I read with great interest Oliver Smith’s article in the Telegraph, 23rd January, with the appealing title: “Loos on RyanAir new planes”. For those who think that this subject might a little anecdotal, I may remind them that more than often, it is these anecdotes that make the customer journey pleasant or not.
What is it about? The new airplanes bought by RyanAir offer more seats, which means that some parts of the airplane have been downsized. In this case, the toilets in the back of the plane have become ‘so tiny that you can only wash one hand at a time’, according to Smith. It has an impact on customers comfort, primarily. Not only that, the kitchen has also been reduced, having this time a major impact on the employee’s comfort.
Fair enough, we all know that RyanAir is a low cost company, and in compensation for (relatively) low fares, we accept that we will travel with minimal comfort. Optimisation is the key for a low cost business model, and this leads to less space. This is obvious with RyanAir, there aren’t even seat-back pockets. As consumers, we are ready to pay the price of less space.
Peckam Rye multiplex is the cheapest cinema in London. You are wedged in your seat, but compared to £15-a-seat which has room for two, I accept it, because it is cheap.
I am a bit more worried when I see that this lack of comfort has become a standard in multiple situations. Take Virgin trains or Eurostar in standard class. You get narrow seats and little legroom. Low cost holiday packages don’t offer you much privacy or space to relax.
Let’s also look at working spaces for people, in 7 years this has reduced from an average 21 sqm per person in 2010 to 14 sqm today (Core Net survey).
Optimisation is great. It helps provide better fares or prices and gives access to services to more people.
Nonetheless, check regularly with your customers and employees that they are happy with the compromises you are making to their comfort. Look to your frequent customers and your loyal employees and understand what they really need.
Could delivery processes be improved without lowering your service offering.
There is an alternative way of optimising businesses, which relies more upon people’s feelings than square meters.