< Case Study: Ryanair >
Table of Contents
Ways to Improve the Ryanair’s Long-Term Customer Service, Identity, Image, and Brand
How to Gain Positive Publicity
Development of a Strong Corporate Reputation Beyond 2016
Conclusion and Recommendations
One of the most economical airline companies, Ryanair, has a wider reach as compared to its competitors in the European airline industry. During the year 2015, 90.5 million people availed of the air services of this airline service provider. This number is nearly 10 per cent more than the previous year’s (2014) record (Beesley, 2015). However, a large number of reports and several business news articles have found Ryanair as one of the critiqued airline services in the Europe. In addition to this, a majority of customers state that the quality of the communication channels and other services of Ryanair is not up to the mark (The Telegraph, 2013). The customers are also seen criticising the company regarding its uncompromising administration, delay in handling customers and luggage allowance. Likewise, the company has been accused of lack of transparency when it comes to pricing strategy and its insurance and refund policies.
One can find different reputational problems at Ryanair, such as low degree of responsibility, cold shoulder to customer satisfaction, frustrating booking process, snobbish corporate behaviour, and so on that cause damage the image of this company. In fact, a large number of regular customers record their complaints and convey the problems faced by them while on board in strong language on various social websites, like Facebook and Twitter, because of the company’s inability to provide comprehensive mobile app related to business processes and acceptable customer service (The Telegraph, 2013).
Hence, this paper will discuss how the CEO of Ryanair can improve the company’s long-term customer service, identity, image, and brand and receive the positive publicity. It will also include the development of strong corporate reputation and recommendation aimed at benefitting from enhancing long-term strategic corporation for the reputation management in general.
It is true that Ryanair’s been a key player in the European region (Chun, 2005). Its business model turning around “lowest air fare” receives ample business from the European market, irrespective of the poor business culture and imbalanced business operations. Ryanair’s statistics regarding revenue, profit and number of users of its services also top the chart.
Nonetheless, one can see diverse credibility issues or reputational problems in Ryanair’s business model (The Telegraph, 2013). For instance, Ryanair’s rigidity and unreasonableness with reference to luggage allowance, delay in handling patrons, poor communication and behaviour towards the customers, overconfident business culture, frustrating booking process and so on, are some of the examples of this company’s reputational problems, which are also echoed in different surveys and customer feedback (Beesley, 2015). Therefore, Michael O’Leary, being a CEO of this company, he has to work hard to rectify the company’ reputation and should give a boost to the customer service, identity, image, and brand of this company to make it more admired among the customers.
The world is rapidly experiencing heavy rivalry in every domain. So, in this cutthroat age of the business, aimed at enhancing the customer service, Michael O’Leary, as a CEO, he has to keep the long picture in the mind. As this company is reproached for ineffectual customer service, primarily, he has to develop the culture of “thick skin” in which he has to teach his employees to home in on customers’ happiness in simple as well as complex conditions. Besides, unambiguous communication, consistency in each business operation, agreeable work ethics, adaptability in daily professional engagements, stress on the criticized touch points, deliberation on shared interests (stakeholders as well as business aspects), solutions to the issues raised by customers and so on, can be some of the immediate steps to be taken in order to better customer service (Eccles et al., 2007)
On the other hand, for the healthier customer service for a long time period, the CEO should understand that such credibility or reputation denting customer service could hurt the organisation to a greater extent. If he wants to refresh the business and improve upon customer service additionally, through a third party or he should find out basic and general problems regarding the customer service by becoming the customer and experiencing the critiqued customer service. Likewise, he has to make sure that he delivers the service what he promises. No cheating as experienced by regulars should be encouraged to enrich the business operations (Chun, 2005). For instance, when it comes to booking, luggage allowance, or reimbursement, the CEO should encourage employees not to include any hidden or unfair charges to customers (The Telegraph, 2013). Furthermore, as a CEO, he can provide “special service on special day” environment, such as unexpected discounts, free services or products, coupons or other assorted “WOW” moments to customers to retain them for a longer time.
