Customer Service of British Airways

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Changing British Airways

British Airways (BA) had faced many issues before to their comeback that had the power to to cause this airline to go bankrupt. There was financial performance, customer service, and their image within the marketplace also played a large role in the decline of British Airways. There was the focus of the company just getting the plane in the air and getting people to their destination in a timely manner which does not seem to be the plan in any company. This behavior left not room for gaining profits, employee relations, customer’s concerns and finally production. “People were operating effectively, just not efficiently” (Sabo, 2017). With many factors to include but not limited to as the developed of a survival plan, making the image of the airlines different, providing training to the airline and finally better customer service, British Airways was in fact able to come back from near extinction to one of the industry’s outstanding airlines.


The case of British Airways relates to the “Re-energizing the Mature Organization” due to the stages that companies can take for effective transformation within their own organizations. Even though British Airways was in fact on a downward spiral which was leading to bankruptcy there was a need to change. “This need to understand and manage change is salient, particularly for mature firms where the long established norms of stability and security must be replaced with new values, such as speed simplicity, unparalleled customer service, and a self-confident, empowered work force” (p.37). Seasoned companies such as British Airlines must re-energize itself to remain competitive in a very competitive environment. British Airways was facing a cycle known as the maturity stage. “The maturity stage is the primary focus for most companies will be maintaining their market share in the face of several different challenges.” (n.a., 2017)

During the maturity stage staff can become complacent which in any organization causes major problems. What is required is the changing of the mindset of people within the organization on all levels remains one of the greatest hurdles in overcoming renewal change (p.39). Chief Executive Colin Marshall had made it a mission of revamping customer service within British Airways to make the outcome more beneficial for the company. Through the “Putting People First program”, employees began to feel respected and was able to see the impact that Marshall’s mission was having on the company. “Attendees were encouraged to take a more positive attitude to themselves, taught how to set personal goals and cope with stress and instructed in confidence building “(Gollins, 2017). Switching the mindset of the staff from complacency to a more interactive one was the crucial piece within British Airways to get itself out of the downward spiral that it had been in the past. Team work was a very important factor in bringing British Airways around.

The Old Life

There was a division within British Airways old life which seemed to divide the organization and because of this, there was a concern for both staff issues and profits from the organization. Though two airlines were brought together there was still the fact of separation of each having its own executive staff which included a chairman, board-members, and a chief executive. This division within the organization created frustration, plus arguments between the executive staff and the employees. An image was evident and “success had less to do with net income and more to do with flying the British flag” (Sabo, 2017). Neglecting the company brought out an increase of inefficiencies and due to this ineffectiveness made the mind-set of the employees to disregard the need for change. This seemed to portray the “come to work and not care”. There was alsp the problem of productivity decreasing to a point which was less important and because of this the decline in satisfied customers became a concern and only assisted in the downward spiral of British Airways.

Key Factors

Watts and King implemented a Survival plan for British Airways which was “to stem the spiraling loses and save the airlines from bankruptcy (p.29). This plan revolved the reducing of staff members, putting a hold on any pay raises, and decommissioning routes that were not profitable for British Airways. King put all his attention into the changing of the image British Airlines. British Airways then launched the “Manhattan Landing” campaign sowing the seeds for achieving its vision of becoming the world’s favorite airline. Finally, he recruited a new CEO whose specialty and focus were on customer service. This was one of the important strategies in accomplishing the vision. British Airways management started communicating its vision by sending out personal invitations to gather employees so that they could tune in to the inaugural of its “Manhattan Landing” advertisement campaign.

Other key factors for the turnaround of British Airways success relied on Colin Marshall, Chief Executive. “Marshall made customer service a personal crusade from the day he entered BA” (p. 30). Marshall brought with him two tremendous advantages. First, he understood customer service, and second, he had worked with a set of customers like the airline segment. Thus, based on eight-step model, Marshall built a successful turnaround team of individuals who were powerful in terms of title, information and expertise, relationship and reputations.


Customer service was in everything that Marshall did with regards to the involvement of British Airways. He aided in the birth of customer service where he served as a role model in the terminals as well as spending time with his staff to expand their knowledge base. These two steps aided him in changing the culture at British Airways. “Passengers usually respond with appreciation when smiling airline employees demonstrate that they will put the customer first and, if necessary, go above and beyond their job description to ensure total customer satisfaction” (n.a., 2017). Customer Service remains key in the success of any organization and because of Marshall’s crusade, he aided in helping the airlines become profitable. His mantra was customer service, learnt in the competitive car rental business in the US and Europe.

Re Do’s

Customer service served as one of the main elements which allowed for the turnaround of British Airways. Knowing now the impact that Marshall had on British Airways, Watts and King could have brought Marshall on staff sooner than they did which could have avoided so many problems within British Airways. Though the cutting of staff was in fact needed, they might have been able to keep more staff on board through Marshalls’ cultural training for staff members. British Airways was able to see the morale change after he integrated his programs, and because of this could have aided the company early on its declining stages. Next, King should have brought on staff sooner to help with productivity. Businesses have one job: making money. Making a profit is the thing they’re required by law to do. At the end of the day, if a process or product doesn’t benefit the financial bottom line, it needs to change.


  1. Gollin, D. (17 January 2017). “Did British Airways Make One Cut Too Many?” Big Business Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/douggollan/2017/01/18/did-british-airways-make-one-cut-too-many/#104ec4a94713
  2. n.a., 2017 Product of Life Cycle Stages, Retrieved from: http://productlifecyclestages.com/product-life-cycle-stages/maturity/
  3. Sabo, S. (2017) Effective is Not the Same as Efficient, Life Hack Retrieved from: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/effective-is-not-the-same-as-efficient.html

Cite this paper

Customer Service of British Airways. (2021, Sep 29). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/customer-service-of-british-airways/



Are calls to British Airways free?
No, calls to British Airways are not free. You will be charged a standard rate for the duration of the call.
Can I get a refund from British Airways?
Yes, you can get a refund from British Airways. You can also get a refund if you cancel your flight.
What time does British Airways customer service close?
British Airways customer service is available 24 hours a day.
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