Lessons from Easyjet: align customer service with your brand values

Lessons from Easyjet - align customer service with brand values - image of Easyjet plane - Big Idea Brand Marketing blog

How Easyjet fails to align its customer service with its brand values

First, let’s create context

When I was a young brand manager a wise advertising agency planner said “Your relationship with a brand can be described under 1 of 3 headings. You will have”:

😊 Brands of preference

🤔 Brands of indifference and

😶 Brands of rejection

“Clearly, we want your brand to be the brand of preference for your clients. This means they like it and may even come to love it.”

“However, if it’s a brand of rejection it means your brand stands for something these people don’t want or like.”

“You really don’t want to be a brand of indifference, because that means your brand is present yet uninvolving – so it has no meaning for or emotional connection with your intended audience.”

Next, let’s look at Easyjet brand values

You’ll find Easyjet values on this page of their website.

It’s an odd page because there is only one image on it, with ‘Our Promise’ and a one sentence summary of each value. Here they are:

  • Always with safety at our heart
  • Always challenging cost
  • Always warm and welcoming
  • Making a positive difference
  • Living the orange spirit

This is very disappointing. By contrast, my advice to clients is to provide an explanation of what each brand value means specifically for your brand, and more importantly, how each brand value could hold meaning for your soul clients. 


Interpreting Easyjet brand values

How do you interpret these 5 values?

  • “Safety” is a prerequisite for every airline. I’d expect safety to be in the DNA of every employee
  • Now, what does “challenging cost” mean? Is this about Easyjet cutting costs? Or is it about Easyjet keeping prices low for customers? We don’t know because they don’t explain this. The only way I can evaluate this value is through experience
  • How do you interpret “warm and welcoming”? Is it friendly? Is it polite? Who knows? Again it’s going to be down to the way I’m treated online and in person
  • This value “making a positive difference” feels good. Yet it raises questions such as ‘what type of difference’? Who for? and how? These are answers that I’d love to know more about
  • Lastly “living the orange spirit” is a complete mystery. Is this a secret code for employees? Is it something that customers are invited to be part of? I wish I knew…











Customer service: my Easyjet experience

Online check-in

Firstly, I didn’t directly choose Easyjet. I bought a package from Olympic Holidays and Easyjet provide the flight. I paid Olympic for my luggage allowance, so all I had to do was check in.


Good stuff

  • Check-in up to 4 weeks ahead of travel
  • For both the outbound and inbound flights
  • Easy to print boarding passes for both flights

Disappointing stuff

👉🏼 Baggage

  • I’ve already paid for the bag to go in the hold
  • Confused to be asked to choose this option again
  • It was as if the process wanted me to pay twice
  • Eventually I ignored the prompts and continued with the  booking process

👉🏼 Seats

  • The process takes you through a series of price bands for various types of seats e.g. with extra legroom. Prices vary from £9 to £50
  • This is confusing. Very. Do I have to pay for a seat allocation? It looks like I must pay to reserve my choice of seat.
  • Then I spotted a teeny, tiny little button that said, ‘I don’t mind’, which I clicked
  • And it turns out that I got seats in the £9 price band


How did the Easyjet customer service experience make me feel?

  • The check-in experience felt like sharp practice
  • It was geared up to extracting payment for extras that I’d already paid for or didn’t need
  • I don’t mind if people want to pay £50 for a seat with lots of legroom. I do mind when the option to pay nothing is not displayed with the same prominence
  • Remember that brand value ‘always challenging cost’ – it now appears that it’s not for me
  • So, that little journey on the website eroded my trust and took my perception of Easyjet from brand of indifference, to one of my brands of rejection 😢

What other people said

I posted about my experience on LinkedIn and not one person said they loved Easyjet, even though Easyjet strategy includes “being Europe’s most loved airline, winning for customers, shareholders and our people.”

Here’s a selection of comments:

“This is why looking at every facet of your customer journey is so important. It’s one thing to get customers in the door, but how do you keep them? Any brand that clearly (as in this case) puts profit over people move into the “brand of rejection” space pretty darn fast.” Madelaine Anderson

“It shows how easy it is for a good experience to turn. For me that is absolutely about transparency and values – so customers can lock into those values and feel aligned.” Gill McKay

“OMG this was exactly me last night. Checking into my Easyjet flight for this afternoon – and they took me through the whole rigmarole of trying to sell me a seat AGAIN! So blooming annoying. I have also spent the morning trying to squeeze 3 days of stuff into the smallest of cabin bags so I don’t have to pay £33 per flight!” Zoe Wongsam

“I don’t like the way the cheaper airlines lure you in with cheap flights then add in 0 experience and make you pay all these extras.” Febronia Ruocco

“This is so sneaky of them & really these hidden costs are so frustrating. I recently ordered something online that was advertised as free P&P. At the checkout, a £4.99 premium delivery charge was added. It took me 5 minutes to find the tiny tick box right at the bottom of the page to select regular post rather than premium delivery to get free P&P. Brand trust definitely eroded & moved into rejection.” Ally Whitlock

“They sold my seat twice. I booked the flight, and paid the additional amount to reserve my seat. When I boarded they told me that the seat was already taken. Trying to get the money back was so complicated that I gave up. I also vowed I would never fly EasyJet again, and I haven’t, but I also actively pursuade others to not use them either. In the end, EasyJet’s stupidity has cost them way more that the cost of my seat, and offering me a simple sorry on the flight.” Paul Raper

“I often wonder whether they’ve just never looked at the customer experience, or they don’t care as the confusion allows some people to pay more than they need to. Particularly airlines that offer ‘bundles’ that include a hold bag etc, but then ask you about those elements again, so you’re not clear whether you’ve booked a hold bag at all or paid twice. Or whether the airline industry has become so functional – go for the cheapest, or the one with best flight times etc – that repeat business isn’t a priority for them. Whichever it is, I feel your frustration!” Anne Rodger


Read more:

The value of brand values in your brand marketing

Why your brand values are important

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Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I hope you've enjoyed it and found it useful. I work with coaches, consultants, creatives, therapists and experts, often ex-corporate. Together we get to the heart of what makes your brand distinctive and different, so we can communicate your value proposition effectively. You'll have a standout brand you love and your clients adore, with a brand personality and image that makes you feel proud of your work, and gives you the confidence and focus to accelerate your business growth.
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