This paper focuses on the defining the Lovelock's Flower of Service Model and comparing two service-product offerings in the airline industry proposed by Ryanair and Lufthansa according to this theoretical model. Ryanair and Lufthansa propose flights services, including cheap flights opportunities to more than 160 destinations.
According to Lovelock and Wirtz (2011), Flower of Service Model indicates the core service that is surrounded by the supplementary services, which help to promote this core service. They are divided into 4 facilitating and 4 enhancing supplementary services. Facilitating services include information, billing, order taking and payment. Hospitality, consultation, exceptions and caretaking are enhancing supplementary services.
With the aim to evaluate different possibilities and choose the most suitable option, the service users need information. Moreover, it is a tool that the service companies can apply to educate the market about the high quality of their products, to persuade the potential customers to make a choice in favour of the service providers. In the airline industry, this is used to provide detailed information about the company, indicate flight schedules, tickets availability and tickets fares, and to highlight the possible bonuses, additional discounts that people can get being loyal customers and members of the promotional campaigns of the service provider.
As for Ryanair, this information can be obtained via the official website, call service, in-flight magazine. Online section for contacts provides the information for the customers in the form of frequently asked questions to make the choice easier, points contacts of the Customer Service Department. Moreover, the potential client can get special assistance contact numbers (Ryanair Official Website 2013).
Lufthansa also uses educational materials to educate its potential customers. It is also carried out through the website and call service. Lufthansa proposes such services as flight award adviser, mileage calculator, Star Alliance upgrade awards, Flight awards, as a part of its promotional activities with an aim to increase the number of passengers (Lufthansa Official Website 2013).
Lovelock and Wirtz (2011) state that consultation is a constant dialogue with the customers that helps to understand their expectations and requirements and facilitate a tailored decision making. It may include clarifying doubts, explanations how to use the provided service, counselling personally, giving advice, offering technical consultancy, etc.
Lufthansa provides more sophisticated possibility to get help for the customers than Ryanair. At the official website there is “Help and Contact” section that allows the customers to ask all important questions via e-mail, telephone, or visit Lufthansa offices. Moreover, the customers can address their concerns to the technical support team (Lufthansa Official Website 2013). At Ryanair there is the on-line consultation about the classes in the air jets, various routes and special menus for loyal fliers (Ryanair Official Website 2013).
The first step that is taken in a transaction process is an order taking. Filling different types of applications, for instance, for being a subscriber, to reserve seats, online entry of orders, can be the examples of this supplementary service. Each company proposes on-line tickets booking service, as well as the possibility to make a booking via a telephone. Ryanair proposes the customers to register and sign up for Ryanair Sale Alerts. The company underlines that the customers will enjoy the possibility to be first to know about the seats availability and the cheapest flight proposals, “information and offers from partners and tourist boards on related services and other supplementary information periodically” (Ryanair Official Website 2013).
Hospitality includes all supplementary services and facilities that the customer may require when enjoying the core service. It begins with the greetings and continues with enquiries, food and beverages, transportation and similar services (Lovelock & Wirtz 2011). Lufthansa launched flight greetings system as the world’s first social inflight entertainment system. Ryanair proposes, for instance, special dealing with sports, musical, infant equipment, as well as priority boarding, airport car parking, airport transfer.
Making a generalization about the safety, Lovelock and Wirtz (2011) underline that the core service is more valuable to the customer if he/she is sure that his/her personal possession will be kept in safety. It may include baby care, baggage and storage handling services, security transportation, delivery and others supplementary services. Ryanair pays additional attention to the luggage transportation. The client fills special baggage declaration of value form. It is its privilege above the Lufthansa. However, Lufthansa proposes additional benefit that deals with keeping children safe.
Exceptions as a part of the enhancing supplementary services ensure the customers that even in the situations that fall outside a routine, their problems will be handled with a high sense of responsibility; in other words, accidents and emergencies will be handled in the proper way. It is necessary to underline that both companies propose such services and satisfy special requests of customers, in particular, these are special amenities for children or elderly people, meal preferences, medical needs.
Billing is another supplementary service that requires completeness, accuracy and legibility from a service provider. There are two options that the company may choose from. It can either make periodic statements of accounting or allow the customers fill the bills by themselves for the greater transparency. Cheque handling, cash handling, coupon system and credit system comprise the payment supplementary service. The main task for the service providers is to make the process of payment as easy and convenient for the customers as possible (Lovelock & Wirtz 2011). Lufthansa and Ryanair use Charges split, E-mail bills, charge splits, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, and special payment privileges for frequent fliers.
It is important to recognize that both companies are high-quality service providers, but the customers may make different choices regarding supplementary services, applying Lovelock's Flower of Service Model.