Ryanair and Customer Service

By | Category: Travel rumblings

No this isn’t another moan about the quality or even quantity of customer service that Ryanair offers. Well not really. No this is a comment on what Ryanair thinks it does.
You might have seen in yesterday’s media stories about how Ryanair has made €136.5 million profit (about £119 million) in the first 3 months of its trading for this year. As the largest airline in Europe, one that has grown very quickly from nothing to this status so quickly, that its management would be pretty adept. And there is nothing wrong with making a profit. There aren’t many that are making money including the American airline Southwest Airlines upon which Ryanair based its business model.
Tucked away in the very last paragraph of its press release was this statement which I quote verbatim. “The winners in a deep recession will always be those companies like Aldi, Lidl, McDonalds, and Ryanair who offer the lowest prices and the best service to consumers.”
After I picked myself off the floor from laughing at this “best service” I did wonder who Ryanair is trying to kid. There are lots of reasons to be thankful to Ryanair but best customer service definitely isn’t one of them. And there is a very strong link between customer service and customer satisfaction. And that Ryanair certainly doesn’t provide in large doses.
Many years ago, long before the recession hit, a team lead by Professor Claes Fornell at the University of Michigan showed that there was a link between customer service and company value. I don’t know whether it still holds in a recession but there is no way you are going to convince me that Ryanair offers best customer service. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose might in supermarkets, Southwest Airlines in aviation, Marks & Spencer in general retailing but not Ryanair. Not judging by the thousands of complaints we have had in our customer care survey over the years.
Maybe Ryanair has been seeing the leprechauns too!

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