Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Ryanair – Is the biggest crisis the attitude?

October 1, 2017

Ryanair - Always Getting Better

Early last week we were asked to comment by the publication Fora.ie about the whole Ryanair fiasco and what we thought of how they handled their crisis.

In a crisis situation we always advise –

  • Don’t hide
  • Quickly establish the facts
  • Be 100% truthful
  • Always provide a solution (or a least be honest about working hard to find one)
  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry (as long as you mean it)
  • Don’t be shy about telling people the good things you are doing

This can be achieved with a combination of holding statements, follow up statements, interviews and implementing any necessary changes.

In the case of Ryanair there wasn’t really a formal apology but Michael O’Leary was door stopped by reporters and did say it was “clearly a mess” but he went on to point out that it was just 2% of their passengers that had been affected. I think Michael is missing the point here about focussing on the good things!

On their website where they have a page dedicated to the cancelled flights they also remind people of this “2%” as well as listing the flights that have been cancelled. They also provide a ‘link’ to a page that directs people to an EU legislation document about entitlements to refunds and compensation.

The words “sorry” or “apologise” don’t appear anywhere!

Ryanair - Cancelled Flights

Understandably customers are irate – Ryanair are not helping the situation by drip feeding news about cancelled flights, their customer contact lines not being managed efficiently and are still overheating their situation by promoting flights at “€19.99”.

Furthermore, they have been denying that part of the problem is pilots leaving to take jobs in other airlines.

This scenario has got even worse with pilots going public with their gripes and painting a pretty awful picture about what life is like working for the ‘low care’ airline.

All of this comes at a time when the airline has been trying to refocus it’s brand with their “Always Getting Better” campaign.

A different scenario? 

So – would it have made a difference if Ryanair were upfront, issued a formal apology and showed genuine empathy with inconvenienced customers and were honest about solutions and assurances going forward?

The answer would be a big “Yes” but there is also a big “But” to contend with.

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on what people feel about the company when embarks on such a course –

  • Do people feel warmly towards the airline?
  • Do they believe that there is a genuine concern for customers?
  • Do they believe that staff at the airline are treated well?
  • Do they believe that this company does charitable work?
  • Do they believe there is a strong moral compass at the airline?
  • Have they communicated the great things (if such things exist) they have been doing to the general public and stakeholders?

Maybe realising this Michael felt there was no point pretending to care?

In a crisis a robust process will definitely help but the best preparation for a crisis is to be good and do good things and communicate this effectively – it is only then that people will be willing to listen to your apology and accept it.

Leopards don’t change their spots and not caring will bite you in the butt eventually.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

So you can teach an old dog new tricks after all!

May 22, 2017

Michael O'Leary - Ryamair

I’m still reeling from the shock of the great customer service I just experienced from Ryanair!

I found that there was a simple error on my flight booking for our summer holidays. Without much hope, I got onto the Ryanair “live chat” and after a relatively short wait, someone came on and solved my problem without an issue and – wait for it – are you sitting down? – without any additional charge – even though I had my credit card in my hand!

The Ryanair experience has improved so much that even Greg, my other half, isn’t complaining (well, not as much as usual) that we are using the airline to get us to Italy this year – in previous years he prefered to take an Aer Lingus flight to Paris and then take the train to Milan (beautiful journey by the way!).

So Michael, I applaud you, you turned the big ship (or plane) and set Ryanair on a new course towards good service, putting the customer first and you gotta be reaping the rewards…..

I think this is a big lesson for all of us.

Just because we do something one way, a way that might have built the success of the company, it doesn’t mean we have to stay doing the same thing, just because it’s the way we always did it.

It’s refreshing for everyone to change things up, it’s good to really listen to your customers and even more important, your potential customers and even if it goes against your original core values (or some might argue, lack of them in Ryanair’s case), consider adapting to suit your market in this very changing world.

When you are ready to make that change – the Fuzion team can be there with you every step of the way to help you 😉

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion

Fuzion Communications is a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

The Importance of Caring

December 23, 2016

Kindness - artwork by Genesis

Today has been one of those days that sums up our work as a team and with our clients. It epitomises our job and the value and importance of relationships.

A beautifully parceled box of sweets and reindeer biscuits welcomed us all when we got to the office this morning. The sweets were made with such craft, care and attention by our very talented, and until-now closet baker, Alma Brosnan who joined us earlier this year as a social media intern. They were delicious and really such a lovely Christmas gift that again proved what a lovely bunch of people I’m grateful to call not only colleagues but friends.

This week, we’ve been working with a client to help them manage a very difficult and stressful situation. We’ve listened with empathy while providing decisive advice and efficient actions to help them navigate the stormy seas they find themselves currently in. We’ve been at the other end of the phone at dawn and during the night listening to their updates, fears and concerns, providing assurance and our professional support.

