To achieve operational excellence, do the opposite of Air Canada

I know that Air Canada receives a lot of criticism for the way they treat customers and if I was running the show, I would want to know what my customers really think. If they want to achieve operational excellence, there are some things that they need to reverse. Here are some things that they do that are opposite from what an operationally excellent company does:

  • They don't communicate openly with customers. How many times have you been in an airport, or even at the gate, and you know that the plane is delayed, but no one is giving you any information? I was once at the gate for a 6:30pm flight, it was already 6:45pm, and the gate agent was still trying to convince me the flight was going to leave on time.
  • They don't leave on time. Air Canada planes leave on time ONLY 54.8% of the time. That's right, 54.8%. If you don't believe me, click here to view the details on Air Canada's website. They are 16th out of the 16 airlines being compared. If you were only right half the time in your business, would you have any customers left?
  • They don't manage perception. As I suggested in the opening paragraph, Air Canada receives a lot of criticism, but they don't seem to do much about changing it. If I ran a company where planes were never on time, the staff were unpleasant, the rules were unreasonably strict and the customers were charged for every possible expense (including baggage, peanuts, pillows, blankets and headphones), I would do everything in my power to change the way customers perceived my company.
  • They have unhappy staff. Dealing with the stress of travelling is bad enough, but then having to deal with a sour check-in or gate agent makes it worse. This is a service-oriented business and people should be hired with that in mind.
  • They work slowly. I'm not sure why it takes so long to check people in as this is a process that has been performed millions of times. Yet it seems like with every customer, it is being done for the first time.

So, if you want to achieve operational excellence, just do the opposite of what Air Canada does and you will be just fine.


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