It Pays to be Nice

November 1, 2015 • Commentary, Marketing & Consumers, STRATEGY & MANAGEMENT

From the Editors

Ryanair’s 32% jump in their first-half year profits for this year is said to be down to Ryanair being nice to its customers say, Michael O’Leary, the CEO of the budget airline. Michael O’Leary
now claims that “If I had known being nicer to customers was going to work so well, I would have started many years ago.”

Because of the success of Ryanair, it was difficult to find an argument to say Michael O’Leary is not a good example of customer care, when customer care boiled down to simply – give them low cost flights and if anyone has any problems – shoot them in the mouth.

It should not be forgotten that O’Leary and Ryanair had built a fortune on its nastiness – in the early years of Ryanair, he was reputed to have said such things like – “People say the customer is always right, but you know what – they’re not. Sometimes they are wrong and they need to be told so.” “You’re not getting a refund so fuck off. We don’t want to hear your sob stories. What part of ‘no refund’ don’t you understand?”

Complaints to Ryanair were well in excess of 100,000 a year which it claims are now down by 40% because of its new found niceness which followed two profit warnings in late 2013.

But the rethink was forced by a profit warning which in turn was forced by the internet. Consumers no longer have to rely on budget airlines for lower prices, the internet opened the door – Ryanair did not see it coming!

In the age of a combination of social media and internet technologies and economic downturns, it pays even more to be nicer.

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