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Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Postby tomvet » 15 May 2016 22:57

Two years ago Ryanair known for their strict unfocussed customer service policies had a rethink of their customer service along these lines;

From Wikipedia 15/05/16
On 17 June 2014, Ryanair announced a new campaign to re-invent itself as a more family-friendly airline. Speaking at the company's 2014 AGM, chief executive Michael O'Leary put it more bluntly, saying the airline needed to "stop unnecessarily pissing people off". Ryanair says up to 20% of its 81 million customers are travelling as families and it wants to raise that figure. Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing officer, said: "Families are a big deal for us. It's a group of customers that we want to get closer to."


While I am not suggesting that cruiselines focus their customer services solely on families. My question is, have cruiselines reached the bottom in terms of customer service? Admittedly they had to refocus their operations as fares dropped but fares are now increasing therefore is it time cruiselines started to be more customer friendly and show value for money.

My last cruise was a disappointment. Jill is less than impressed with her current cruise. Dave's Christmas cruise didn't meet expectations.

I have recently read elsewhere an issue a passenger had on Brilliance OTS. To be it typifies modern day cruiseline customer service. The passenger wrote:

From cruise.co.uk 15/05/2016
I suppose the final inadequacy we found was when we had booked a ship’s Dolphin Cruise out of Gibraltar. Two days before it was due we noticed that the tour, charged to our account had disappeared, the TV accounts often broke down by the way, so we enquired and had a note sent to our cabin saying that “ Your Cruise to the Dolphins in Malaga has been cancelled due to lack of participants. May we suggest that you book the Walking Tour in San Juan instead.” We went to the office to say that our tour was to have been the Gibraltar Dolphin one and that their suggested tour had occurred six days earlier and if we wanted to take that we would get very wet! They were quite short with us and insinuated that the fault was ours not theirs.


While we only have the customer's side of the story. What this recount says to me about RCI's customer service is

    Lack of attention to detail - port of call was wrong
    No contextual awareness - suggesting an option that was some days previous
    Unapologetic - No 'we regret to inform you that your tour is cancelled...... etc etc
    Lacks empathy - appear to have handed the problem back to the customer. No mention of they feeling the customer's disappointment of having to miss a tour....
    Dismissive - suggesting an alternative that is not remotely similar to what the customer booked (aside from the fact that the tour was for a previous port)

This is the sort of stuff that happens on board that gets my BP up. How does one deal with such a scenario when you are stonewalled and you appear to be the problem and they don't see themselves as the solution or the solution is theirs and you don't nor are invited to have an input to the solution.

I assume that the strategy is to frustrate the customer in the hope that most or all will just walk away as it is not worth the hassle or the argument as you (the customer) will not win.

Is it time they took stock of the situation before folk move on?
October 19 - A-ROSA Luna - Lyon- Viviers - Arles - Avignon - Vienne - Lyon
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Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Postby tobysgranny » 16 May 2016 00:32

I'm trying to recall when I have had a problem that wasn't resolved quickly and efficiently without issues with Guest Services. Have I just been lucky?

On this last cruise I 'misplaced' my favourite iPod (an old iPod classic 80 gb) which I've had for a very long time and I kept going back down to Guest Services every couple of hours to see if it had been handed in without success and just when I had given up hope of ever seeing it again I had one last check before going up to bed, after having consumed the odd cocktail or two, I couldn't believe it when the chap came out of the office waving it at me. I could have kissed him I was so relieved.

Where it had been all day as I had lost it just after breakfast I don't know but whoever found it had been listening to Adele.

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Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Postby octocruiser » 16 May 2016 12:13

I must say I can't concur with this sentiment based on our own experience.

I can think of odd occasions where a problem arose but was quickly solved.

Perhaps it is our own attitude that makes a difference. Perhaps our expectations are lower, perhaps we are too easily pleased - more likely we happen to travel on ships where it is the norm to get good service and we look at the who,e picture rather than at individual blips.

I sometimes read critiques of cruises - usually elsewhere, I hasten to add ;) and I simply cannot be bothered to read them through - it screams out that it is the customer's attitude that needs attention - some people go with the mindset that means they are going to seek out negatives . I have no time for them.

This does not mean that I am writing off your own grievances Tom. I am sure what happened affected your pleasure and enjoyment of the cruise. But I do take a lot of the petty stuff I read with a pinch of salt and would not use such incidents to judge the service levels of the whole industry.

