The Idic STYLE OF United Airlines Marketing Essay

This essay deals with the current CRM practices followed by United Airlines, which are facing serious CRM issues in their day-to-day operations. There have been a great deal of trust issues and customer issues in their CRM tactics, which will be further explained below. For example, customers are complaining about issues including the increase in trip delays and baggage going missing upon introduction. United Airlines also offers also not been effectively dealing with the customer claims, and it could harm them over time. Customer problems over the phone have been greatly ignored. Therefore, United Airlines should adopt some acquisition/retention strategies in order to retain/gain customers. Methods such as better training, loyalty marketing and implementing an IVR system to effectively package with issues should be implemented in order to tackle the problems they may be facing.


The organization

United Airlines, founded in 1926, is a U. S. air travel that is managed by United Continental Holdings, and the airline's main basic is currently headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It's the world's largest flight in conditions of the number of locations travelled worldwide. United Airlines offers trip contacts to more than 1000 destinations in more than 170 different countries throughout the world.

The Porter's Five Forces would help us get an improved knowledge of United Airline's market environment as shown in Appendix1. It will also help us to recognize who the mark customers are, the nature of your competition and the opponents such as North american Airways/Delta/Southwest.

2. 2. Current CRM Practices

The areas of the IDIC Model carried out by United Airlines have enabled them to carry out their current CRM procedures. They have devised a person recognition program to identify their frequent travellers. Personalized services would also be offered to their frequent travellers such as the top priority check in and the opportunity to use their airport lounges. Personalization of services can help preserve customers, as they might feel like their needs are being respected by the company worried. United Airlines also try their best to ensure that their customer service is up to a satisfactory level for many customers. For example, notifying customers about airfare delays at the earliest opportunity, properly handing individuals baggage, good punctuality of departure/arrival and an interactive error-free online reservation system. Plus, they planned to also do more data powered marketing with personalization.

Literature Review

Defining the chosen CRM Areas

The two CRM ideas discussed below are "Coping with customer complaints" and "Trust".


Trust involves an enterprise living up with their expectations to give a good product/service to customers. Shaw & Ivens (2002) talk about that getting the trust of customers is crucial in both the short and long run, as it would enhance the value of the business. Peppers & Rogers (2011) then claim that by increasing the trust of customers, it might potentially supply the business a competitive advantage in the long run. It could strengthen the relationship with the customer, making them buy more of a company's product/service. Regarding to Landau (2009), when customers stop buying products/services from an enterprise, it is generally due to too little trust. United Airlines is currently facing increased customer claims, with issues of trust as well. The reasons why will be discussed below.


Dealing with Customer Complaints

According to Peppers & Rogers (2011), hearing the reviews of customer could make human relationships with customers much better. Customer problems can help a small business gain a much better knowledge of how to boost their existing products based on the opinions of the customers. By listening to complaints, businesses should not only have the ability to avoid negative publicity, but also have the ability to initiate positive person to person about their business. Better customer commitment can be developed. (Bruhm, 2003).

Social Media is currently an important platform when working with customer issues. Customers can promote their feelings/experiences of a particular product/service, allowing companies to hear positive reviews or claims. United Airlines has a Facebook web page which customers can promote their experience. Many customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the Flight on its Facebook web page because of their poor customer service.

The IDIC Model of United Airlines

The IDIC Model is utilized to effectively deal with individual customer human relationships. The four tasks of fabricating and taking care of customer connections are to identify/differentiate/have interaction/customize. These activities can help businesses provide/personalize their products/services regarding to customer's choices. This assists sustain a wholesome and dependable two-way relationship between the buyer and seller

It is important to recognize who the mark market is. Matching to Peppers & Rogers (2011), whenever a business has recognized their customers, they can gain a competitive edge over their rivals, as long as they have got superior CRM strategies. The advantage of figuring out customers is a business can build much closer interactions with the prospective customers, making them trust the business more, and eventually come back again. United Airlines have determined their focus on customers as the regular business vacationers, with also some help from customer acceptance programs.