Considering identity, brand and image, he needs to exercise the best leadership practice. Identity refers to sending the message to the stakeholders about a company’s image in general that can help them to achieve the corporate business. Hence, the best business services or products at lower prices will fetch voluminous business to the Ryanair. This in turn will facilitate stakeholders, such as Ryan family, the Irish air industry, trade union, airports, suppliers, creditors, and regular customers in a huge manner. However, aimed at improving identity, the CEO has to bring in consistency in commercial procedures and pricing, which can further boost the current reputation of the company, which are the core aspects need to be restored quickly (Erdem, 2010). The company’s management has to espouse a more tolerant and empathetic business structure to bring back the lost identity from the society. A watchful eye on the communication channel, business tasks, the execution of the tasks or responsibility, proper delegation of obligations, eradication of the current mistakes or flaws, and so on, are some ideas that can be easily implemented by the CEO, in order to implant the business identity in its real sense (Schwaiger, 2004).
Branding and Image are also important for attracting the loyalty of customers into the business (Creaton, 2004). As a leader, in truth, the CEO knows what it takes to build the image or brand of the company. To improve it, firstly, if he is not good at public relation, he has to hire another cordial face for the company. He should spend more time in tactical matters rather than in the role of the spokesperson. Secondly, he has to understand the power of the internet. So, he has to buckle down to disseminate positive image of the company by means of aggressive marketing to refute the existing and somewhat true assessments of this company. Aggressive advertising of the new services, additional perks of air travelling and positive atmosphere at Ryanair will also deepen the brand and image of the company through different ways (Sharp, 2010). If he is considering the business beyond 2016 truly, he has to put his positive foot ahead to eliminate the said reputational problems in a cogent and readily accessible fashion. In truth, branding and business image are crucial aspects, which can make or break the business in no time (Chun, 2005). So, he should figure out the variety of ways to fortify them.
Frequent controversial statements by the CEO of Ryanair, inconsistent pricing and assorted as well as one-sided penalties, refund issues, transparency problems on the subjects of travel insurance policies and refund, poor customer service, and so on, have discredited the image of Ryanair on a larger basis. Therefore, as being a CEO, he should zoom in on positive publicity in a more optimized and in a safer way to gain positive publicity for this company.
In fact, to gain or lift the positive publicity, to begin with, the CEO should keep the social media in the mind. Social media nowadays could yield huge rewards, if the marketing efforts are dedicated in the proper direction by means of taking target customers and surveys into consideration (Lunenburg, 2011). Bound for the positive publicity, he has to think through the array of options.
For example, he has to sponsor local events or festivals of the target customer. This will provide an inviting range of unique options for exposure of Ryanair’s financial aid to the society. Similarly, in order to raise the profile over the social media, he should hire a third party to improve Ryanair’s fame in the society. This can be done by finding out negativity spreading websites or portals and surveys. On these portals, he can increase positive feedbacks and reviews. Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites can be within reach or excellent vehicles to shoot up the company profile (Lunenburg, 2011). On the other hand, there are many review specific websites, where he can make the difference via advertisement of what is told to do to progress the customer services. Online newspaper syndicate and wire services can be another good way to gain the positive publicity as well. Likewise, in a very effective way, television and radio sponsored programs can also speed up the needed publicity in a huge style (Fombrun & Van Riel, 2004).
The Leadership can play an inclusive role to broadcast this philosophy. If employees are kept encouraging to be adamant over the rules, customers will definitely prefer rivals over Ryanair. In truth, Ryanair’s rivals, such as Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, Air France-KLM Group, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and EasyJet have already started getting the welcoming attention of the customers. For that reason, as a top leader, he needs to take some serious steps to regain positive and hailed status immediately, not to go away from the race (Chun, 2005).
