Retain the standard to retain the customer

I have always been a big fan of our national carrier, but after a recent trip to Cyprus to visit some of my family I was pretty disappointed in the level of service delivered. The fact that airmiles paid for the trip reduced my fury somewhat so BA will be let off lightly, but to be honest I am surprised such poor levels of service are still being delivered by the company.

Granted the plane was old, and in desperate need of a refit, I am sure this old 767 will be left until 2012 and hopefully replaced by a shiny new 787. But the real surprise came with the staff, and the chaos that ensued because of the obvious lack of direction. Staff spent their time running up and down the isles looking very busy and achieving very little, one hour wait for drinks and nearly two hours for food is disgraceful and completely avoidable. Especially when they couldn’t be bothered to serve part of the meal or started clearing moments after serving. The whole point of flying BA is because of service (certainly not the latest aircraft!) surely this is what the cabin crew were fighting for when they were striking – their experience and ability? Well either they don’t care much or management have replaced everyone already.

The problem is that this one experience leaves a nasty taste and means I would review my own travel arrangements, or those of my company because of it. It is such a shame that one experience can have such an effect, but it is something that the high street have been battling with for quite a while. I read an article, in BA’s High Life ironically enough, about Pret a Manger and how they have been able to build on their business by delivering a consistently high level of service. I have become one of their most regular customers, since opening a store next to our office, and I must confess it has always been quick and consistent. Not a mean feat when dealing with low paid staff who most, I am sure, count the job as a stop gap.

So BA get your act together, if Pret can do it then so can you.

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