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Ryanair descends to new lows in customer service ratings

Which? survey reveals league table for customer service

The consumer organisation Which? has today released the results of its latest survey of customer service performance. It asked nearly 4,000 members of the public to rate how the companies make them feel, how helpful and knowledgeable their staff were, and how well they handled complaints.

Ryanair branded “arrogant” “sneaky and “greedy”

Ryanair has been rated the worst firm for customer service out of 100 popular brands operating in the UK.

I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone. Ryanair is not known for great customer service.  According to the Which? report, passengers felt undervalued by unhelpful staff and miserable complaints handling. Ryanair came bottom of the table, only managing a paltry customer service score of 45 per cent overall, with the lowest rating of one star in all three categories:

  • Making you feel valued as a customer
  • Attitude/helpfulness of staff
  • Efficiency with solving complaints or problems

Which? said “Presented with a choice of 50 words to describe the airline, most of the airline’s passengers opted for ‘greedy’, ‘sneaky’ and ‘arrogant’, with one going as far as to say “Ryanair seem to make things deliberately difficult in order to make more money out of their customers”.

People take a calculated risk when booking with Ryanair. Every year Ryanair has strikes, every year there are reports of Ryanair trying to fob people off and not pay them compensation due. At some point it has to come to an end for Ryanair. Michael O’Leary, the CEO since 1994, has always been quite open about not caring about his own customers. It seems to be a model that has worked for him and his company. Cheap flights with little investment in training, retaining staff or customer service and complaint handling.

But is it worthwhile for Ryanair to continue this customer-hostile behaviour? There has to be a limit to what people can take, causing an increase in the numbers of passengers who say theu will never fly Ryanair again. When asked about how well the airline handles complaints, half (50%) of respondents gave it the lowest possible rating.

In September 2018 I wrote about Ryanair misleading customers on their consumer rights and again in December Landing in court with Ryanair (what you need to know about airlines and ADR too!).

easyJet, another budget airline, came in at 79th place, not hugely better but it was the highest ranking airline, demonstrating that Ryanair could definitely improve. One can only wonder if the airlines with the cheapest flights invested more in customer service, instead of constantly trying to fob people off and treat them badly, how well they could do. This is of course theoretical, because Ryanair has no intention of improving anytime soon. Numerous media outlets tried to get a statement from them regarding this survey but failed.

Telecoms

It comes as even less of a surprise that three large telecoms providers are right down there at the bottom of the rankings. Having complained to Virgin Media many times and using the Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme three times, winning each time, I can vouch for just how dreadful their service is. It is the sector about which I receive the most complaints, that’s for sure. And let’s not forget the energy companies performing badly too, whether it’s the Big Six or the smaller newcomers to the market.

lap top on woman's knees phone in one hand

 

If you are having problems with your telecom provider see All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers or for energy,

 

Electricity pylon Everything you need to know to complain about energy problems

All you need to know to make a complaint about energy

 

Retailers

The big brand retailers and supermarkets came out well, considering the current difficulties in the High Street. The findings appear to suggest that some stores and supermarkets are getting better at customer service.

In the banking sector, the online bank First Direct took the top slot. A score of 89% is very high! Customers were hugely positive about the bank’s quality of service. Other banks would do well to look at First Direct which has won awards for customer service for a number of years.

Lakeland (87%) was the highest-rated retailer, standing out for the attitude of its staff, where it scored the full five-stars. Customers chose the word ‘helpful’ when given a list of words to describe the brand.

Sports Direct, unsurprisingly, was rated as the worst retailer for customer service with a 58% rating. Customers told Which? that the sporting apparel shop did not make them feel valued. The negative reputation Sports Direct has for treating both its staff and its customers is borne out by the survey.

Customer service dissatisfaction

The findings are in keeping with those from the Customer Service Institute. Last month it published a report Customer service goes down, complaints are going up showing that Customer service is getting worse. The ICS Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) has shown a decline for the fourth consecutive year. And by a significant amount too. 14.3% of consumers said that they experienced a problem with customer service. This represents a rise of 1.5% since last year’s figures.  in a report published last month.

Harry Rose, Editor of Which? Magazine, commented: “The best way to send a clear message to businesses about the importance of customer service is to spend your hard-earned cash with brands that make it a top priority – and don’t hesitate to complain if you feel you’ve been treated poorly.”

Customer service is becoming more important to savvy consumers and those in all the sectors would do well to heed the messages that consumers are sending. Not investing in customer service and complaint handling and fobbing customers off does not help sales. It contributes to a costly high turnover of staff, poor company reputation and a lack of loyalty.

Businesses getting it right see an increase in customer loyalty and better sales as a result. It’s not rocket science!

BBC Breakfast 23/08/19 discussing the Which? report

BBC Breakfast 23/08/19 Helen Dewdney discusses the Which? customer service survey

 

Categories
Business public figures interview series

The complaining habits of those in the consumer world – James Dodkins

A series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

In my series of interviews with people in the consumer world regarding their complaining habits, today sees the turn of James Dodkins

James Dodkins’ complaining habits

 1) Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
I generally don’t complain to companies about service, I just won’t use them again, but with faulty physical goods I will work to get the item replaced or refunded.

2) How much does the likely redress have to be before you will complain and why?
I don’t really have a set limit, but personally it would d have to be a pretty bad situation for me to actually complain.

3) How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Act, different sectors regulations etc.)
Not very well at all.

 4) If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback? How?
I try to give feedback directly to the person who gave good service. I personally feel that that does more good than filling in a faceless online form.

5) If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include your social media followers too!)
If I have really bad service I will usually tell my immediate family and friends and my 15,000 + LinkedIn connections.

6) If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
The same, I like to evangelise good service, maybe even more than bad.

7) If you don’t really complain or it has to be a significant amount in question before you will, what stops you from complaining?
In all honesty, I’m a busy person, It’s more efficient for me to just black list the company. This is a shame really because a complaint is the perfect opportunity for a company to do the right thing and turn an unhappy customer into a life long advocate.

8) What do you think of using social media to complain?
I find it’s usually pretty rubbish. But that might be because I don’t approach it in the best way.

9) Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when deciding where to purchase an item
Yes, so for example the reason I buy Apple is because I know that if anything goes wrong they will fix or replace without question.

10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
Because I have a large Customer Experience network I would usually reach out to a Director of Customer Experience or Chief Customer Officer first.

11) If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator) or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it
I have not.

About James Dodkins

Read about the interviewing habits of other public figures and people in the consumer world in the series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

Help with your complaints

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!