Departure board of cancelled flights

Ryanair is a lesson about brand for all businesses

Les Jones Marketing and Design Leave a Comment

The low-cost airline, Ryanair, cancelled 40-50 flights a day in September, giving their customers as little as 24 hours’ notice. They say it’s a decision that had to be taken because of poor management and holiday planning leading to a lack of pilot availability through September and October.

Other reports say that the decision was driven by Ryanair’s desire to boost their ‘arrived on-time’ percentage which had fallen below 80%. Either way, it’s a shocking decision that affected over 400,000 passengers who had booked their flights in good faith and had to cope with stressful and upsetting situations not of their making.

Holidays were cancelled or delayed, passengers struggled to get back home from trips abroad, special occasions were missed and important business meetings did not take place.  As a consequence of Ryanair’s decision, huge costs will have been incurred in additional stays in hotels or the booking of alternative flights. Only a small percentage of those affected will receive compensation from the airline.

The reputational damage to Ryanair, already seen by many as the company where the first price you see is never the final price, will be immense.

How many of those affected will be rushing back to book more flights with Ryanair? How many more of those not affected will trust Ryanair to deliver on their promises in the future? Not me, for one.

It is all about trust

Successful brands are built on trust, and once that trust is gone, it’s a long way back for any business – large corporate or small dental practice.

Your brand is your reputation – it’s how people talk about you when you’re not about – and how you act affects what those people will be saying. Are there occasions when you are letting your patients down – through late running or cancelled appointments, or through poor or impersonal service perhaps? If so, how do you think those people are talking about their experience to friends and relatives?

“Successful brands are built on trust, and once that trust is gone, it’s a long way back for any business – large corporate or small dental practice.”

Research shows that only one in ten people who feel like complaining actually complain – the rest leave without saying a word, only to then talk at length to others about how dissatisfied they were with the service they received.

Speak to your team about how you would like patients to be talking about their experience once they are outside of the practice and then ask what you would need to be doing, how you would need to act to make those comments a reality.

“Research shows that only one in ten people who feel like complaining actually complain – the rest leave without saying a word, only to then talk at length to others about how dissatisfied they were with the service they received.”

When you aspire and commit to consistently exceeding your patients’ expectations, really interesting and exciting things happen; the working day becomes more enjoyable and fulfilling, the culture of the practice becomes more positive and supportive, and income and profits start to rise.

There’s nothing not to like!

Ryanair’s appalling management failure and its resulting impact on their customers will undoubtedly lead to a financial crash landing. The lessons are clear for all businesses to learn from – big or small.

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