Qantas Airways has established a reputation for itself in the highly competitive airlines industry. It has also survived the test of time by being a long time player in the Asia-Pacific regional market. Behind this success are valued marketing and service practices. Even a cursory analysis of Qantas’ business processes indicate how the company has followed the 7P’s of service marketing, especially those of People, Processes and Physical facilities. The rest of the essay will elaborate how the company had applied these principles and where it can still improve.
It is already said oftentimes that human resources are the backbone of services companies. However clichéd this maxim is, it yet remains true. Since the staff and crew of Qantas are direct points of contact for customers, they virtually serve as the face of the company. Behind Qantas’ steady rise within the airlines market are robust processes of provisioning, recruitment and training of its staff. What is different about the company is how it applies same levels of scrutiny in selecting business partners as well. For instance, for nearly six decades, Qantas has hired the best advertisement professionals to design its marketing campaigns. The Koala Ads, which were introduced in the 1960s have attained an iconic status in the whole history of advertising. Likewise, Peter Allen’s famous chorus ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ was adapted as a theme song for the company. These choices and partnerships reveal how Qantas has combined national pride with commerce. Sponsorship of several Australian rugby teams over the years is another mark of the company’s patriotism. The company’s service marketing personnel are expected to approach work with the same sense of patriotism and pride.
Qantas staff have always displayed sound knowledge of both company policy as well as customer needs. Every ticket booked is a demonstration of how to balance these two requirements. Where Qantas has excelled is in making people contact a personalized experience for customers. This is in contrast to the often mechanical and superficial service interaction witnessed in some competitors. Qantas’ respect and understanding of the human touch is best exemplified by its policy of supporting Aborigine causes, including that of their fair representation within the employee rolls.
In terms of Qantas’ business processes, they are well integrated and show refinement. At the heart of their processes is an element of anticipation. Qantas prides itself for being able to stay ahead of the curve rather than reacting after the fact. The processes at place have in-built forecasting and projection tools which identify future consumption trends. The service marketing team takes up these leads and creates or modifies services accordingly. Given the pan-Continental operations of Qantas, a fine mix of localization and globalization of marketing strategies had been adopted. Qantas has been able to strike this balance as its service marketing operations are always consistent with the core philosophy of the firm, namely, “You are the reason why we fly”.
Physical facilities continue to play an important role in Qantas’ service marketing culture. This is against the backdrop of a growing share of Internet-based ticketing transactions. The governing philosophy of Qantas’ service marketing indicates that the actual consumer experience in-flight is the best marketing event. Accordingly, the physical ambience within the confines of the flight is given great importance, including the décor, ease of use of accessories, degree of mobility, quality and display of cutlery and food, the choice of color and design of uniform for the flight crew, etc. In fact, the recently unveiled new black-red-pink uniform is an attempt to add color and vibrancy to the environs. Further, Qantas has one of the most sophisticated in-flight entertainment systems in each of its aircrafts. The state-of-the-art individual consoles are installed with Total Entertainment System software, which gives commuters a one of a kind digital entertainment experience. All these are tangible evidence for high standards of service delivery. Customers, having thus experienced the service firsthand, not only stay loyal to the brand, but also take up its promotion voluntarily through word-of-mouth.
In conclusion, Qantas Airlines’ service marketing mix is quite solid. It addresses all the imperatives of service marketing by balancing people, process and physical elements of marketing. In light of such an impressive record one finds it hard to make recommendations. Perhaps the company can look to fine tune its existing service marketing practices and aim to perfect them. In this regard, Qantas’ own benchmarks serve as its reference points for excellence.
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