Customer Service and Cabin Crew

Topics: Customer service, Southwest Airlines, Ryanair Pages: 9 (3327 words) Published: November 13, 2010
The aim of this report is to analyse Ryanair’s current service culture and provide a new strategy to refocus the Ryanair brand to make it more customer-focused and family friendly. In 1971, Southwest Airlines revolutionised air travel with its low fares and strong focus on customer service. Ryanair used Southwest’s innovative business model and have become very successful. Today it operates across 26 countries and carries more international passengers than any other airline in the world (73 million passengers in 2010/11) On the other hand, unlike Southwest Airlines, Ryanair did not consider focusing on customer service. They have a very poor reputation in this area (Euromonitor International, March 2009). Even though Ryanair holds its dominant position in the market and continues to increase its revenues every year, this will have a negative effect on its success in the long term. As management consultants we will try to draw a broader picture of Ryanair’s service culture and provide recommendations to make it more profitable. 2.Current service culture problems within Ryanair

According to Kaufman (2000), a strong service culture exists when the employees are committed to valuing the customer and also valuing each other. This means they are more likely to help each other to get the job done more successfully and support the success of their colleagues. They also have a positive attitude towards the customer which will help them react efficiently when there is a problem or an unexpected request which will result in a better service experience for the customer. On the other hand, a weak service culture exists if there are not common shared values in the organisation and this will result in feelings of instability and a lack of trust among the employees. These employees may not know how to react as well to different situations and requests from the customer. They are more likely to quit because of a low level of job satisfaction. These negative attitudes would damage the perceived service quality and, overall, would damage the organisation itself in the long term (Grönross, 2007). As Ryanair undervalues their employees, we can say that there is a weak service culture existing within the company. Having a high level of employee turnover can be taken as evidence for that. 2.1.Poor working conditions & unmotivated staff

Ryanair does not motivate their employees and poor work conditions result in low morale among the staff. For example, pilots and cabin crew have to work for long hours without taking a break. According to International Transport Workers’ Federation report, some cabin crew work six one way flights a day in twelve hours and some even work these shifts seven days in a row. This can result in them being stressed, exhausted and dissatisfied. The staff cannot be expected to provide a good customer service in these working conditions. There are some examples of Ryanair employees’ opinions which can reflect Ryanair’s negative attitudes to their employees ( * I hate the way they treat us: “We have to squeeze cabin crew like lemons”…. Really? We should be free to choose if we want a union and not be scared to join one…. We don’t have any rights in this company….” (cabin crew) * All I ask for is fair conditions and respect for the fact I’m a skilled individual and contribute hugely to their success and in return I get nothing.” ( Ryanair trainee pilot) It can clearly be seen that, Ryanair provides their employees poor working conditions. According to the ITF, the company does not recognise trade unions and employees are under pressure not to join ( Additionally, Ryanair was accused of forcing their employees to agree on new contracts. In Ryanair’s defence, it is sometimes believed that employees "prefer direct negotiation because it has brought higher pay, rapid promotions, better job security and better conditions”. However, in this case, this does...
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