You are on page 1of 12



The aim of this report is to analyse Ryanair’s current service culture and
provide a new strategy to refocus the Ryanair brand to make it more
customer-focused and family friendly.

In 1971, Southwest Airlines revolutionised air travel with its low fares and
strong focus on customer service. Ryanair used Southwest’s innovative
business model and have become very successful. Today it operates
across 26 countries and carries more international passengers than any
other airline in the world (73 million passengers in 2010/11) On the other
hand, unlike Southwest Airlines, Ryanair did not consider focusing on
customer service. They have a very poor reputation in this area
(Euromonitor International, March 2009). Even though Ryanair holds its
dominant position in the market and continues to increase its revenues
every year, this will have a negative effect on its success in the long term.

As management consultants we will try to draw a broader picture of
Ryanair’s service culture and provide recommendations to make it more

2.Current service culture problems within Ryanair

According to Kaufman (2000), a strong service culture exists when the
employees are committed to valuing the customer and also valuing each
other. This means they are more likely to help each other to get the job
done more successfully and support the success of their colleagues. They
also have a positive attitude towards the customer which will help them
react efficiently when there is a problem or an unexpected request which
will result in a better service experience for the customer. On the other
hand, a weak service culture exists if there are not common shared values
in the organisation and this will result in feelings of instability and a lack of
trust among the employees. These employees may not know how to react
as well to different situations and requests from the customer. They are
more likely to quit because of a low level of job satisfaction. These
negative attitudes would damage the perceived service quality and,
overall, would damage the organisation itself in the long term (Grönross,
2007). As Ryanair undervalues their employees, we can say that there is a
weak service culture existing within the company. Having a high level of
employee turnover can be taken as evidence for that.

2.1.Poor working conditions & unmotivated staff
Ryanair does not motivate their employees and poor work conditions
result in low morale among the staff. For example, pilots and cabin crew
have to work for long hours without taking a break. According to
International Transport Workers’ Federation report, some cabin crew work
six one way flights a day in twelve hours and some even work these shifts

but this is not guaranteed. In Ryanair’s defence. the company does not recognise trade unions and employees are under pressure not to join (www. it is sometimes believed that employees "prefer direct negotiation because it has brought higher pay. Although pilots and the cabin crew work very hard. • I hate the way they treat us: “We have to squeeze cabin crew like lemons”…. better job security and better conditions”. rapid promotions.000 for their own training and they are not paid salary during this period. 2. There are some examples of Ryanair employees’ opinions which can reflect Ryanair’s negative attitudes to their employees (http://www. airport ID and meals (see appendix 4) as well as training expenses. According to the ITF. in this case. This can result in them being stressed. they are still underpaid. exhausted and dissatisfied.2. it has been reported by ITF that trainee pilots have to pay £60.” ( Ryanair trainee pilot) It can clearly be seen that. In addition to days in a row. We don’t have any rights in this company….itfglobal. the cabin crew are expected to pay for their own 2 . For example.Low Salaries Even though Ryanair claims that they pay the best salary. Really? We should be free to choose if we want a union and not be scared to join one…. According to ITF’s survey. Ryanair provides their employees poor working conditions.independent. Ryanair was accused of forcing their employees to agree on new contracts. the reality is different. The staff cannot be expected to provide a good customer service in these working conditions. this does not seem to be the truth (www.” (cabin crew) • All I ask for is fair conditions and respect for the fact I’m a skilled individual and contribute hugely to their success and in return I get nothing. They pay this money as they hope it will result in them earning a high salary after they qualify. EasyJet staff earn better than Ryanair’s.

2006) shows that their training programme is very poor.3 Recruitment methods and Training It seems like Ryanair follows the normal procedure for recruitment (advertising. as well as exhausted employees who complain about the long working hours. Having a strong service culture will help the company to match their customer’s expectations and even do more. they must create a strong service culture within their own company.2. Ryanair needs to understand that having a strong service culture is very important for an organisation because. The highlighted service culture problems urgently need to be fixed. how dirty the planes are. interviewing and training the successful candidates) but the documentary which is called “Ryanair caught napping” (Channel 4. Otherwise it would affect Ryanair’s success and effectiveness in the long term. • Customers have rising expectations: Due to competition. Additionally. • Staff perform better and work better: When employees work in organisation where the culture is very strong (the staff know each 3 . All these resulted in poor performance and work results. customers expect more from companies that they use than they had before. • There is a high degree of competition: For a company to attract new customers. the documentary also shows how safety and security checks are inadequate. as well as stopping their existing customers from going to organizations with a better service culture.

