Do you wonder if Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary is working a plot to bring down his airline?
If he deliberately wanted to tarnish the firms reputation and burn whatever customer goodwill he had left - would Ryanair be behaving any differently from what it is doing right now?
According to the BBC: The UK Civil Aviation Authority's chief executive Andrew Haines said he was "furious" that the airline had not been complying with the law - by failing to offer to re-route passengers on rival airlines after Ryanair cancelled thousands of flights, affecting some 800,000 customers. According to the CAA, Ryanair were then 'persistently misleading' their customers about their rights following the cancellation and reports from the BBC said Ryanair staff were rude or indifferent when stranded customers contacted them for assistance.
Corporate culture is a thing - you can develop a positive culture that underpins your brand values and is an asset to your business or you can do the opposite.
I remember a phone call I had with a customer services representative from Vodafone a couple of years ago. I was calling up to ask about an unexpectedly large phone bill - caused by number 1 daughter's challenging first couple of weeks at university and her going over her SMS allowance. £270 worth of SMS in three weeks. I had been a Vodafone customer for over a decade, had five phones on contract and I was amazed that there was no mechanism to issue some kind of warning when you go over your allowance. I asked the customer services person about this and they said there was a warning sent by text when you go over your allowance. I said I never received any such warning and then they returned to say, actually no - there was no warning given. There is if you go over your data allowance, but not for SMS messages. Why not, I asked, this would be very useful and avoid nasty surprises like this. The answer I received astonished me - and gave me glimpse into the corporate culture of another business which has institutionalised poor customer service. I was told:
We do not provide a warning [about going over your allowance] because the regulator does not force us to.
Wow. Just think about that. We do not provide good customer service because we are not legally compelled to do so..
Needless to say, I moved all 5 of my lines from Vodafone to a competitor as soon as the contract would allow me. I had paid them thousands of pounds over a decade and their response was that they had no legal obligation to provide me with a good service and so they chose not to do so.
And don’t get me started on Uber.
Corporate culture is important and it starts from the top and filters down. Corporate culture is a leadership issue.
“Ultimately, it’s on the company leaders to set the tone,” Tim Cook told Fast Company. “Not only the CEO, but the leaders across the company. If you select them so carefully that they then hire the right people, it’s a nice self-fulfilling prophecy.”
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Listen to this weeks podcast (using the player at the top of the page) to hear the interview with special guest Georgia Thompson - who is proof of the power of the Maxwell Method of Leadership.