Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Consultant’s Clients can learn from the airline industry?

A USA TODAY analysis of 2005-2010 government and consumer survey data, which ranked the airlines, had some simple conclusions. The winning airlines, Jet Blue and Southwest make it easy to fly, despite their low prices. They don’t charge extra for bags, phone bookings or changing flights. Boarding is organized and stress free. The airline personnel most often have the authority to make simple changes that solve most problems for the traveler. Importantly, these folks are upbeat and make flying fun.

As a client in any industry, you might want the same attributes from your consultants
• Expertise – both technical and in practice
• Ease of use and hassle free
• Low but value pricing
• No hidden or extra charges
• Simple operation and stress free
• Authority to make changes as required and not have wait for higher authority
• Consultants who are upbeat and make the work pleasurable.

Is that what you are getting now?

Of course if you are now using consultants at al,l you don’t get the benefit of their expertise or the business acceleration they can provide.

The larger older airlines are struggling with their own profitability and yet don’t get the message about what passengers want. This is not unlike many larger consulting firms. Their process is arduous from initial contact through to delivery. In the consultants’ case the deliverable is generally a thick report that will go on the shelf. Junior people do much of the work but don’t have the experience or the authority to make simple changes as they go. There are extra fees charges for add on projects to the basic proposal. So while these consulting firms may have the reputation like the large traditional airlines, they just don’t meet the needs of many of their clients. But they continue to be the “safe” choice.

It strikes us that the right way to go is for a company to hire a consulting company that has both the expertise and the ability to understand the needs of the client and deliver directly against those needs. The consultant can cut away much of the extraneous clutter in the proposal and focus on what needs to happen to deliver the result. Having consultants that have been line managers with previous bottom line responsibilities vs staff who have been trained only to serve others is the right way to go. These consultants can get to the core issues quickly and develop the plans to resolve them.

This is exactly what happens with the winning airlines. Next time you are looking for consulting help to provide either the expertise or the bandwidth needed to reach your goals, recall the winning airlines and apply their learning to your business.

Contact us if we can assist you in any way. We would be happy to provide a “boarding pass.”



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management
View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

No comments: