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New Approach to Customer Service @ Ryanair – (un)likely? November 6, 2009

Posted by supersonicswan in Swan Song.
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Below is a presentation I was involved in last year. The reason for that is I think it could give a broader perspective within the ongoing discussion about Ryanair’s customer service strategy (or at least about a part thereof). By “part” I mean the times before everything went pearshape with Ryanair – or, in different wording, before social media became fruitful and started multiplying.

Please feel free to comment.

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Is that it, Michael? October 29, 2009

Posted by supersonicswan in Swan Lake.
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Every industry has its legend, that mythical person that will surface sooner or later in any conversation. For aviation – especially for its low cost branch – Michael is just that. There is a general agreement of sorts that he’s the bad boy but at the same time everyone adores him and would like to be just the same when they grow up – just as clever.

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Ryanair vs. BBC – who am I to comment on this one? October 12, 2009

Posted by supersonicswan in Subsonic.
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It’s been almost two weeks since Ryanair got back into the headlines executing their promise to charge its’ pax for online check-in. Now, Mr O’Leary is heading full-on against the BBC, on which more here. Well, you might have started wondering, what does all this have to do with me?

And I’m sorry but I need to go slightly personal here.

I’ve always tried to be on O’Leary’s side – he’s presented the public with a strong business case & I think that everything is pretty much clear about how things work with FR so if you haven’t read the small print – it’s at your own risk only. Having said that – no, I didn’t like it when I had to pay an extra £20 for airport check-in when I forgot to print out my boarding passes. But on my way back I lied to that check-in agent that I’d been told that £20 was for both legs, so I got my little revenge.

I was the person to say O’Leary would have to remake the airline from the scratch if he was to improve its’ customer service, customer relationships and gain the love of the press. It just didn’t feel feasible to me because any such attempts at rebranding would lead to:

1. distortion of the brand – we actually expect FR to be a bit shabby;

2. increase of costs – of which customers would be made liable;

3. disbelief of just about anyone – you know, the hell freezes over before O’Leary changes his ways;

4. the press getting all over FR guys trying to figure out where the catch is.

Basically, if O’Leary would like to improve FR’s image he would need to change his own name and undergo some serious plastic surgery. Or leave the company. Both unlikely.

But then Michael started acting really unreasonably.

You can educate people to pay for add-ons most of them don’t need anyway.You can charge them for airport check-in as most of them do it online anyway. You can even get away with offering them £4 return specials and charging them £20 on top of that for card payment handling as they can buy a pre-paid Electron.

One thing you cannot do is to charge them for something there is no alternative to and what constiutes a preliminary requirement to getting on board in the first place.

And yes Mr O’Leary, I think you’re missing the point here and big time so. If there’s only online mode for obligatory check-in and this is to be paid for then it simply constitutes part of the overall price. Therefore, you are misleading the public which is why customer protection organizations are out there preparing a case.

And what do you think about FR’s policies? Are they scarrying away their customers? Do you support O’Leary or rather badly despise of him? Where is the limit to what LCC’s can charge for? Let me know what you thoughts are!