One of the companies that is often discussed when it comes for its lack of customer centricity is discount airline Ryanair. It is clear that Ryanair does things differently than Southwest Airlines. The question is whether that is right or wrong.
Ryanair is a budget airline, and it makes no secret of it. If you want to fly from one place to another, there are few companies as competitively priced as Ryanair. Tickets are cheap and everything you want extra (e.g., extra luggage or a specific seat on the plane), you have to pay extra for. Ryanair also secures extra income from the sale of suitcases, insurance, mobile telephone subscriptions and rental cars.
Although Ryanair’s profits recently fell for the first time in five years, the company makes a profit that many other companies would be jealous of. The profit decline appears to be due to rising fuel prices, not a decline in passengers. On the contrary, the number of passengers who choose to fly with Ryanair continues to rise. Last year, more than 80 million people travelled with the price fighter.
How about the customer experience? Let’s look at what customers are saying. A survey of 20,000 Ryanair customers in 2012 shows that:
1. 92% of customers say they will fly with Ryanair again
2. 87% say they will recommend Ryanair
3. 86% say they are satisfied with Ryanair
4. 92% say they get value for money.
These are compelling figures.
Ryanair’s success in passenger numbers, customer satisfaction and profitability can be explained by the clear choice of Ryanair’s main customer promise: a competitive price. The customer knows what to expect from Ryanair and, just as importantly, what not. This works. Ryanair may not be particularly kind to her customers. Ryanair may not pamper them. Ryanair may not surprise them with free extras. Ryanair may not excel in customer service. Ryanair excels in clarity at one point: price. Period. The figures show that many customers see the value and also appreciate it. Being more customer-centric is hardly possible.