British Airways Needs To Fasten its Reputation

The long standing tussle between British Airways’ and the trade union Unite’s seems to be a never ending affair with no sign of breakthrough. BA’s Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, is been criticized for his tough stance on cabin crew travel issue and for his relentless refusal to allow peace a chance. Though he claims the strike action by cabin crew is “a failure”. On the other hand Unite Union Chief, is reported to have flown out of UK with his family for vacation at this hour of crisis. So all this drama gives this  general feeling of a unholy nexus between the BA and Unite chief.

Traveling by BA is skeptical and may effect your itinerary or even expect a particular flight is canceled. Passengers are even cautioned to counter-check refund and re-booking options and also advised to look at other flights.

As this drama continues the brand BA has taken a huge beating besides losing customer’s faith. Though they announced about having proper back-ups in place and will operate additional flights to keep up with the demand, but, will this help BA as a company that is concerned about its employee and customers.

The U K’s flagship carrier, once the pride of UK had set a standard for quality, style and service. They even claimed to be “The World’s Favorite Airline”. Let’s face it; BA is undergoing a crisis management so they should now concentrate on how to bring back that old faith the quality, integrity and operation.

Reputation Management finds Google search queries suggest “BA Strike” as first. Better late than never they will need to do some brainstorming to get out-off troubled waters to salvage their reputation both online and offline, after all every second passenger hits the Internet to see whats cooking

BA strike returns – Ballot today!

A possible strike is in waiting for British Airways as the second ballot results of its 13,000 cabin crew members is to be announced shortly. After the first strike called by the cabin crew members was luckily overruled by the High Court due to the busy Christmas season, seems this time a sure strike is in the offing from March 1.

With the BA cabin crew strike still looming on the UK travelers, things even got worse when the pilots union of Lufthansa started a strike today over worries of pay and job security. BA which lost over £400m is planning for a layoff for its present staff and a salary freeze this year in order to save £140m a year. It’s crunch time for BA with nothing less than an acid test ahead.

Things can’t get any worse for BA with the ongoing unrest among the cabin crew and the airline, at the same time comes the threatened walkout, seems like nothing is going well for BA. All this unrest is also damaging the reputation of the airline. Well, the extent of damage on BA is widely seen with the internal bickering proving out to be a PR disaster for the airline specially when BA is really struggling to survive. This is not the first time this inner conflicts is proving fatal for the airlines online reputation, in the past also few disgruntled employees of London Heathrow airport Terminal 5 aired their anger on Facebook,with rude comments about passengers.

Being a top airline company BA seems failing to make both the ends meet, the airline should give a thought on repairing its reputation and getting back the lost faith of its customers by putting into act the effective tools of reputation management. As the adage goes, A stitch in time saves nine!

The real question is how many people won’t be booking a flight with BA over the summer period with fear of the staff threatening about going on strike again. The staff have 2 choices, either get over it and realise in order for a business to survive then they need to streamline  or watch BA come to a disastrous end.  BA is a global company and needs to be able to compete on a global scale, it can’t if there is a lot of wastage, might be unfair but unfortunately a fact of life for open global market.

Related BA Posts

BA Cabin Crew Goes Glug Glug Glug

The media are reporting that British Airways cabin crew are stepping up their industrial action through a campaign of passive resistance: they are pouring unfinished bottles of vintage wine down the sink!

It’s always the details that matter in a story. With Bill Clinton it was the cigar, now it is the fact that it is vintage wine. The actions are supposed to push the company back into negotiation, what they actually do is make the cabin crew look petty and childish. The company is losing money, their pension is underfunded and they have lost the public’s sympathy, but they persist in behaving in a manner that makes them look petulant.

The cabin crew need to regain the initiative if they are win or benefit from the coming negotiations. That means they need to polish their reputations by providing outstanding service and demonstrate to passengers that whatever illwill they feel for their employer, they continue to serve customers with passion.

If they are not careful, they might follow the wine down the plughole as well.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

What’s else can motivate you to stay at home this Christmas?  With the fall of Flyglobespan, BA managing to stop a strike, Eurostar trains not working and the roads, well quite frankly a nightmare.  Why bother having all this stress and just enjoy what I hope is a White Christmas back in the UK.

It was crazy how Eurostar dealt with the crises of people being stuck on the train for 7 hours.  The first thing that sprung into my mind is what would happened if that was a fire?  Would you be stuck on the train in the middle of the tunnel for 7 hours with smoke building up.  I hope not.

What I don’t understand is why so many companies get it wrong when it comes to keeping its customers up to date. I hear time and time again that people are left standing in stations, airpots, etc and don’t have a clue what’s going on.  This can be just about the most damaging thing for a companies reputation, management should have responded to their customers immediately, even just to say, sorry we’re on it just not sure what the problem is.  If a negative situation happens, sometimes this can turn a potential nightmare into a dream situation if its dealt with correctly.

This is just another blow to tourism in general, with the recession, new flight taxes, companies failing and strikes imminent, you can understand why staycations have become so popular.  Unfortunately for Eurostar 1000’s of people are going to remember how they ruined their Christmas.  What should Eurostar do now to fix their reputation and win back customers?

Flyglobespan is part of a long list of failures

Flyglobespan, British Airways, where does it stop, the tourist industry has been hammered with negative news and press.   On the BBC last night they were talking about the average staff’s wages, the average BA cabin crew gets almost double what they get at Virgin.  Either BA is paying way to much or Virgin is under paying either way there are no winners when figures like these are released.

The tourism industry as a whole is under attack with hotels reputation being tested with negative feedback on sites like Tripadvisor putting potential customers off.  This latest news about Flyglobespan certainly will not help the industry, who wants to go abroad and worry about not getting back.  The hotels miss out big time on all the destinations that Flyglobespan flew to.  The knock on effect is massive, restaurants, shops, taxi drivers, the list goes on.

The Internet can be very one sided, hotels, air carriers, tour operators by the very nature of what they do have tens of 1000’s of customers.  It is totally down to the laws of average that no matter what you do or how fantastic your customer service, you will have someone, somewhere not happy about the service.  Obviously having a bad customer service and ignoring issues can compound negative press online.  In the good old days word of mouth was normally the only place annoyed customers would vent their frustrations.  With the dawn of the Internet came along blogs, social network site, forums and other avenues for people to write about a bad experience they might have had with a hotel, restaurant etc.  Now the whole world can listen rather than just friends and family.

Customers who have had a very good experience do not often tell people about it unless asked, and they certainly don’t write about it, so because of this the Internet can become a company’s worst enemy rather than best friend.

Fixing this could be easier than you’d think, yes it does take time, resource and require systems in place, but done correctly it can not only help manage your reputation online but even attract more customers.  Having for example a facility to capture customer feedback and publish them to the web is a good example.

The big lesson with PR and reputation management is don’t leave it until it becomes a crisis and you are loosing business, make sure you are take a proactive approach and protect your businesses reputation.