They can use behavioural tests in the interview process to ensure that a candidate's attitudes and actions match with the organisation’s service goals. the change cannot be achieved. a change like this can complicated and can require “long-range activity programmes”. This will help the organisation keep its good staff and also attract talented people to join. To create a customer centric approach they should make it clear on their advertisements and during the interview that good customer service is a priority and is everyone's responsibility. • Improves profitability: good customer service attracts more loyal customers which would result in higher margin and greater market share (Kaufman. they naturally will have a higher level of job satisfaction which will result in better performance.1 Developing a Service focused strategy First of all the service concept needs to be well defined. First of all they should hire the right people. Moreover. The employees should clearly understand organisation’s objectives. Compared with other airlines. 3. 2007). They also say that after six months employees MAY be offered a position directly employed by Ryanair but no position with the company is guaranteed. employees feel insecure in their position which can result in them feeling undervalued and not committed to Ryanair or its objectives. 2007. Ryanair also has one of the longest probation periods (appendix2). on the careers section of the Ryanair website. organisational. applicants are offered a fixed term contract for 3 years with a Cabin Crew agency who are contracted to supply cabin crew to them. HRM needs to change their recruitment & training process. Employees should feel that they have a good chance of becoming full Ryanair employees. HRM needs to work with 4 . However.Organisational Actions Needed for ‘Cultural Change’ & ‘Customer-Centric Approach’ Ryanair needs to change their view of service culture and start to serve customers’ needs rather than its own. management and knowledge and attitude requirements”. their own goals and responsibilities (Grönross. Because of this. other very well and help each other to succeed). According to Grönross’ suggestions I will demonstrate the steps that Ryanair needs to take. 2000) 3. According to Grönross. p421) He further suggests that if one of the requirements is not applied. So it is very important that the company is careful to pay attention to each requirement. (Grönross. “the requirements for good service are strategic.

3. Employee empowerment is very important for service recovery because they should be able to solve the problems or know how to react if there is an unexpected request from the customer. 3. Ryanair is not seen as having a friendly or caring attitude to their customers. The new rewards system should not be based on just financial results as it is now. this would be a problem. Employees who view their managers as being honest and trusting are more committed and satisfied in their job (Paswan et al. His attitude to the employees is not very caring either and people have criticised his “aggressive management style”(Julien et al. 2005) and. 3. Additionally.focused performance. The cabin crew are the closest personnel to the customers. They need to be supported to get more responsibility and should perform more independently.employees on their career development plan. 2004) Therefore. If the manager is not aware of the importance of strong service culture. Additionally. according to Grönross (2007) this can be achieved through open and free communication between employees and managers and through effective feedback. 2006). Just because a customer feels they have got a good deal.2 Developing the organisational structure The organisational structure should not be complicated and should allow the employees to be a part of decision making. This actually reflects O’Leary’s perception that customers have no right to feel angry about bad service as they pay a lot less than with other airlines. employees need to give information to the managers about customer’s needs or problems. to develop a service-focused management within the company. They should encourage the staff and motivate them for service. they will not necessarily feel that they should be treated any worse than if they had paid more. It is very clear that he is not aware of the importance of the customer service. the staff should be encouraged for team spirit & good customer service (Suff and Reilly. we recommend Ryanair should change their CEO (O’Leary). good service should be recognised with a reward system which will encourage them and they will realise the importance of good service.3 Developing a service-focused leadership Managers should be supportive to the employees and be able to communicate with them effectively.4Effective training programmes The cabin crew has to be aware of the company’s culture and the objectives to have a greater understanding of their role as the public face 5 . ”Openness and trust” are very important motivating factors.

they charge £5 pound for every transaction using a bank card. This makes Ryanair appear dishonest and the customers feel cheated. They should make everyone feel comfortable and motivated in helping the customers. If the cabin crew are not motivated for service-focused thinking. but the media coverage generated by their aggressive and innovative campaigns is worth 5 million euro. First of all they need to change their strategy and give accurate 6 .Corporate Communication Ryanair’s communication is very direct and can often cause controversy. Moreover. like O’Leary. They also use comparative advertising by comparing their prices with other airlines to make their competition look bad. “We are soooooo sorry Sabena”(Guardian. advertising gives promises to the customer and if the information is not true this will affect experienced service and will have a negative effect on the perceived quality in the long term. For example in 2001. 4. but it will have a negative effect on Ryanairs’ brand image in the long term. These all have a negative impact on experienced service and customer dissatisfaction occurs. one of their advertisements used a picture of the Manneken Pis and used the words “pissed off with Sabena’s high fares”. Their marketing budget is not large and sophisticated. 2009). according to O’Leary (Julien et al. However. 2001).for the company. They do not employ an agency for advertising. These cases make the company seem aggressive and unwilling to apologise when they have been wrong and customers may feel that this is also how they will be treated by Ryanair. They should provide employees a good quality customer service training which helps them realise the importance of how they can affect the customer’s view of the company. Customers very often end up paying a lot more than they originally expected. £ 40 for printing out a boarding card at the airport and £100 for changing the name of a booking online (Millward. Therefore. Ryanair had to apologise in Belgian newspaper but even this was confrontational as they used the words. There have been numerous other comparative and misleading advisements. their attitudes would cause poor service quality. the attitude of these staff is very important and must be shaped by an effective training process. A customer’s view of a company is affected by the way that they are treated by staff. Ryanair’s training programme is very poor and needs to be developed. The court decided that the advertisement was misleading and offensive. 2004). Ryanair seems like they offer fares which are about 50% cheaper than Easyjet. This may be good for them now as it raises awareness of their company.

