The European airline Ryanair recently announced that they have hired Kenny Jacobs from moneysupermarket.com to be their new Chief Marketing Officer. In itself, this is just another executive appointment, but his remit also includes customer service.
Jacobs has been asked to make customer service a part of how the brand markets itself. This is quite a shift in focus for Ryanair, where they have tended to focus on keeping prices low, even if it means the customer service leaves a lot to be desired.
But I believe that Ryanair is showing some marketing leadership here. Marketing has always been considered a separate function to customer service. But customers today often find information about a brand from their friends after the friend has interacted with customer service.
For example, after booking a flight, if you then tell your friends on Facebook about the booking it may encourage others to take a look at the latest prices. If you talk to an agent via a Facebook wall or on your Twitter then all of those conversations are out in the open – friends can see if a brand is delivering great service or not.
It’s an interesting move to start positioning the marketing head also as the person responsible for the customer relationship. Now consumers are also publishers, some customers may even be more important to your brand than the traditional press and advertising market!
Photo by Paolo Margari licensed under Creative Commons