Why I am a fan of Ryan Air
I must admit that I’m a fan of Ryan Air. Not a really hard core fan. More a silent admirer of the company’s ability to cut the crap and focus on doing a few things better than everyone else.
Today Ryan Air is Europe’s biggest airline hosting more than 70 million passengers every year. In 2012 the company made a profit of 550 million Euro. However, in many ways the success of Ryan Air doesn’t make any sense if you listen to all the classic management books emphasising the correlation between success and delivering an outstanding customer experience. Ryan Air provides a mediocre customer experience and has even been named as UK’s worst family brand. So you may be asking yourself the same question as I have asked myself: If customer experience is so crucial why is Ryan Air then so successful?
I think Ryan Air teaches us two really interesting lessons:
Many organisations over-promise and under-deliver in their pursuit to attract customers. Ryan Air is no nonsense. They don’t promise anything that they cannot deliver. They don’t pretend to be something they are not. As a customer you know exactly what you get and what you don’t get. And you always have a choice. If you don’t want to pay for food, then don’t eat on the plane. If you don’t want to pay for checking in baggage, then travel without big suitcases.
Focus on doing a few things really well:
Way too many companies believe that they need to outperform the competition on all parameters. Often the result is that they end up becoming not really great and not really bad at a lot of things. Ryan Air does not aim to do 100 things pretty good. They focus on doing two things better than everybody else. First of all they transport you safely
from A to B at the market’s cheapest price, and secondly they land on time on more than 90% of their departures, beating every other European airline.
My point is that you can do a lot things bad and provide a mediocre customer experience, but still be very successful as long as you do one or two things better than everyone else.