I’ve been hearing about Ryanair for the past few years. Mostly horror stories about bad service and how the airline would never make it.
So imagine my surprise when I read that Ryanair remains Europe’s No1 customer service airline because, during January 2012:
* 91% of Ryanair’s over 33,000 flights arrived on time, up 1% on January 2011.
* Less than 1 complaint per 1,000 passengers was received.
* Less than 1 mislaid bag claim per 2,000 passengers was received.
A Ryanair executive claims that once passengers “have switched to Ryanair’s prices these passengers keep coming back for our unbeatable on- time flights, fewest lost bags and great customer service.”
Doing some quick online research, I found a lot of pros and cons about Ryanair. Some customers like the service (and love the low low prices) others really hate the service and complain about rude employees, dirty cabins and the like.
I don’t know how Ryanair can claim great “great customer service” unless they define it as “we get you to your destination at a low price, and that’s it.”
But Ryanair seems to be doing quite well, financially. Especially considering the weak economy and ongoing struggles of the airline industry to make money. According to Ryanair’s 2011 annual report, the airline is growing in passengers, revenue and profits. Controversial CEO Michael O’Leary sums up:
Our 2011 net profit after tax of €401m ($565m) makes Ryanair the world’s most profitable low fares airline as highlighted by Air Transport World in July 2011.
Note: Southwest and JetBlue were the #2 and #9 on this list.
So my question is simply this: If the customer experience is so important to growth/profits, how is it that Ryanair has been so successful?
- 97% of Scots Will Fly Ryanair Again
“Ryanair will continue to deliver the lowest fares on Europe’s largest flight network, with a commitment to continuing to deliver the best customer service which has resulted in 97% of passengers confirming they will fly with Ryanair again.”
- Ryanair – When Customer Service Goes Down The Toilet
“Ryanair’s latest wheeze to charge for their inflight toilets is the latest in an unofficial socio-economic experiment being run by the company. To what level can they continue to strip customer service out of the system before people will stop buying their cheap tickets? Just how badly do customers want to get to destinations for next to nothing?”
- How Ryanair succeeds with poor customer service
“What happens when a company is known for poor and sometimes rude customer service, misleading advertising, and an exclusive focus on profit margins? If it’s Ryanair, a low-cost European airline, it does very well.”
- Ryanair – a branded customer experience?
“The online travel guide TripAdvisor recently polled 4000 of its members and the Irish discount carrier was singled out as the one that members liked the least. Probably most of us have experienced or know someone who has experienced, the cattle truck experience that is typical of Ryanair. But does that matter?”