/ Travel & Leisure

A poor rating from Which? is a catalyst for change

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A drubbing from Which? is a powerful agent for change. Here’s our chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith on the ways in which banks and even Ryanair have acted on our concerns.

A score of around 50% or below – whether from our testing, or from customers of a brand who are rating their satisfaction (or lack of it) – is something no company’s PR department wants to hear or have to try to defend.

Improving online banking security

A year ago this month, we told Santander that there were serious holes in its online banking security, particularly around the logout process. It earned just 47% in our test. We’ve just tested it again, and found that it now ensures the destruction of customers’ session data when they log out. Overall, it’s raised its game to 64%. There is still room for improvement, and it needs to tighten defences against ‘clickjackers’, who trick website users into clicking on hidden links, but this is a step change from a year ago.

Our team of ‘ethical hackers’, who tested a total of 11 banks’ security, noted that others had acted on our concerns from last time, too. Since fraud against banks ultimately costs all their customers money, this is good news for consumers.

Customer service taking off

Over in the world of travel, another change has been taking place. A year ago, Ryanair was bottom of our customer service league table of the hundred biggest brands. Its customers awarded the airline a paltry 54%. Its notoriously thick-skinned chief executive, Michael O’Leary, faced unhappy shareholders at an AGM the day after we announced our scores. The mood was that shoddy customer service was hitting the bottom line; the over-zealous fines for hand luggage that was slightly too big had to stop. O’Leary announced that he would tackle things that ‘unnecessarily annoy’ customers.

This year, Ryanair has raised its score from 54% to a more respectable 59%. And when our Which? Travel team posed readers’ questions to him a few weeks ago, he even promised to tackle the absurd travel insurance opt-out on Ryanair’s website – ‘Don’t insure me’ is currently buried in a drop-down menu between Denmark and Finland. This, apparently, will all be made clearer for customers by the end of the year. Our research teams will be watching.


I think Which? as a pressure group works better than all the rest because of it’s longevity as a respected independent champion of consumer protection. It’s campaigns for a better fairer deal for all is fearsome and as long as it remains independent then we will always enjoy its primary goals.

Thanks very much for that lovely comment Jakespal. I’ve shared it with a number of our teams here, which I’m sure will brighten their day 🙂

Peter Humphreys says:
2 October 2014

Surely last place in the next customer service survey is going to go to BT for its introduction of its massively flawed BTmail in place of Yahoo. Google BTmail issues to see how widespread the problems are and BT’s failure to communicate. And they have the nerve to announce a price increase – refunds would be more appropriate.