Ryanair customer service offensive fails to boost perception

Ryanair’s recent attempts to improve its customer service have so far failed to translate into shift in perceptions of the brand, with the airline coming in the bottom three in a list of 100 brands rated for customer service by consumer group Which?.

Ryanair Press ads
Ryanair press ads on display at the airline’s ‘experience event’ on 26 March.

Ryanair has been on a customer service offensive since it was forced to issue a profit warning last year. That has included a revamp of its website to make the booking process easier, the introduction of allocated seating and a second carry-on bag and a cut in fees.

It also launched an ad campaign announcing “we’re changing”.

However, the airlines scored just 59 per cent in the survey, which ranked brands across metrics such as whether customers felt valued, their product service and knowledge and ability to resolve complaints. Ryanair managed to scored only two stars out of a possible five across all these areas.

That left it in 98th position in the overall rankings, ahead of just Scottish Power and Npower. That is a slightly improvement on last year, when it was bottom, but leaves it well behind other airlines such as Easyjet and British Airways, which scored 72 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.

Well-publicised billing problems at both Scottish Power and Npower resulted in them fall down the rankings to last place. Which? said it found that both suppliers kept its researchers waiting for more than 10 minutes on average when they called with queries or complaints.

It was a bad year overall for the big energy companies, with none making it out of the bottom fifth of the total and all managing to score just two stars for making customers feel valued.

At the other end of the table, First Direct overtook Lush to take the top spot with a score of 87 per cent, easily beating the big banks such as Santander, Natwest and Barclays which managed scores of just 70 per cent. Despite having no high street presence, First Direct was the only bank to achieve the full five stars for making customer feel valued, with Which? citing its helpful and effective staff for the big difference.

Lush once again topped the list of retailers, while Waitrose was the most popular supermarket. The Co-operative slipped 13 places to 91st, putting it behind Lidl for the first time as wider problems at the group impacted customer perceptions.

The top 5 brands for customer service

1. First Direct 87%

2. Lush 86%

3= John Lewis83%

3= Lakeland 83%

3= Waitrose 83%

The worst 5 brands for customer service

94= SSE/BT/EE 64%

97. TalkTalk 63%

98. Ryanair 59%

99. Scottish Power 58%

100. Npower 54%

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