The Ryanair guide to customer service: The idiot bloggers strike back

by Peter Young on February 24, 2009 · 0 comments

Online brand reputation is big business, something many companies are investing significant time and money into, some more than others.

For those of you who have not already heard, where have you been. The last 24 hours or so has been abuzz with Ryanair, to start off with their customer service (or lack of it) with Jason Roe (an Irish based blogger), and more recently with some ill-advised comments regarding bloggers and the blogosphere (or should that be blog sphere).

The comments from Steve McNamara (spokesman (allegedly Head of Communications) from Ryanair) read as follows:

“Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion.
“It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.
“Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel”.

One has to say, ill-advised or not aside one can’t help thinking that Mr McNamara has not considered the knock on effects. Lets consider some of the facts

  1. Much of RyanAirs custom is online
  2. Many of those customers use the search engines to find the website
  3. Many of those search engine users use Google to find it (given much of their customer base is UK and Western European.

It is therefore interesting to see the impact this is already having on UK SERPs

Ryanair Natural Search results UK

Ryanair Natural Search results UK

It should already be noted references to Mr McNamaras response can already be found at postions 4,8 and 45 (this after only 24 hours). Given the number of high profile sites picking up on the story, one can’t help feeling there may be a number more entering the fray in the coming weeks. It should also be noted that given the considerable noise generated by Ryanair – a mixture of both good and bad, that this does to a certain extent provide the brand some level of protection – however one can only assume that the level of coverage will increase as this story rumbles over the next couple of days.

Whilst in terms of traditional PR, this is certainly generating the column inches, one can’t help thinking that it is a bit naive (let alone a number of other adjectives I could use) of Mr McNamara with his use of words. In the last 24 hours there have been 1465 references to Ryanair, of which I would suggest the vast majority are on this subject.

I for one will be watching this with interest, as one can’t help think this isn’t the last of the story….

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