Friday, 15 November 2013

Ryanair cuts baggage and boarding pass fees in bid to improve customer service

Ryanair has followed up its pledge to “not unnecessarily piss people off” by trimming some of its most excessive charges, this consists of baggage fees and penalties for not printing a boarding pass.

The initial actual measures announced from the time when chief executive Michael O’Leary completed a Damascene change to better customer service will also comprise more tolerance of slight booking errors, less irritating announcements onboard and permitting passengers a second small piece of hand luggage with them on the plane.

Ryanair said that, after extensive customer feedback on its website, it would introduce several improvements over the next six months.

Customers will almost immediately be capable to look for for flights online without having to enter security codes, and will have 24 hours’ grace to correct minor errors, like spellings of names and routings, in bookings.

Airline will make only safety announcements on early morning and late evening flights, rather than the current barrage of sales pitches and marketing, and dim the cabin lights.

From December, only for customers who have already checked in online boarding card reissue fees will be cut from €70 or £70 to €15 or £15 while those who forget will still pay the standard fine. Airport bag fees for luggage put in the hold will be halved to €30 or £30 at the bag drop desk in January.

O’Leary, who this week overcame his previous disdain for social media toengage directly with customers on Twitter, said: “As we implement our plans to grow from 80 million to over 110 million customers per annum over the next five years, we are actively listening and responding to our customers.”

He put that philosophy into practice to mixed effect on Friday afternoon in his second foray on to Twitter, where despite his recent pledge to tone down the Irish airline’s “macho” image, he informed customers that he kept fit via “Tantric sex. Works for Sting … n’ me!”, repeatedly plugged the airline’s calendar featuring undressed female cabin crew and eventually signed off saying it was time for “3pm cocktails, dancing girls”.

Ryanair’s customer service director, Caroline Green, said: “As some of these policy changes will require website changes and staff retraining, we will be rolling them out over the next few months as we strive to further improve Europe’s No 1 customer service airline.”

She added that if customers should make had other suggestions and feedback on the changes by going, they should make them online. This corresponded to an important adjustment from preceding attitudes to online customer feedback, when a customer who created a Facebook page to complaint at spending hundreds of euros for her family’s boarding passes to be reissued was derided as “so stupid” by O’Leary for her “fuck-up”. On the other hand, O’Leary’s belief that every publicity was good publicity materialized to be shaken by shareholders at the airline’s yearly meeting in September who told him that the negative image required to be addressed.

Ever since, O’Leary has employed the word “sorry” surprisingly frequently. He told the Guardian this week that there was “a mistaken belief that I’m a tough guy. I’m like a little caramel crisp”.

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