You suggest they take stock of the situation before folk move on. Moving on is the most powerful weapon folk have - let them do just that . There is plenty of choice out there and no one is forced to go with an operator they find unsatisfactory.
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Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Postby keith6400 » 16 May 2016 17:54

I have recently read elsewhere an issue a passenger had on Brilliance OTS. To be it typifies modern day cruise line customer service. The passenger wrote:

From cruise.co.uk 15/05/2016
I suppose the final inadequacy we found was when we had booked a ship’s Dolphin Cruise out of Gibraltar. Two days before it was due we noticed that the tour, charged to our account had disappeared, the TV accounts often broke down by the way, so we enquired and had a note sent to our cabin saying that “ Your Cruise to the Dolphins in Malaga has been cancelled due to lack of participants. May we suggest that you book the Walking Tour in San Juan instead.” We went to the office to say that our tour was to have been the Gibraltar Dolphin one and that their suggested tour had occurred six days earlier and if we wanted to take that we would get very wet! They were quite short with us and insinuated that the fault was ours not theirs.
[/quote][/quote]

I had a dolphin watching tour booked on one of my recent cruises and I think it reasonable to say there were no participants at all the company did however offer us an alternative which was a seal; just it's head and a large number of puffins. Apparently the latter had declined in earlier years due to sailors hunting them but were now re-establishing themselves unfortunately the tour operator would not give an opinion on how good they tasted. So we did not learn much but not all tours are educational.

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Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Postby tomvet » 16 May 2016 20:10

octocruiser wrote:I must say I can't concur with this sentiment based on our own experience.

I can think of odd occasions where a problem arose but was quickly solved.

Perhaps it is our own attitude that makes a difference. Perhaps our expectations are lower, perhaps we are too easily pleased - more likely we happen to travel on ships where it is the norm to get good service and we look at the who,e picture rather than at individual blips.

I sometimes read critiques of cruises - usually elsewhere, I hasten to add ;) and I simply cannot be bothered to read them through - it screams out that it is the customer's attitude that needs attention - some people go with the mindset that means they are going to seek out negatives . I have no time for them.

This does not mean that I am writing off your own grievances Tom. I am sure what happened affected your pleasure and enjoyment of the cruise. But I do take a lot of the petty stuff I read with a pinch of salt and would not use such incidents to judge the service levels of the whole industry.

You suggest they take stock of the situation before folk move on. Moving on is the most powerful weapon folk have - let them do just that . There is plenty of choice out there and no one is forced to go with an operator they find unsatisfactory.


While I agree with most of what you say, you must remember that your recent experiences have been with (a) a British cruise line (b) niche and (c) its USP is customer service. I think the mass market lines are the worst offenders and unfortunately when you are a family of 5, you are limited to mass market.
October 19 - A-ROSA Luna - Lyon- Viviers - Arles - Avignon - Vienne - Lyon
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Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Postby Mungo » 16 May 2016 21:35

Only experienced 1 bad customer service experience.......... with Princess when a somewhat rude letter was received in our cabin saying our credit card had been declined and could we come to Guest Relations to sort payment. Turns out it was their mistake as they'd entered incorrect end date. :think: No real apology from them made. :(
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Is it time for cruiselines to rethink their customer service strategies?

Postby sparkiethecruiser » 17 May 2016 20:32

can't really think of on a occasion had a few minor things had to go about but always resolved quickly.

However I remember on one cruise their was a problem with diembrakation day and we where docking a lot later than advertised due to tidal conditions. I was at reception on another matter and there was this man at reception yelling at the poor woman behind the desk the whole deck could hear him. He wanted to phone about his flight or something but we were at sea and ship satilight was not working so he couldn't phone about 10 times she explained to him that she could and would phone for him and she would keep trying but if she had no success she would call as soon as we reached Vigo when she knew we would def have a service and rearrange his flights for him the company of course would pay any costs incurred for this. This was not good enough he was there for about 15 minutes he finally walked away muttering and cursing to himself about the poor customer service. Personally I thought he got great customer service as if he spoke to me like that I'd have had him over the bloody desk :lol:. When I approached the desk the poor woman looked on the verge of tears. I smiled and said you always get one.
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