Time to rethink and redraw the strategies for Indigo Airlines, internationally.

Indigo may have got the rights to fly overseas, after performing reasonably well in the Indian domestic market. Their truly no frills services with Unique Selling Propositions(USP) like small turn around time, on board merchandise at compelling prices, warm and hospitable, agile and young on flight and ground crews have made a mark in the mind of yours truly and that’s precisely the reason for him to opt for Indigo since the last four years while traveling within India. The customer without any freebies was not only proposing the airline’s name to his peers, relatives and other acquaintances, but was also scribbling about the nice experience of the airline in http://www.manishankarthetrainer.blogspot.com http://www.manishankarscribbles.wordpress.com and http://www.twitter.com/manitwitts . All these word of mouth definitely contributes to the larger brand image the airline intends to develop especially before taking the plunge in the competitive international market.So, it was normal for such a passenger to be excited once it was known that the company is planning to initiate its services in the lucrative Gulf and The South East Asian experiences. The competitive promotional airfares announced through the print medium were the additives which only supplemented the customers happiness. However, after having a terrible experience while flying in 6E82 on the 3rd of November 2011 and comparing the experience with 6E136 on the 3rd of November 2011, along with the last four years experiences there were lot of lacunae which came to the fore. More importantly the terrible start-up in the international market after setting new benchmarks in the Indian domestic market was something which the professional management trainer and consultant couldn’t digest so easily.

The following observations of the customer in 6E82, November 2011, says it all-

(1) The promotional fare discussed for Muscat-Mumbai through the print medium didn’t reach all the travel operators on time as a result of which many of the regular customers couldn’t leverage the same and out of sheer excitement decided to avail the airline by paying an amount more than a Full Service Airline and the situation turned for the worse when the series of bad experiences cascaded one over the other in that two hours ten minutes flights. The points those follows would provide pointers for the same.

(2)Immigration form given to a chunk of customers by the ground staff just before boarding the aircraft, whereas for the others it was received on board after the passengers requested the crew and asked for it!Mismatch in the service delivery process was very much evident!

(3)On board was surprisingly unaware about currency conversion from USD to RO and it was for an ethical and true customer, the crew would have sold a can of soda for 80 Baisa Omani, rather than the right amount told by the customer, 800 Baisa Omani. Calculators were used to make those wrong calculations and it was indeed stupid to see such untrained staff cater to the international passengers, especially after creating a very good image while plying in the domestic route. The concerned employee should be blamed for that, rather its the top and middle management who are responsible for these lopsided happenings. I explained the crew Mariana and the chief of the cabin staff, Shaleen.

(4) Surprisingly an Indian based airline wasn’t interested to take the payment from the customer in INR and was adamant on USD or RO! Was it because the airline wanted to earn more revenues through the differences in currencies and that too after an Indian customer flying to India offering Indian Rupees being rejected upfront the major cause?

(5)The overall service quality in the international route was poor vis-a-vis that of the domestic performance and it aggravated after a series of poor experiences one after the other.

(6)Cabin crew Marina told the passenger that Government of India regulations prohibits a passenger to consume Duty Free Liquor on the aircraft and one should only consumer the on board liquor available in cans and miniature form, that too at a sky rocketed price. How can Government of India formulate such a rule where customer isn’t the king and the preference is being given to a service provider defies all logic! Or was it that the crew was taking the help of a lie so as to sell her merchandize?

(7)The only brighter side was the fact that the merchandize were being sold aggressively on board by making repeated visits in the cabin, which is generally not seen in a Full Service Airline due to obvious reasons.

(8)Known for compelling prices of their on board merchandises while flying in the domestic market, the situation internationally was diagonally opposite when it came to the international markets. Is the airline planning to reach the break-even and profits in rapid time and in the process dilute their brand in an irreparable way akin to that of Air India Express?

(9)Putting cabin crews having experience in the domestic market straightaway in the international sectors sans the adequate training on international customer’s expectations would only aggravate matters.

(10)The passengers were stranded for a long time after deplaning as the coach came little late. It was quite tiresome for the passengers to wait and then reach the terminal especially after having an overnight travel supplemented with poor on flight services.

Blogger also blogs on http://www.manishankarthetrainer.blogspot.com and http://www.twitter.com/manitwitts

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About manishankarscribbles

A management trainer, consultant and faculty with experiences in South Asia, Middle East and Australasia. I am also present in www.manishankarthetrainer.blogspot.com and www.twitter.com/manitwitts apart from https://manishankarscribbles.wordpress.com .
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