The vacation and a simple memory of client service expectations

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vacation

It’s been quite some time since I took a several-week vacation without maintaining this blog. It will take me a day or two to get back into the groove.

We were on a Caribbean cruise.

Vivian was awed by the experience. She has never been on a cruise before and the line we picked for the initial experience, Crystal Cruises, markets itself as an “all exclusive” experience — that is, really high-end with most of the things cruise ship operators sell as extras provided in the base fare.

The ship provided free internet, but at an hour a day, not enough to maintain the blog. As well, I doubt I could add much authoritative information about the construction marketing topics while visiting the tourist spots.

Vacations are supposed to refresh and rejuvenate and I expect this experience will pass the test.

Perhaps the most important marketing insight comes from the customer experience perspective.

When you are encased in a floating hotel for 15 days, you notice some things. We observed a relatively young but loyal staff. Several employees said they had worked with the company for 10 years or more.. Little details coupled with big comforts made the experience rewarding enough that Vivian had no problems in continuing with plans for another extensive Indian Ocean voyage we had already planned for next year.

There was only one snag and this was resolved properly.

I noticed the price for this future trip had dropped from when we originally booked the travel.

Then I discovered other strange things. The cruise we had booked offered a purportedly higher (better) category at a lower price than we were paying. And this category included some additional new offer bonuses, including further fare reductions and business class airfare (to Mauritius and returning from Cape Town) for $999. Again, the shipboard consultant confirmed I had noticed the right things and referred me back to our travel agent. After some back-and forth emails (and travel agent calls to the cruise company’s headquarters) all of the variations were confirmed, resulting in a major cost savings for the next trip.

The point here isn’t that we were able to discover some savings and have them confirmed; the issue is how both the cruise company and travel agent conducted themselves when the issues were discovered. There is no additional income for the travel agent, and the cruise company lost a confirmed booking at a higher margin for the one they ultimately accepted because they had marketed the special offers — in one respect, a real marketing fail. In another respect, however, they succeeded, because they ensured the customer experience would remain positive.

It doesn’t take much to get it right.

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