The second aspect of the IDIC Model is to differentiate customers based on the value they bring to the organization. This might allow businesses to proficiently allocate resources to the clients that would bring the most income in exchange. United Airlines must hold on to their most valuable loyal customers.

The third aspect of the IDIC Model is then to connect to the customers. Businesses should enhance their interactions with their different customers to be able to give a good customer experience. For United Airlines to effectively offer with grievances, they allow their target customers expressing their dissatisfactions through mediums such as email, fax and phone. (Yahoo Fund, 2009). This allows the airlines to alter their future course of action to be able to provide better customer support. Companies that effectively communicate with their customers regarding issues could then develop a reputation to be a highly proficient service oriented organization.

Lastly, businesses should customize some aspects of their service according to the value a person brings. For instance, based on the United Airlines website, frequent travellers would get more personal benefits such as main concern check-in and baggage handling. That is to ideally deter their loyal customers from exploring with the rival airlines. That is a good example of how businesses preserve their "Most Valuable Customers" (MVCs).

Main Body


Over the years, many customers have made many problems against United Airlines. Their current off-flight CRM routines can be improved. Covey & Merrill (2006) mentions that building trustworthiness at an individual level makes up the foundation of building trust. Therefore, a customer could commit to a loyal marriage with a small business if they are reliable enough. However, regarding United Airlines, it has been respected less by customers because of the poor customer support. They could then choose to travel with the rival airlines.

An article for the Guardian (2013) said that United Airlines has faced a rise in complaints by 20% by end of 2012. This is credited to increased trip delays, ticketing/reservation problems and long cellphone waiting times, triggered by complex glitches in the booking system. It has then made customers trust United Airlines even less. Furthermore, in August 2012, United's whole system crashed, triggering about 580 delays in flights.

In March, the amount of issues increased from Feb 2012 to 260. The full total number of issues more than tripled to 995 in July 2012. Furthermore, there's been an increase in baggage going missing, further losing customer self-assurance and trust. According to visit USA (2012), the amount of lost/damaged bags have also increased from 3. 4 per individuals to 3. 66%. These are the reasons why United Airlines are facing serious trust issues, which if kept unaddressed, could be damaging to the business Peppers & Rogers (2011) further talk about that the degree to which customers would invest in a loyal long term relationship with a firm would depend on their dedication to give a good service for the customers. This might help gain their trust.

The recent case of how United Airlines damaged a passenger's property has created a poor image for the business. According to The Guardian (2009), as United refused to compensate the frustrated customer for his ruined item, he publicly shamed United Airlines online on YouTube, with a song and training video. The video became a web reach, publicly embarrassing United Airlines, hence losing the trust of many customers because of the negative connection with one frustrated customer. This clearly supports the statement above where in fact the extent to which customers would trust an enterprise would depend on their capability to give a decent service for his or her customers.

In addition to that, United has neglected some customer issues. They have developed a poor reputation for not interacting with grievances by ignoring cell phone calls on their grievance lines. They could lose profitable customers, and lower gains in the foreseeable future. Customer claims can be a valuable advantage, as businesses can gain valuable information regarding their product deficiencies. Peppers & Rogers (2011) then refer to that customers would view firms taking customer grievances under consideration as a friendly service focused action.


Gaining customers trust is a key groundwork to gaining competitive advantage. Covey & Merrill (2006) further evaluate that the degree to which customers would trust businesses would rely upon their objective, skills, capacities and the end product/service of a business.


United Airlines would have to develop a suited 1 to 1 1 CRM Plan in the form of both acquisition/retention strategies. Loyalty marketing can be considered a suitable 1 to1 CRM program in order to hold on to their customer foundation rather than lose any further customers. This assists combat against the negative publicity against the business. As of lately, United Airlines have tangled up with an American LIFE INSURANCE COVERAGE company called AllState. Relating to an article from Reuters (2013), participants of United Airlines's repeated flier program can gain a long way/points by investing in a new auto/homeowners insurance policy from AllState. Along with the miles/points gained, United Airlines's regular holidaymakers can get top quality services such as couch enhancements. Therefore, with this relationship, United is now able to promote this devotion program in order to increase their customer foundation and also not lose any further customers to rival airlines.

