Last night’s Panorama investigation into the selling practices of Ryanair was interesting. Following the hour-long programme I was left thinking was there really a story here to tell. Ok, so the Ryanair website may not be the best at quickly flagging up the total cost of a flight ticket, but most of can eventually work it out. The airline operates a modern fleet of planes, offers cheaper fares than legacy airlines and has good punctuality. So what’s the real issue?
It’s Michael O’Leary
I think a lot of the reputational issues with Ryanair rest with Michael O’Leary, the Chief Executive. His relentless determination to drive down cost means that the subtle dynamic of dealing with people, is often lost. O’Leary’s philosophy with suppliers is ‘give me your best price or get lost’. Yes, he often delivers low fares for passengers, but does he really care about those passengers? When Ryanair head office staff are told not to charge their mobile phones at work has the low-cost mission gone too far?
It’s a salient lesson for all the people that are thinking of getting into the low-cost gym business. Deliver low-cost, but do it in a humble and respectful way that demonstrates that you care about people, regardless of how much, or little, they may be paying.
(picture shows O’Leary’s response to the Panorama investigation)