Today brought somewhat of a calm and a lovely phone call from the client to say “thank you” for being there for them. It wasn’t expected or necessary but the sentiment and thought was truly touching especially given how busy and exhausted emotionally and I’m sure physically they are.

A “thank you” costs nothing but it can mean a great deal, which is why we’ve tried to meet as many clients and journalists as we could over the last few weeks to thank them for their support.

Just meeting for lunch or calling them up to wish them a Happy Christmas and to chat about their plans for Christmas with their families is a little way to build and maintain relationships.

The value of connecting with people and caring about them on a personal level can never be underestimated. I believe it makes us better people and helps us to grow personally and professionally.

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” – Maya Angelou

Happy Christmas!

(Beautiful artwork by Genesis)

Aoibhinn

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

What we do when no one is looking…

October 17, 2016

Cafe Velo - Cork

Rob runs Café Velo, one of the loveliest breakfast and lunch cafes here in Cork, Ireland. When I’m there, it’s as if I’ve walked back in time to when I lived in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.

Pastries are arranged behind the counter glass with artistic flair. The servers are just the right blend of warmth and chatty and the tea is served in delicate china.

I ran into Rob unexpectedly this week downtown – in a rare moment when he was not in his cafe. We stopped and chatted a bit and I casually asked about the single large book I glimpsed in the white shopping bag he was holding. Rob smiled and told me the book was for an elderly customer.

The man, in his eighties, reported in to Velo every morning for his daily scone. Except for this week when he suddenly did not appear. Rob inquired and learned the customer had had a stroke. And was in the hospital.

The man has no family to speak of. So Rob went out of his way on his own time to buy a book he thought the man would enjoy during his recovery. Now Rob was off to the hospital to pay the man a visit.

I was touched by the story and asked if I could write about it. Rob looked at me a bit embarrassed, but said, “Sure, go for it.”

So here it is!

I want to contrast a man like Rob with another man.

Rob was simply doing a kind thing. Without, in our day of Social Media marketing, even posting about it. Doing a kind thing when no one, he thought, was looking.

Donald Trump and his lewd comments

Compare that with that now notorious video, of a certain person running for US president objectifying women when the women weren’t present. Then he steps out of the van and “politely greets” one of the same women he had just talked so horribly about.

What we do when we think no one is looking says a lot about our true character, doesn’t it?

Not all men are the same. Rob’s act when he thought no one was looking was kind. And it was more than caring for a regular paying customer, it was caring of a fellow human being on this planet.

The more we can strive to get past race, religion and gender, and consider that we’re all just people together on this planet, perhaps we can all be a little kinder too.

Thank you, Rob, for a lesson all of us can learn from.

Gina London - Fuzion PRGina London

Gina London, a former Emmy award winning CNN anchor is a Strategic Communications specialist with Fuzion

From a handshake to a hug

February 8, 2016

Groundhog-Day

In everyday life we meet new people – whether it is in your work life or your social life, these encounters usually use some form of communication.

It could be a simple smile or an acknowledging nod of the head, maybe some quick chit chat or it could all be from behind a screen. Either way these could all be seen as a type of relationship which sometimes can develop into nothing. Think about your daily commute to work and that one person you pass everyday. You might acknowledge them with a smile, a nod or some awkward eye contact but have you actually ever spoken to them? Funny thing is because we are creatures of habit and our daily routines happen like clock work these brief meetings have probably been reoccurring for years. (Just like Bill Murrays bad hair day in Groundhog Day!)

This led me to think about similar situations in my own life and how I choose to deal with them and not deal with them.

Everyday I take the same walk to work and pass the same people but there is one person I pass at the same spot around the same time, nearing the end of my commute. We acknowledge each other with the same half smile and I find myself thinking isn’t that so strange?

We are polite enough to acknowledge each other but not enough to actually speak! Even though in your mind you do the whole imaginary “Hey, how are you?” Then why are we so different in our work environments?

This is mainly because of the environment it takes place in. Meeting new people, taking part in conversations and building relationships is all part of your work life and it aids in your progression and helps build the foundations for your career, so as you can be your best at your job. As daunting as this can sometimes be, it forces you out of your comfort zone and into new challenges – this is a good thing I swear!

So where am I going with this you might be wondering?

I am going to use the above nonsense to make reference to my job! Working within the communications industry you are given the opportunity to develop work relationships with lots of different people – the media, your clients and potential clients.

These relationships all form in different ways and use a different etiquette. Take the media for instance. Initial contact the majority of the time is made via phone or email.