This can be further enhanced with United Airlines focused on making each air travel memorable and special because of its travellers. Safety, convenience and comfort are also areas that United Airlines can give attention to as key areas to work on to update its quality of flight service. The meals provided on United Airlines lack in variety, and the on-flight cabin team is reported to be quite rude. The off-flight services such as the indegent handling of baggage and absent luggages is seriously causing concern to its travellers and need urgent attention by United Airlines management. Travellers view the safety of their belongings of paramount importance. In conditions of comfort, United Airlines could work towards providing on demand programs of onboard entertainment. Emirates Airlines provides Glaciers (Information, Communication, Entertainment) programs to all or any its classes of travellers and has been winning honours for providing this service. (Emirates, N. D. ) Travellers receive the comfort and capability of enjoying this service and United Airlines can certainly reap the benefits of this. A complete revamp of the client service chain and trust issues is essential in order that United Airlines can perform its 2-pronged goal of retaining its consistent business vacationers and making new travellers want to travel more with the airlines,

Another recommendation would be to choose an IVR System (Interactive Tone Response). IVR allows customers to talk to the company's sponsor system by telephone keypad/speech acceptance, after discovering the type of their grievances following their dialogues. Since United Airlines has a negative reputation for ignoring customer problems on its phone brand, an IVR system should be implemented. This can not only help United Airlines reduce labour costs, and can also deal with customer claims in a more efficient manner. A good example is US Airways, which is the first in the domestic airline industry to launch a fresh IVR system to provide better services and seamless flight contacts to areas worldwide. (US Airways, 2013). It not only provides individualized travel experience which is fast and friendly, it also helps solve customer complaints/requests such as upgrade status, airline flight information and account information regarding Dividend Miles. Besides, the new IVR system has considerably shortened the decision times. United Airlines can treat this scientific investment as a retention and acquisition strategy and over time the benefits reaped can more than outweigh the huge investment outlay.


Competition in the air travel industry is powerful with the offering of discount fares and United Airlines must differentiate itself from the rest of the players by providing quality on-flight and off-flight services for holidaymakers' peace of mind Therefore, gaining the trust of customers will be the key to attaining a competitive benefit.


Appendix 1 (Porters Five Makes of United Airlines)

Intensity of Existing Competition - High

The competitors of United Airlines include Delta, Southwest, North american Airlines and JetBlue Airlines. Your competition in the flight industry is highly extreme. They compete predicated on costs, price, customer support, and last but not least efficiency/productivity. Most Flight companies would frequently offer discount fares in order to entice more customers, deterring them from travelling with the competitor's services. Therefore, it is important to identify your goal customers, and differentiate the product/service in line with the choices and needs of the client.

Barriers to Access - High

Barriers to accessibility would be looked at high for United Airlines credited to factors like the large capital required and the high congestion of major international airports. The airline industry is also a firmly regulated industry. Start-up flight companies are going to face difficult troubles when wanting to enter the flight industry. The quantity of capital required will be very high because the flight industry is capital rigorous, and requires a huge amount of investment

Threat of Substitutes - Low

The substitutes of air travel include street and rail vehicles. The risk of it is known as low. This is because travel by rail/car/bus would take a lot longer, and many people wouldn't normally choose to travel on them particularly if the travel distance is lengthy.

Bargaining Power of Suppliers - High

Fuel plays a main factor in the air travel industry. The costs of fuel also have increased over time because of the increasing petrol prices, matching to articles from NY Times (2012). Without gasoline, the flight industry would are unsuccessful, and would make a loss. Therefore, this makes the bargaining vitality of suppliers high. With the prices of energy increasing, many airlines such as United are currently trying to save as much energy as they can. That is achieved by being careful about the locations they choose to travel to.

Bargaining Electric power of Purchasers (Customers) - High

The bargaining power of purchasers in considered high in the air travel industry due to high level of competition between the airline companies in the United States. Customers can easily swap to a rival airline credited to factors such as ticket prices, discount fares and positive/negative customer service experience on a specific airline.

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