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The commuter, Starbucks and the CEE at EBACE.

This year’s EBACE gave us all an idea of where Business Aviation is peaking, with the United Arab Emirates alone having the same amount of exhibition booths as the representatives from the CEE region.

There was a clear message from the nations represented at the event including the CEE countries, everybody is looking for a deal, but this raises a number of questions. Is the CEE fairly represented by the few companies and countries exhibiting? How do others see the region? Are the CEE companies projecting their brand at the same level as international standards?

With this in mind, let’s have a look at Starbucks, because there is something that aviation can learn from its model, especially since we surprisingly share the general consumer profile, a term that Tim Haford, the undercover economist, likes to call the Rush-hour commuters.

A commuting person is one who regularly travels between their place of residence and place of work. The promise offered by Starbucks, which is part of a worldwide chain in terms of coffee and pastries, can probably be beaten in Brazil, Italy or Finland by a charming coffee shop. However our commuting clients who have no time to search around, opt for a place with familiar standards, a place where Wi-Fi is available to use their smart phones and hand held tablets, a place where they will find English speaking staff where facilities are consistent and recogniseable around the world and the menus are always available in English. The assurity of an English speaking supplier is attractive and will draw those with little time to bother trying to work out what is a skinny latte in Hungarian or Polish. Whether we liked it or not English is the global language and a necessary means of communication for international businesses. For any company aiming to operate internationaly they must give clients the feeling that what is available at home, will be at his disposal anywhere else around the globe.

As a visitor, the deal breaker for the CEE exhibitors at EBACE stemmed from communication issues. One or two companies handed out brochures only in their own native tongue and others had members of their team struggling with the English language. As a prospective client this makes doing business a protracted and frustrating business, which can essentially break a deal. Can you imagine the amount of redirected calls you may have to go through just to arrange for example a charter. This is where you want to give the business money, so imagine what it would take to settle a dispute about catering costs or any other disagreement. For any business operating in the business aviation environment being able to speak the client’s first language is the first step towards dedicated customer service.

One of the educational panels at EBACE focused on the CEE region. Hosted by Jiri Matousek, Chairman of CEPA 2011, “Southern and Eastern Europe: Opportunities Amidst Challenges“ Moderated by Taunya Renson of FlyCorporate, highlighted similar issues arguing, “The increase of English language skills is resulting in the CEE creating better ties.“ The graph below demonstrates just how much English is now spoken in the region.

CEPA seeks to promote standards and to find common ground for understanding. The Association is working to strengthen communications among members, and to project a globalized image. CEPA hasa growing selection of clients who comply not only with international standards in their service but also have operations working compeltel in English. A brief glance at our members section demonstrates that even if they come from different countries, every member has an English version of their site, a standard that CEPA requires of new members. Companies fulfilling the requirements will not only benefit from communicating to a wider potential client base, but will also be more likely to increase their market share. If we can continue to expand our skill-sets, particularly our language offering the CEE countries will move towards operating on a level playing field and the Rush- Hour commuter“ will be happy to stop by to shop.

Source: Blue Sky News

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