Trade-off: No Frills, No Thrills

On my recent vacation I had cause to use Ryanair for the first time ever. Here was an opportunity to be impressed. Now one may think that you pay for what you get with a low cost airline such as Ryanair, but really...has it come to this? I did not expect the frills and the pomp and ceremony, but I did not expect what I got either. The check-in process was terrifyingly bad, long and torturous, and then of course, how can we forget on the in-flight antics. For the entire 2 hour flight, Ryanair hawked Ryanair related products and specials and while I recognise they have to make a buck somewhere, should it really be to the detriment of passengers? It was unbearable. It was non-stop promotion and if you were on the brink of a meltdown, this would have sent you over the edge.

I think the opportunity is there to stand out not just for less expensive fares, but also for great service and great value for money. I also think that while Ryanair's profits may be soaring and they are doing well financially, the total lack of frills experience may not be able to sustain them forever. Customers loyalty is not born out of financial competitiveness, but it also comes from a deeper emotional place, where the individual can articulate his or her experience with a brand into loyalty and ultimately consumerism. I would probably use Ryanair again, for the cost benefits, in a peak period. But I don't foresee myself becoming a Ryanair groupie. How then will the Ryanair brand grow without that deep emotional, experiential connection between itself and its customers? My experiential connection is certainly not a good one.

And let's face facts, if and when the economic environment improves, would customers be willing to put up with no-frills service to save a couple dollars, if there were other options available? Would you? And would airlines such as Ryanair be in a position, where they have cemented their brand in the no-frills niche, to up the ante in terms of their customer service without a substantial economic impact on the company or on customers' pockets, which have grown accustomed to lower than normal fares?

3 comments:

Shala said...

Ryanair does not have a reputation for customer service just profit margins. They are also planning to charge passengers to use the onboard loo with coin-operated toilets. Next they may charge for the right to walk up the stairs to the plane too!

trinidarlin said...

This is my point though. How long can they sustain just being the preferred provider based solely on cost?

Dave Berning said...

Good Point.. We need lesson like this to so we can learn what not to do in our own business..LinkedIn Friend

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