Ryanair to improve its customer serviceFriday 20 September 2013 14.34
Ryanair has promised to transform its "abrupt culture" in a bid to win customers from rivals, admitting that it had a significant problem with customer service.
The airline was this week voted the worst of the 100 biggest brands serving the British market by readers of consumer magazine Which.
It told shareholders at its AGM in Dublin today that it would become more lenient on fining customers over bag sizes and overhaul the way it communicates.
"We should try to eliminate things that unnecessarily p**s people off," chief executive Michael O'Leary told the company's AGM after several shareholders complained about the impact of customer service on sales.
The Ryanair boss said the airline needs to be quicker and more responsive when certain situations arise for customers. He accepted criticism from one shareholder that the airline was not trying hard enough when it comes to customer service.
Another shareholder criticised what he described as the ''macho culture'' at the airline. Mr O'Leary said that he was very happy to take the blame here if the company had an-over macho culture.
He said the company would set up a new team to respond to emails and stop fining customers whose carry-on baggage exceeds minimum sizes by a matter of millimetres.
"A lot of those customer services elements don't cost a lot of money. It's something we are committed to addressing over the coming year," Mr O'Leary said.
The AGM also heard that the airline's main focus this winter is to invest in - and improve - its website, its mobile platform and its interaction with customers via social media.
Mr O'Leary said the airline will remove the ''recaptcha'' security feature from its website from November for individual passengers, although it will remain in place for large bookings and travel agents.
The budget airline said earlier this month that its annual profits may miss its targets. Despite this, Ryanair plans to carry some 110 million passengers by 2019 and remains one of the most profitable airlines in the word.
Last month Ryanair was ordered to reduce its 29.8% stake in rival airline Aer Lingus, while earlier this month it issued a profit warning. It also recently settled a libel action with the Daily Mail.
Michael O'Leary told today's AGM in Dublin today that the airline will improve the company's website by making it easier for customers to navigate and book flights.
''These improvements will be accompanied by a new digital marketing strategy which will see Ryanair switch a significant proportion of its marketing budget from old to new media, with a particular focus on mobile and social media platforms,'' Mr O'Leary added.
The airline's mobile app will be available free of charge from October 1. The app currently costs €3 to download.
Michael O'Leary also told the AGM today that there would be more cases for defamation announced in the coming weeks, arising from a Channel 4 dispatches programme.