RyanAir why do you choose to be like this?

oleary_2357534bAnother 90 minutes spent wrestling with the “new, improved” RyanAir website and the strictly script controlled “online chat” operatives have led me to think once again about the company.

It’s too easy to just pillory them because of Fascinating Aida’s brilliant and accurate skit – go on watch it again it’s at the bottom of the post, it’s worth it. I know they’re the cheap airline and that has done a lots of good for those of us who fly regularly. This flight is for a holiday, was booked through an agent who admittedly  gave us plenty of warnings about ensuring we checked in online, so it feels a bit different from the 6.20am hop from Cork to Stansted.

What got me thinking was the corporate attitude, if you like to use the current buzz word then it’s the culture of the business. I was thinking about experiences anybody would have when dealing with the unapproachable wall of RyanAir.

This time I couldn’t check in online. Managed the website entry log-in without problems, then the who’s on the flight bit all fine, put in the passport details – great, now click the button to go to your boarding pass. Nothing, just two horizontal bars, one yellow one empty. Gave it 5 minutes. Nothing. Back a page  and all looked fine. Forward, same two unblinking bars.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.19.46There’s a facility to access an online help person so I logged in, name, email address, booking reference. “We have 72 waiting for attention time expected is 14 minutes.” Congrats to RyanAir for managing to introduce stress into accessing an online chat service. Would the browser freeze before there was an answer?  Don’t take your eye off it for too long. At least there was no Vivaldi.

Eventually, after only 9 minutes (under promise etc) I am in touch with someone at the other end of the internet. I state my problem concisely – I have had time to write it out and rehearse. I expected a “there are problems” because of the heavy traffic – the French Air Traffic controllers were playing silly buggers this morning leading to cancellations of RyanAir flights so, subsequently, lots of traffic – understandable, excusable – so a “could you give it an hour or so and try again? err, please” would have been fine with me.

Nope. “It will be a your browser, check that you have got the most recent version of your browser and you are using a private window”

This is it, this where RyanAir blows it every time. This is why they piss people off year in year out. They always take the position of: “It’s not our fault, it’s you, not us.” They remind me of the gaggle of nurses in the corporate practice that when you ask a question, any question that starts, “who…?”  before you have a chance to complete there is a chorus of, “It wasn’t me”.

Why not try, “I’m sorry to hear that, what browser are you using?” Oh Safari, there seem to have been glitches with Safari  recently; do you have Google Chrome?” etc

As it was it took a trip to Google Chrome then a re-consult with the help desk and they dumped me without a solution and then had the nerve to ask for feedback – the feedback form carefully worded so that you couldn’t give anything specific.
Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.18.10
So second attempt to get assistance sought after I got a message that said, “We are sorry (wow!!) but for technical reasons we are not able to generate your Boarding Pass at this time. Please try to refresh the page or close this window and click on the view Boarding Pass link.”

I had been clicking the view Boarding Pass link, other links took me to a page that said, “No resource found” cannot serve request to ‘blah/blah/retrieve my booking’ on this server.

This time the person at the other end of the internet assured me that there was nothing wrong with their computer Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.19.14 copysystem, and that it must be my fault.

To cut to the chase, their system eventually righted itself and our boarding passes were generated and printed. But, why oh bloody why, won’t you move yourself from this position of provocation. It seems that whenever there is an opportunity to irritate, to wind up, to distance yourself you take it. Move closer to your customers, communicate properly with them, talk to them, treat them like human beings and you might be amazed how much goodwill you will generate.

On the other hand why bother? You’re successful at being what you are – the airline that tries to put Cead Mile Failte on its backside.

2016 #26

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