To tell or not to tell

Published by Tony Quinlan on

An interesting issue has come up for me recently while flying Ryanair.  I’m a regular flyer with easyjet and, to a lesser extent, Ryanair and find the differences between the two very telling.  One of those key differences is that Ryanair rarely announce delayed flights in the departure lounge, and tend to underestimate any delays they do announce.

For me, this breaks one of the key trust-builders in any relationship – communicating with people when you have information that effects them.  On the basis of the principle alone, that drops my opinion of them markedly.

Where I come unstuck is that they clearly think it works.  By not telling passengers (and not having any Ryanair staff in the departure lounge) they limit the amount of irritation that comes their way.

I hate to admit it, but it does seem effective in the short-term.  I wonder whether this also limits damage to their reputation as never being late.  (Not accurate in my experience, but still the differentiator that people point to versus their budget rivals.)  If passengers are typically going on holiday, rather than trying to meet specific appointments, does the delay go un-noticed?

It does, however, undermine any degree of trust and relationship with their customers.  Meaning they have little to fall back on, relying instead on pure cost issues to attract customers.  It puts a lot of pressure on them – requiring that they ensure that no-one ever gets the drop on them for cost and that they keep paring costs to the bone.

Short-term it’s clearly working, for all that I don’t like it.  Long-term, it’s a risky strategy.


Categories: Communications