Ryanair charm offensive helps boost purchase intent

Ryanair’s focus on customer service is having a positive effect, with consumer perceptions improving and the likelihood of making a purchase on the up.


The budget airline has introduced a swathe of improvements, including the removal of the Recaptcha security code from the Ryanair website and the introduction of “quiet” flights. Yesterday (1 December), the airline also began letting passengers travel with a small second carry-on bag and cut its boarding card reissue fees and it is looking to hire its first marketing director.

Figures from YouGov’s Brand Index show that Buzz, a measure of the positive and negative things said about a brand, is up more than 12 points since 19 September, the day before its first announcement about the measures it is taking to improve service. Over the last 30 days, that number rose 4.8 points to -24.1, making it one of the top Buzz improvers across all sectors. 

The more positive buzz around the company is slowly filtering through to propensity to buy. Consideration, whether a customer would consider choosing Ryanair when next buying airline tickets, is up 3.2 points to 16.7 since 19 September.

Purchase intent rose to 4.3, from 3.8, moving Ryanair into sixth place in the airline rankings.

Despite the improvements, Ryanair still languishes at the bottom of the airline rankings for almost every other metric, from reputation to satisfaction, impression to quality. It suggests customers are listening as it tries to shake off its image as the nasty airline but that it will take time to see these changes filter across Ryanair to areas such as staff training.

The moves to improve customer perceptions followed growing criticism from both customers and shareholders over its poor customer service. While previously this hadn’t been a concern due its strong growth, Ryanair issued its first profit warning in nearly 10 years in September as the number of people booking flights for the autumn fell.

It followed that up with a second profit warning last month, cautioning that its profits are likely to drop for the first time in five years.

It is also facing increased competition in the European market. Main rival EasyJet has made a number of moves to boost its brand position, including offering flexible tickets and allocated seating, and launching its “Generation EasyJet” marketing activity aimed at showing the diversity of its customer base.

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