Asian airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and ANA are known for their excellence in customer service. A lot of people love flying with these airlines.
But thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, these same airlines are experiencing their worst business slump in recent memory. No one wants to fly these airlines not because their service deteriorated but because nations have closed borders or people risk losing days in quarantine if they travel.
Customer service excellence has made Asian Airlines the pride of their nations and has given them leadership in competitive air travel industry. But it took just one adverse virus to bring down their business.
Adversities such as the coronavirus can quickly kill an enterprise. It doesn’t matter whether business has been bad or good, whether the enterprise has a very high reputation for service, or whether the enterprise has a very nice reputation. Adversity has no bias.
Customer service is very much defined as in we know it when we experience it. Adversity is the opposite. We know it when it’s there but we don’t know what shape, size, or form it would take and we don’t really know what the experience will be like. Adversity comes unexpectedly, without any warning, and we can’t determine its degree until it’s there.
One may manage service but one cannot manage adversity. Service is controllable but adversity is not.
We may mitigate adversity. At least we can make our enterprises capable to ride them out.
As much as we don’t know what, when, and how an adversity would arrive, we only have the weapon of our experiences to help us.
It is in experience that we design the drills and exercises to simulate how to deal with adversities like earthquakes and fires. It is in experience that we formulate security protocols such as daily back-ups of files, updating our anti-malware software, and the simple locking of our doors at night. It is in experience that we spend time and money to see our dentists and doctors on a regular basis. And it is in experience that we set emergency response plans that automatically trigger without any delay or need of approval from executive management.
Drills, exercises, protocols, and check-ups make us ready to meet the next adversity. They may not address an incoming adversity directly but they help our enterprises become structurally fit to withstand the possibly damaging effects.
Bad things happen to everyone. It doesn’t matter if your enterprise is riding high as a reputable service provider or as a ruthless start-up. Adversity hits without warning and without prejudice. Only those who are fit with ready methods and structures have the best chances to overcome the impacts.