Royal Caribbean Cruises have always had a reputation for delivering a quality product for it's huge and growing customer base but over the last few years, the vision from the top, was that they wanted to deliver even more.
As Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean's President put it, he wanted the company to be the one to '...pull the sword out of the stone'. It seems he may well have achieved just that.
A huge customer feedback and analysis programme was commissioned with the sole aim of determining how the company could deliver an even more personalised and fulfilling experience for its customers.
Subsequently, the recent launch of their new flagship cruise liner Quantum of the Seas, was the start of the physical manifestation of bringing the Customer Feedback to life: Guests were met with tablets for check-in, RFID wristbands for guests allowing for swift, cashless payments through 'touch', a robotic bartender and a "viewing capsule" that lifts passengers 300 feet above sea level. But that was just the start.
Perhaps the most impressive of all, was the technology deployed to provide personalised pricing for each customer: Fine-tuned pricing software generates personalised discounts, changing the customer's experience even before boarding.
"The original reservations system and pricing model
was fashioned after the fare codes used by airlines,
which ultimately didn't align well with the more
dynamic environment we are in," says
Santiago Abraham, vice president of global
business solutions at the $8 billion cruise line.
Royal Caribbean can now get more creative with its offers.
For example, it can launch campaigns on the fly if a particular voyage isn't selling well, or enable customers to use all of the offers for which they qualify.
In the past, starting a new promotion took weeks, because IT had to build systems to support it. And there was no automated way for customers to combine of all their personal discounts--say, one for being member of the Crown and Anchor loyalty program, another for being a senior and yet another for being a resident of Florida. Cruisers had to call Royal Caribbean for workarounds. "It was difficult for a guest to decipher the best price we could give," says Abraham.
Now customers automatically get the best offer based on which discounts can be combined, he says. And that makes for a much improved customer experience.
"This makes sense for cruise lines, especially if they
are sending these targeted offers to their
existing customers," says Mark Ferguson, a
management professor at the University
of South Carolina.
Naturally, we are proud here at CSN to have help join Royal Caribbean on this on-going Journey to Customer Service Excellence and remain excited to see where it will lead next.
[Some content credited CIO]