that they can use in order to get the customer in their domain again.
- It has been heard most of the times that the complaint is a gift from the customer. Instead the firm can take it in a negative way as well. If there are complaints from the customers that means the firm has done at least something to piss the customer off. Hence, the complaints should be monitored in a manageable way and also the firm should make a point to respond to the biggest failures online. Confessing in front of millions of people or in public can make huge difference in the mentality of the customers and there are high chances that they would likely come back to the product or services(Sumaco & Hussain, 2011).
- It is always said that communication is the best way to solve any issue. Similarly, when there has been a big mistake done by the service provider with their customers, the firm should communicate with its customers and apologise in public. This way the loop of all the previous issues they have been having with the customers can be closed.
- In case of there has been a flaw by the company, it should be vocal about it as well as it should be honest about the fact that the mistake was done from the side of the firm. Sometimes all a firm can do is to give compensation to the sufferer of the services. Compensation is also one of the strategies which most of the companies use to at least make up to the customer yet this should not just the only strategy which should be used(Gichira, et al., 2015). Compassion and empathy is also needed in order to gain the trust of the customers again.
- The United Airlines should definitely take care of the number of seats they have allocated prior to the day when the flight is going to take off. This way in case of any breach in delivering the seats to their passengers would not happen. United Airlines did this mistake due to which there were four passengers who have to comply with their flight schedules and one of them had to suffer the abuse as well(Ray, et al., 2018).
- It is always said that customers come first. Hence, behaving badly with any of the customer is not going to take the firm or service provider anywhere in future in terms of the growth. United Airline security guards literally manhandled Mr. Dao who was a loyal customer of this airline services and did not have any mistake in this scenario. This is the worst attitude and behaviour which a customer can have from such a reputed firm. This should never happen in future.
This report focusses on the firm named as United Airlines which was incepted in Chicago decades ago and had a very good reputation in the eyes of its customers until one incident of a customer abuse took place. This was the incident which really got the customers in doubt about taking the services again from the same airlines firm. The detailed case study is done about the service delivery failure is discussed in this report. There are some of the strategies of recovery which the company should have used in order to come out of this fault which was done by the company solely. There are some recommendations too which definitely can be taken by United Airlines in order to not get into so much trouble next time. In the conclusion, it can be said that the customer is one of the most important element of any business. Hence, customers should be treated with respect in any case.
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