Let’s focus on the email – The first email is a formal introduction using Dear and Kind regards. As the email exchange becomes more frequent the formalities lessen and slowly your email signature begins to lose characters, until your name is simply an abbreviation of itself. (I go by ‘A’ now and for any ‘Pretty Little Liars’ fans out there that’s kind of scary!) While this might be seen as bad it is really a good result and shows that a positive relationship is forming which allows you to do your job better and can increase your chances of achieving the results you need for your clients.

On the other hand you have your clients; this relationship must always be a professional one whether it is an existing or a potential client.

But don’t forget to be yourself – this is important and helps when building a personal and trustworthy relationship with the client, so as they know you have their best interests at heart.

With a client your professional mannerisms are demonstrated in all email and phone correspondence as well as face-to-face. Part of being a good public relations professional is being able to adapt in different social environments so as your client feels at ease and comfortable. Whether this is at meetings, grabbing a coffee or at a business lunch/dinner this can only benefit your relationship – They need to know that you get this!

For me this is all about that first face-to-face meeting.

Take into account that you may not have been the main point of contact for the client and you have more than likely exchanged countless emails and had quite a few phone conversations without ever meeting. Maybe they only know you by the little profile picture that travels with your emails?!

Eventually the day arrives and you are about to put a face to the name and the voice at the end of the phone and you think how funny it is that this situation can make you feel as nervous as a first date – Awkward!

In walks the client, you share a formal handshake and then that feeling of relief sets in and you chose to use the auld reliable, “It’s great to put a face to the name” line.  This not surprisingly gets a giggle and settles the mood. These happenings are all part of the process and help to bind a solid understanding and business relationship between you and your clients.

It makes it easier when you need to ask for something, gives you the comfort of knowing your boundaries and vice versa for your client. This once again is a good thing!

The meeting comes to an end, there’s been some laughter but mostly business but on exit the handshake turns to a brief hug and a kind “It was lovely to finally meet you” SUCCESS!

You achieved what you set out to do, cement the relationship and build up trust with the person behind the screen or phone that you speak to on a daily basis by simply bringing it from ‘A Handshake to a Hug!

Arlene Foy, Fuzion PR, Marketing Graphic Design, DublinArlene

Arlene Foy is a PR Executive with Fuzion in our Dublin offices.

The “Great Lengths” we go to!

July 29, 2015

Cathriona's Hair Salon

We are known in Fuzion for always going the ‘extra mile’ for clients and this month we literally did, when I made a trip to Tralee.

One of my clients is award winning hairdresser and hairdresser to the stars (namely Miriam O Callaghan), Cathriona Rohan.

She is the owner of Cathriona’s Hair Salon in both Tralee and Castlegregory and has a very well respected and highly renowned reputation in the south of Ireland. She is known for the ‘Great Lengths’ hair extensions that she does and speaks about it with such passion and knowledge.

Last week I travelled down to Cathriona’s Hair Salon in Tralee to try out the ‘Great Lengths’ Hair extensions, and experience the service offered at Cathriona’s Hair Salon – after all how can I PR something I have never tried?

Cathriona's Hair Salon

It was a great opportunity to try out the product and the service and really get to know the ins and outs of what I was about to pitch to media…a very nice treat for me also 🙂

Cathriona talked me through the process and what makes Great Lengths different to its competitors on the market and left me in no doubt that they are the best extensions in the world. She really knows her ‘stuff’ and getting the chance to experience her in action gave me a lot more of an understanding of how she goes above and beyond for her clients, something I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

I arrived at the salon in Tralee, which is absolutely beautiful and extremely girly. The attention to detail in the salon couldn’t go unnoticed – the extensive drinks menu, vintage décor and the comfortable foot stools add to an overall relaxing and enjoyable experience, that the pictures simply cannot fully capture.

The girls are so friendly and gave me a cup of tea and a delicious cupcake while I was waiting which was a very nice touch. I was also offered a glass of prosecco which made the experience that little bit more exciting and special.

I was blown away by the hair transformation when Cathriona was finished, it was exactly what I wanted, and Cathriona is superb at what she does.

It made me realise just how important it is to do something like this and really experience the product or service of a client first-hand before trying to persuade others to, or trying to explain the essence of something to the media. I have a much better understanding now of what makes Cathriona and her salons different to her competitors and what puts her at the top when it comes to quality, service and happy customers.

No matter what you do, you should go to ‘great lengths’ to understand your customers.

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a PR Executive with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

 

Valentines Day and meeting expectations!

February 14, 2015

Romance

As she stepped out of the car she left me with the little bombshell “I hope you have something special organised for Valentine’s Day” ..Dee was half joking of course! (?)

All of a sudden this isn’t about a demonstration of your love, it’s an expectation, a bar, below which you will perish if you fail to do the right things and achieve that minimum standard!

