British Airways is one of the leading UK based global airline companies, which is facing customer service related problems. Theft of customer data from the customer service section from the company website has created serious customer data privacy-related problems. The main aim of this report is to analyse the complex issues that the company is facing, analyse them, propose theoretical models to identify those issues and discuss alternative solutions to those issues.
British Airways is the largest airline and popular flag carrier in the United Kingdom. In terms of fleet size, British Airways is the second-largest airline company just behind EasyJet. The airline company was founded in the year 1974 and the company is operating with a fleet size of 279. Most importantly, 183 destinations have been covered by the airline company. Oneworld is its only ally. The two hubs of British Airways are Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport, which are situated in London.
British Airways is considered to be the most popular, safe and trusted airline among the people of UK. The airline company has hardly faced any kind of controversy. However, recently the company has faced some customer data privacy-related problems. It is notified to London Police that the Payment card information of almost 3, 80,000 passengers have been theft by some hackers. It is becoming a real concern. However, the airline authority has urged the customers to make immediate contact with the respective banks to secure the banks. Despite these notifications and approaches to customers, the existing, as well as new target passengers, are becoming huge concerned to choose British Airways as a flying option. Although the company has claimed that the passport and other types of security details are still protected.
In terms of the seriousness of this problem, the 3, 80,000 payment cardholders can immediately become bankrupt by the hackers if any kind of precautionary action is not being taken. The passengers are the direct sufferers. Moreover, the other internal stakeholders also can become indirect sufferers as the brand image of the airline is getting ruined, which might have a negative impact on the prosperity and growth of all other stakeholders.
The customer data theft problem affects the company in different ways. The strong customer complaints and poor handling of customer data can cause customer data privacy-related issues, which will force the customers to shift from British Airways to some other company. This will cause huge financial losses for the company.
The communication between the customer service department, the marketing department, and the technology department will be hampered due to these unsecured customer data management activities. According to Khurshid et al., (2018), poor communication, inadequate monitoring, and poor control can cause different kinds of operational issues, such as late turnaround timing between flights, long supply chain lead time-related issues etc.
Also, lack of customer data security maintenance can hamper the relationship between the target customers, existing customers, and the airline management. According to Volez (2018), the social relationship with the target customers will be hampered due to this poor customer data handling the related problem.
The analysis of this particular problem should be conducted through the application of the important theoretical and strategic analytical tool. In this analysis, PESTLE analytical concept and Fishbone diagram will be applied to analyse the impact of this poor customer data handling problem of British Airways.
It is a vital external macro-environmental analytical tool, which will help the researchers to realise the impact of the external macro-environmental factors on the business performance of British Airways with respect to the poor customer data handling problem of the company.
The political environment is challenging for the management of British Airways as the airline has been successful throughout the years to contribute towards the social sustainability and economic growth of the UK. Customers are getting high-quality customer service from the airline and the airline is creating several employment opportunities for job seekers. However, the government may not support the airline and cause several political problems for the company if the management fails to ensure the account safety of 3, 80,000 passengers.
The economic environment is also becoming challenging for British Airways although the environment is favourable for other companies within the UK airline industry. Most importantly, the ongoing poor customer data handling related challenges can force several employees to shift the companies and find other job opportunities as it is already affecting the sustainability and corporate image of the airline. In addition, the customers will also choose other airline options in which their data and information will be secured. Overall, the economic environment will not be supportive for British Airways due to intense market competition, employee poaching, and customer dissatisfaction.
The social environment will be regarded as the challenging factor for the management of British Airways as the majority of the airline passengers of UK are habituated with the online transaction, booking, and tracking, Theft of personal data and information regarding payment cards will negatively influence the customer satisfaction level and purchasing behaviour. Hence, it can easily indicate that the social environment is not supportive of the management of British Airways.
The technological environment is favourable for British Airways as the UK is technologically developed and the management can find better data management software applications to handle and monitor a large number of customer data within a quick period of time. The technological advancement of the UK will undoubtedly assist the company to overcome customer data hacking and privacy-related problems in near future. Hence, it is important for the airline management to capitalise on this particular opportunity.
