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Singapore Airlines' Winning Strategy
Aug 22, 2008

In this week's Harvard Business IdeaCast (see audio player below), Harvard Business School Professor Rohit Deshpande discusses one airline that's not just surviving the current downturn, but thriving: Singapore Airlines. Why is Singapore offering complimentary espresso on flights when others are charging for luggage and taking away in-flight movies? How has the company avoided the doom and gloom that so many other carriers face? By staying out of what Deshpande says is a loser's game of competing for customers on price, of treating them like commodities. Read Full Article

Singapore's strategy applies to all classes of travel.  They are a "throw back" to a bygone era perhaps but that approach is building loyalty among their clients and allows them to thrive in a down economy. Competitive differ­entiation, which is lasting and enduring, will prevail in these turbulent times.  We are seeing it already.  Retailers and suppliers who have treated their customers and clients badly are feeling the pressure now. Business is falling off, and trying to change in the midst of an economic crisis may be a daunting challenge. People are being let go, locations closing and these two factors, connection and convenience, are at the center of any service strategy. Those who have been paying attention to how they serve their customers and clients all along will get through these difficult times hurt, but perhaps not crippled. Letís explore this notion:

There are many great companies who come to mind as examples of how service has defined them.  Four Seasons, Marriott, Charles Schwab, General Electric, Container Store, Wachovia, Southwest Airlines, Apple and Singapore Airlines are just a few.  These companies have used service as a bridge to loyalty and competitive differentiation. They place their customers first, train their associates on how to do that and make certain that their service culture is monitored for consistency in performance and reward, and recognize those who serve well. These fundamentals perpetuate growth even in difficult economic times.

How you do what you do determines who you become and how you are remembered.

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How you do... What you do gives us hope in what is perhaps the most comprehensive book published in awhile on the topic of transforming your culture into one that is renowned for Service Excellence. 

"How You Do What You Do", by Bob Livingston

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