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Mike and the Customer is a very good blog about how to improve things for the customer. One of Mike Bird’s recent posts caught my eye: Ryanair: kings of the customer experience. I prepared the following as a bit of conversation between Mike and me. If you’re interested in following along, please read his Ryanair article too. Ryanair is a low-cost Irish airline.

Mike, I really enjoyed your post and I’ve reread it a few times. Considering solely what’s in it, something seems a bit off to me in terms of emphasis. I don’t think the most interesting observation is, “Customer experience is not about being nice, it’s about meeting strategic goals.” Rather, I prefer something closer to, “Ryanair succeeds precisely because it is one of the few companies to have understood exactly the customer experience that it needs to compete strategically…”

My take is it’s about Ryanair understanding what its customers consider value. As you say, they value, “…Low cost, on time, with bags, that’s it.” From this perspective I read the story as a triumph of understanding the customer and driving the organization to deliver what they value without compromise.

To me, Ryanair hasn’t, “…Designed a customer experience to compete strategically.” Their customers don’t care about it and they know it. Instead Ryanair has chosen a low-cost, high-efficiency strategy vis-à-vis their competition to meet the needs of the utilitarian traveler. In that space customer “service” is all that is required and an experience isn’t a consideration. That being said, I do love the Michael O’Leary quotes you use (CEO Ryanair). He obviously knows how to promote his brand through the Press. Making fun of “Mother” is much more memorable than some dry statistic about on-time rates for take offs and departures.


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