service process need to be considered as well because the customer has a crucial role in this process. the cabin crew should be dressed nicely and should be kind to the customer. They can only create favourable conditions for a brand image to develop in customer’s mind” (Grönross. That is why. the appearance and attitude of the cabin crew is very important. Additionally. the customer will feel tricked if they do something wrong. Their visual brand is powerful and recognisable from the orange colour logo. they should inform the customers about the situation. Marketers cannot do that. 2007). simple brand image. Apart from advertising and internet activities. • The cabin crew should have a nice look to reflect the new image.Relaunching the New and Improved “Customer-Centric” Airline Ryanair needs to change its negative brand image in customer perception through relaunching. another issue is ignoring customer complaints. If items like terms and conditions are not easy to find and understand. On the other hand. Logo also needs to be considered and should reflect company’s new image and give a pleasant message to the customer. will remind the customer of its bad reputation and therefore. If there is a problem. If they do not know what the problem is. First of all they need to consider the issues like name and logo. Ryanair. Ryanair should improve their databases. If there is a problem. There should not be any delayed answers to the emails. Customers view them as good value for money and honest. Their uniform should be changed. as they are not the only factors contributing the brand. Also they should focus on redesigning their website to make this information as easy to access as possible. EasyJet has a strong. How they behave or their appearance can have a positive or negative effect on communication. As Grönross suggests “ If anyone can build a brand. they should not give incorrect information and should be honest and keep customers updated (Grönroos. it is the customer. 5 . ✔ For example.information to the customer. Moreover. the company’s name should be changed. p329) Therefore Ryanair needs to focus on product messages and service messages to relaunch themselves • Its name. 2007. planes. 7 . they should respond quickly and efficiently. they should record information on their customers and keep their contact details.

Significant Benefits of the Changes As we mentioned earlier. the Ryanair website feels cluttered and hard to use. they should increase their marketing budget to allow them to use a specialist advertising agency. they need to focus on email contact opportunities. • Their advertising strategy should also be changed. To achieve this. It is very important to respond to the customer complaints quickly. Email promotions to registered customers should also be adjusted to suit this new image and should be used more regularly to build business. Furthermore. 6. The right font &size. In addition to its visual design. In comparison to easyjet. personal attention to the customer. uniform from the rest of the Easygroup companies. usability and accuracy is very important. The benefits of these changes will be that. Ryanair will build a more loyal customer base who are not just attracted by low fares. (Euromonitor International. the recruitment campaigns and processes should be changed to attract more customer service focused people. in time. employees will be satisfied and motivated which will result in better performance and therefore better 8 . ✔ It can still be funny and innovative (attracting valuable) but they should try to appear less aggressive as this has a bad effect on customer perception. • Access to information should be easy ✔ They need to change their website. They should also change their policy on probation so that these people feel secure and satisfied in their jobs and are confident that they can succeed. their attitudes and behaviours will have a positive effect on relaunching the new brand) ✔ Customer service skills needs to be improved by training and communication(friendliness. right colour scheme need to be chosen. there is a high degree of competition in the airline industry. June 2009) • The company should improve the quality of their employees (cabin crew are the part time marketers. It is becoming difficult to keep your customers and deliver their rising expectations. Moreover. body language) ✔ Employees attitude needs to be improved by rewards& empowerment& team work ✔ To attract these people.

C. D (2009).co.Travel and Tourism – World. and D. feedback-seeking orientation and motivation among front-line employees of a service organization” . both companies are also known for a strong focus on customer service while still maintaining profit (Euromonitor International. “Service Management and Marketing: Customer Management in Service Competition”. References • Euromonitor International. (2009): Global Company Profile: Southwest Airlines Co . (2004) “RYANAIR Flying Cheaper and Cheaper”.. Vol. Ryanair-to-charge-for-online-check-in. Chichester • Julien A. pp3-12 • Suff P. A.19. Telegraph • practices-at. We believe that improving service quality through cultural change which will bring them more loyal customers will enable them to maintain its growth and to have higher margin and greater market share in the long term.L (2005) “Perceived managerial sincerity. Mathelin.service experience for the customer.1. Ron Kaufman Pte Ltd • Millward.. John Wiley & ansportintheuk 9 .itfglobal. S. Quellet R. European Case Clearing House • Kaufman. March • Euromonitor International. Pelton L. January 2009). (2006) “Selling Rewards Paying for performance in your sales force” Brighton: Institute for Employement Studies • ryanair-52908.Travel and Tourism – World. Significant benefits of having strong service culture and customer centric approach can also be seen from airlines such as Southwest and more recently • http://www. (2000). Although now Ryanair is more profitable than Southwest and Easyjet. (2007). January • Grönroos.independent. They will lose their reputation for poor customer service and have a stronger and more recognisable brand and can position themselves better in this market. June • Euromonitor International . (2009): Global Company Profile: easyGroup Ltd . As well as offering low • http://www.html • http://www. Up your service.Travel andTourism – World. it is very unlikely to maintain its success in the long term. (2009) Global Company Profile: Ryanair Holdings Plc .Journal of Services Marketing.. Reilly P.E.

APPENDICES Appendix 1 10 .

Appendix2 Appendix 3 Appendix 4 11 .

12 .