I started thinking..I am on an absolute hiding to nothing here.

All I can do is either disappoint (try to avoid!) or successfully manage to satisfy this ‘expectation’. What can I possibly do to surprise her and make her feel as special as I feel about her on this day ..something beyond “he did what was required“?

To make matters worse I have been so busy with work that I haven’t had two minutes to scratch, think about what I might do and then have the time to actually organise whatever I come up with!!

Isn’t this what it is like with the service we provide our clients? They quite rightfully have a minimum expectation and your first job is making sure that you at least match that – anything less and they are disappointed.

But just like Dee you want to leave them surprised and feeling special and this means doing something that they are not expecting, something that they will really appreciate and show them how much you really care. This is the ‘sweet spot’ where you get to show them that you are quite different than all the other potential ‘lovers’ out there.

Just like Valentines Day it’s a challenge but if you want them to know how special they are you’ve got to dig deep..

Happy Valentines Day x

(My efforts ..I wrote a poem for her card, I bought a single rose, I brought her breakfast, we’ll walk on a beach and after that I will cook dinner …have I done enough?)

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Complaints make Great Gifts!

January 22, 2014

Complaints make Great Gifts

“Can I meet you in the morning” was the request.

Oh no.. from the tone I felt a complaint coming – I wondered what was wrong.

This was a really good account and we were just at the early stages of working with this client. The project was quite complex, which involved quite a few members of our team.

There were quite a number of elements to the project including graphic design, web design, social media, event management, internal communications and PR. We pride ourselves on being able to handle all of these in-house, which is a real strength of ours.

Our team had been briefed well and each of us were working diligently on our own part of the project and liaising directly with the client.

Our relationship had started off in a really positive manner so I was really concerned and confused that something could be wrong.

We met and sure enough our client expressed a concern about how things were going with the project.

The client’s problem was really simple – While we were all quite clear about what we were doing he was overwhelmed by the correspondence and interaction from so many people on so many different aspects of the project. Collectively we were able to handle the huge variety of tasks but this was just way too confusing for him.

To alleviate this problem we arranged that all of our correspondence would come through just one person and we organised it in such a way that we were only dealing with one aspect at a time – while this did not seem like the most efficient way of dealing with things for us it was the best way as it worked for him.

This approach has been working out great and the project has been progressing really well since.

While we all hate complaints they are in fact precious gifts.

A customer instead of staying silent and suffering with a scenario that isn’t working for them has taken a huge step and communicated that something is wrong.

Take the complaint, listen attentively to it, understand it, embrace it and deal with it – complaints are precious gifts that can only make you better.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Doing the Small stuff Great

November 27, 2013

Kerrie O'CallaghanSomeone has to answer the phone and someone has to let visitors into the building and greet them as come into the office.

This isn’t rocket science but at the same time it needs to be done right. You would hope that the person with this responsibility would carry out the task in a pleasant and friendly manner – after all, it is often the first impression that anyone would experience of your business.

We’ve been really lucky down through the years in that all of our team are pleasant and friendly and will give a really good impression of Fuzion.

The primary responsibility for answering the phone (we all do it by the way) tends to lie with the ‘junior’, the person who is newest to the team. Initially we find that the newbie is more than happy with this role but after a while they do want to feel that they are progressing and that this task is moved onto someone else.

While everyone who has worked with us has been great at that ‘hello, meet and greet‘ role we had one person who really stood out; Kerrie O’Callaghan.

Day after day we had people on the phone or who had come for a meeting specifically commenting about how special their greeting was.

This wasn’t an isolated incident but an absolute trend – she did this important, junior, simple but yet important task incredibly well.

Not surprisingly the hugely talented Kerrie, who did everything with 150% enthusiasm, progressed quickly and went on to do every task incredibly well but unfortunately for Fuzion she had the emigration bug and is now enjoying huge career success down under.

It’s funny how someone who does the small things great ends up also doing the big things great..

Kerrie, we miss you!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Losing customers you never knew you had!

November 11, 2013

Word of Mouth

Thanks for the invitation for your event but I just won’t be going.

I don’t want to shop in your store any more and I won’t be recommending that anyone else goes there.

I will probably ever so subtly actually discourage people from going to your store whereas before now I would have done the opposite.

The problem is you will never quite know why ..

The thing is you treated a good friend of someone that I know really well quite badly, which left them really upset. I know they are reasonable people so I trust the stories that I’ve heard and I believe that the poor experience was genuine and not exaggerated.

From my point of view this mightn’t be reasonable or logical but that’s often the way the world works.

Reputation is a funny thing – it takes ages to build a good reputation and it take seconds to destroy it.

Next time you have an issue with a customer consider carefully how you deal with them as it can potentially impact on many more than just them.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin


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