When service is more important than price – an Israeli case study

I have written that despite the global recession, the flight path between Israel and the UK has become even more crowded in the past 12 months. And since my posting, Easy Jet have announced that they will also mix it with the old timers.

I have just returned from a trip to the UK. I broke a lifelong association with EL AL and chose BMI. Some initial price research did not reveal a great deal of difference between the two.

I began to compare the service on offer, and took a chance with BMI.

And good service is what I found. Helpful attendants, a calm and quiet manner, a more serious approach to the safety procedures which we all ignore, etc. Even those silly announcements about wishing you a safe flight seem to come with a more personal or an individual approach.

Oh, and as for the BMI lounge at Heathrow Airport, now that is a class act, clearly designed with the frequent flyer in mind.

There is nothing bad about EL AL. What makes the difference is that BMI aim to go the extra few steps and smiles to ensure that you are relaxed and satisfied.

The BMI concept is not new. Dov Gordon is an experienced marketing strategist in Israel. He cites the history of the hotel chain The Four Seasons. Gordon quotes Issy Sharp, the founder of the chain.

 Sharp cares about The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.  Around 1980 he decided that this would be the guiding value of his growing chain of hotels.  They would treat all others – customers, employees, partners, suppliers – as they themselves would want to be treated.

 “There was nothing new about this, of course,” said Sharp.  “What was new was that we enforced it.”

I am due to go back to the UK in October.

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