From the business standpoint, it is said that reputation makes or breaks the business (Sharp, 2010). A good reputation helps the business in a multitude of means. Nevertheless, it takes time to build the positive company reputation. So, if the CEO keeps the future in the mind, he can make the difference by offering leadership of the best kind, which can further supplement the reputation well (Fombrun & Van Riel, 2004). In view of that, he has to be an enjoyable speaker so that people can have the confidence in the brand of Ryanair thoughtlessly. This will help in receiving amenable employee behaviour towards the customers. Next, customer centric focus as well as emphasis upon emotional appeal of the customers can solidify the reputation among all stakeholders as well (Schwaiger, 2004). Above and beyond, he should appreciate the reputation over the financial benefits (Lunenburg, 2011).
In fact, if Ryanair wants to cling to focus on “only ultra-low cost airline” status, it has to heighten the customer relations by providing the unsurpassed customer standards to the passengers, which is reflected in its vision statement. This company’s vision of “people fly for free” only can be achieved, if he, the CEO, caters the best business practices, devoid of deception and fraudulence. This can be done by being responsible and responsive in the crisis time, establishing an online presence, monitoring daily professional activities, keeping staff well-versed about the core philosophy of the business, and keeping vigilant eyes on the current state of affairs (Fombrun & Van Riel, 2004). To be sure, this will be beneficial for Ryanair to thrive the commercial ventures beyond 2016.
It can be concluded that Ryanair has to work out on its reputational problems. This can be done by redefining and revamping its identity, branding and image together with gaining positive publicity through abovementioned efforts. Proper communication and interactions with customers, fair pricing and business practices, reputation management, social media, suitable leadership, introduction of new services, all-encompassing employee management, and so on, can open doors for Ryanair’s CEO, Michael, to fix the said reputational problems to bring the business to a new height in the upcoming days.
To be brief, not only for Ryanair, strategic corporation reputation management is very crucial subject for any company. People heedlessly prefer the brand with a good reputation without considering its price and quality (Erdem, 2010). However, to reach at such stage, each company should get the head down to build, enrich and broadcast that positive image of the company across its target market to have sound and long-term business (Fombrun & Van Riel, 2004). In addition, each company should bolster its core identity and build a strong brand and image to outdistance rivals in this callous era of the competition. Alternatively, meant for strategic corporation reputation management, diverse partnership with NGOs and rival companies, immediate remedy to reputational threats, respect to the stakeholders’ concerns, and so on, can assist any organisation to enjoy the lion’s share in the market.
Beesley, A., 2015. Secretive Bilderberg group sets sights on Michael O’Leary. [Online] Available at: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/secretive-bilderberg-group-sets-sights-on-michael-o-leary-1.2119343 [Accessed 17 July 2016].
Chun, R., 2005. Corporate reputation: Meaning and measurement. International Journal of Management Reviews, 7(2), pp.91-109.
Creaton, S., 2004. Ryanair: How a small Irish airline conquered Europe. London: Aurum Press.
Eccles, R.G., Newquist, S.C. & Schatz, R., 2007. Reputation and Its Risks. [Online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2007/02/reputation-and-its-risks [Accessed 17 July 2016].
Erdem, F., 2010. Family Business Reputation: A Literature Review and Some Research Questions. Electronic Journal of Family Business Studies, 4(2), pp.133-46.
Fombrun, C.J. & Van Riel, C.B.M., 2004. Fame & Fortune: How Successful Companies Build Winning Reputations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Peason Education, Inc.
Lunenburg, F.C., 2011. Expectancy Theory of Motivation: Motivating by Altering. International Journal of Management, Business and Administration, 15(1), pp.1-6.
Schwaiger, M., 2004. Components And Parameters Of Corporate Reputation – An Empirical Study. Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), 1(46-71), p.56.
Sharp, B., 2010. How Brands Grow: what marketers don't know. London: Oxford University Press.
The Telegraph, 2013. Ryanair 'worst' brand for customer service. [Online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/ryanair/Ryanair-worst-brand-for-customer-service/ [Accessed 16 July 2016].