The legal environment of the UK is challenging for the management of British Airways. British Government already has introduced some strict policies for the service providing business organisations, such as data privacy laws, consumer protection laws, cyber laws, company laws, and the law of ethics. Each and every service proving organisation in the UK need to follow these regulations in order to overcome the possible legal challenges. Hence, the ongoing customer data hacking-related problem can cause several strict legal problems for the management of British Airways if the management fails to provide highly secured resolutions to the 3,80,000 payment card holders. This legal problem also can affect the profitability of the company in near future.
The physical environment is highly supportive for the management of British Airways as the company always initiates several kinds of green environmental sustainability programmes and events, which create strong environmental sustainability awareness among all the important stakeholders of the society. Although the government has developed several environmental sustainability-related policies, however, the business operation process always supports green environmental activities.
Fishbone analysis has been conducted in this part of the assignment to determine the major causes of this unsecured customer payment card data handling activities. This analysis will also help the researcher to analyse the possible effects of this specific problem.
From the above-developed fishbone figure, it has been identified that four important aspects are the major causes of this unsecured data handling problem. According to Coburn et al., (2018), poor data safety management activities are considered as the major causes behind this particular problem. Constant monitoring is always important for the technological department to overcome the possibilities of such challenges, but poor management has created this particular problem. Secondly, constant reviewing is important, but it is alleged that customer service professionals were highly casual regarding the handling of the data and information of the customers. Thirdly, the quality of the data management tools or software applications also can be considered as the major reason behind the occurrence of this particular problem. Lastly, poor communication between technology, customer service, and other departments also can be regarded as the major reasons behind this particular problem.
There are three important effects of this unsecured data handling problem, such as financial, operational and social problems. According to Fischer et al., (2018), affecting the relationship with the existing and loyal customers can be considered as the major consequence of this data hacking-related problem, which is a serious social effect. In terms of financial effect, the airline will automatically face business losses as customers will prefer other airlines and shareholders will not trust anymore. In terms of the operational problems, poor collaboration among different departments will be regarded as the major operational issue of the airline.
Based on the above analysis, the company can be advised to implement certain alternative solutions.
The technological department of British Airways needs to install more secured and technologically advanced data management software applications to handle a large number of passenger data and information. In addition, constant review and updating of the software application are also important for the technical professionals to ensure the safety, security, and privacy of the customer data.
The management of the airline should aggressively take care of the investigation activities through the help of the London Police and the British Government. The constant communication with the investigation agencies, police and government will undoubtedly assist the airline to trace the hackers as early as possible.
Communication with all the 3, 80,000 cardholders is highly important for the customer service management department of British Airways. It is somehow acceptable that the company has apologised and urged customers to secure individual bank accounts, but it is the moral responsibility of the airline authority to help the customers in this in a collaborative way and guide them to secure the accounts of payment cardholders. Clear communication and total co-operation are required by the customer service management professionals of British Airways to intact the customer loyalty of all the existing passengers.
The company management of British Airways needs to collaborate with all the important stakeholders. It is identified that the management follows the authoritative approaches in which individual departments take care of individual responsibilities. In such a crisis situation, stakeholder engagement is highly important to overcome the ongoing challenges and ensure proper resolution. Hence, some kind of democratic approach is highly important to overcome this challenge.
British Airways is the most loyal and trusted airline among the people of the UK. Sustainability, passenger safety and adequate in-flight, as well as external customer services, are major approaches of British Airways, which have helped the airline to become one of the leading and most popular airlines across the globe. However, in the year 2018, the company is facing customer service related problems as the information about the 3, 80,000 cardholders has been theft by hackers. The management of British Airways needs to improve the security of the data management software applications to overcome the possibility of similar kinds of challenges in near future.
Coburn, A., Leverett, E. and Woo, G., 2018. Solving Cyber Risk: Protecting Your Company and Society. Wiley.
Fischer, R., Halibozek, E. and Walters, D., 2018. Introduction to security. Butterworth-Heinemann.
Khurshid, K., Khan, A., Siddique, H. and Rashid, I., 2018. Big Data-9Vs, Challenges and Solutions. Technical Journal, 23(03), pp.28-34.
Voelz, G.J., 2018. Rise of iWar: Identity, Information, and the Individualization of Modern Warfare. Skyhorse Publishing Inc.Order Now