STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN ON CUSTOMER SERVICE
In my ‘Strategic Communications In Practice’ course, at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), my team and I were instructed to develop a communications campaign for Ryanair.
Along with my teammates, Jazmin Robledo and Michelle Kundodyiwa, we conducted primary and secondary research to assess current consumer perceptions of Ryanair as well as executed an environmental scan of Ryanair’s external and internal threats.
After conducting a contextual analysis, we developed a strategy and wrote a report that focuses on improving Ryanair’s customer service. This entailed, improving the dialogic and two-way interactive relationship between Ryanair and its customers through a personalization strategy, primarily executed through digital and social media platforms.
I created and developed the following presentation campaign deck as well as developed mock-up visuals of the social media campaign graphic and the microsite.
Ryanair’s main objective is to continue establishing itself as Europe’s leading budget airline. Despite Ryanair’s efforts to rectify their image, headlines from ‘Worst airline for sixth year in a row’ to ‘The budget airline heading to oblivion or European domination’ have continuously circulated for many years.
A lack of communication around flights cancellations, sparked social media outrage in 2018 . Most recently, the airline has been criticised for its poor prompt response to a racist incident on board . These incidents suggest that information transparency and a change in tone of voice are essential to improve organization-public relationships.
In our study, we found that when asked what customers value when choosing an airline, the majority said "pricing" (67%). However, it is followed by "comfort" (41%) revealing that many flyers enjoy both low fare offers and comfort. Regarding Ryanair’s professionalism, 43% said "somewhat satisfied", yet if they were to experience a problem with the airline 44% think they will be very or somewhat unhelpful.
The demand for improved customer service and communication continues to be a point of call.
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM
After analysing Ryanair’s environment, it is evident that Ryanair has a poor dialogic relationship with consumers. We argue that the company uses audiences instrumentally to meet business objectives, as opposed to building relationships and impactful dialogue, leading to a loss of personalization and intimacy with consumers.
We developed a communications strategy that aimed to alleviate the existing contentious relationship between Ryanair and its customers.
This is the foundation for our customer personalization strategy: “#RyanairCares; moving closer to unparalleled customer service”. A dedicated customer-oriented approach that will allow Ryanair to communicate transparency, immediacy, personalization, interactivity, mutual understanding and trust to key publics.
IDENTIFYING THE TARGET AUDIENCES
The #RyanairCares strategy adopts interactive media as an appropriate channel to engage with young millennial travellers.
Ryanair staff is also a key public because we believe an organization’s best resource is its workforce.
Internal Communications Strategy
Considering Ryanair’s contentious relationship with employees, managing internal communications emerges as an important aspect to prevent crisis and is essential for the overall success of the strategy.
We strive to work with the Human Resources Team to implement workshops that inform and train employees on interpersonal communications and our new online communications strategies that privilege dialogic engagement with consumers. This continues to fortify our ‘customers first’ message, which will improve organization–public relationships.
External Communications Strategy
To maintain effective dialogic engagement, we propose developing a social media hashtag campaign, a microsite and a media relations press kit.
To improve customer relations our external communications approach proposes three main objectives: (1) Improve social media customer engagement, (2) Tackle negative customer perceptions, (3) Maintain and strengthen engagement with the media/journalists.
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
We aim to improve social media customer engagement with Ryanair using a dedicated hashtag campaign, #RyanairCares. This strives to encourage consumers to submit concerns and questions.
#RYANAIRCARES: SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
To launch the social media campaign, the support team will provide personalised gifts to the first 100 users who use the hashtag. Ryanair will send a gift that aligns with their concerns. For example, customers with lost luggage will be offered free luggage on their next flight. This strategy will provide Ryanair with the insights needed to understand and aggregate recurring problems to improve their services.
In addition to the social media strategies, we suggest Ryanair develops a microsite to tackle negative customer perceptions, launched in tandem with the #RyanairCares campaign.
The #RyanairCares Microsite is a support system for all travellers.
ESTABLISHING TRUST & TRANSPARENCY
The microsite will include personalized features that aim to incite trust and maintain transparency for users.
This campaign looks to maintain and strengthen Ryanair’s engagement with the media/journalists.
#RYANAIRCARES: PRESS KIT
To promote the #RyanCares Strategy, we propose to (1) identify key media contacts and (2) produce a #RyanairCares Media Kit. The Kit will be sent to Sunday Travel Magazine and Business Traveller Magazine; both outlets target our key publics.
Quantifiable measures, such as awareness objectives, that examine the number of consumers that were exposed to and retained the key message, should be the key performance indicators.
This section outlines the estimated budget to develop the proposed internal and external activities.
This section is the proposed timeframe to implement the strategy over the next 6-12 months.
Our recommendations adopt a stakeholder-oriented approach to address active and influential publics. The suggestions outlined aim to alleviate consumer concerns and current contentious organizational-public relationships. The #RyanairCares strategy is grounded in practicing good dialogic methods, improving understanding between Ryanair and its consumers. The strategic decisions are based on creating informed participative interactions with stakeholders, which will position Ryanair as an airline that privileges customers care, alongside their strong low-fare pricing.