When your brand is built on service in an industry known for the utter lack of it, you have a powerful asset. However, you also have carved for yourself a sizable challenge - the imperative to constantly exceed the expectations of customers who come to you expecting so much. The competitive advantage of being the “high service” option is lessened by the lower standards your customers have for your competitors’ customer service. A customer who is pleasantly surprised to be treated decently well in business class on British Airways, may be disappointed in a less than extraordinary SIA experience.
Fortunately, SIA has a jump on the competition in implementing and sustaining this high-service model. The company culture and operations are unified in this focus on serving the customer. SIA crew staff are trained and retrained more than competitors. SIA’s fleet is newer and requires less maintenance; they spend more hours earning fares in the sky. SIA’s tertiary operations are frequently outsourced. These factors contribute to SIA’s ability to be a cost-control leader while defining themselves as the luxury service airline.
(BY THE WAY) In addition to measurable high performance in on-time departures, bag delivery and high customer satisfaction, SIA’s brand is built on the offering of the mystique and exoticism of Asian femininity and perceived servility. The “Singapore Girl” attends to the every need of important businessmen on their long-haul flights to foreign places. This is the implicit message of their ads (see here). Let’s just be clear and acknowledge that.