Yet Another Example of Customer Service Effects

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I had written a previous article about the true story of customer satisfaction in how previous examples of Royal Caribbean’s service have kept my wife and I coming back for additional cruises through that company. Unfortunately the most recent cruise I just returned from wasn’t up to the standards of previous cruises by this mighty cruise company.

Perhaps the bar had been set so high but when we pay big money for a cruise vacation then ‘average’ is no longer an acceptable customer service response. On the latest cruise we did have fabulous stateroom attendant service but less than perfect service overall and general disappointment in some areas.

[easyazon-image-link asin=”B0057DBTKK” alt=”Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51J%2BuSsEEaL.jpg” align=”left” width=”250″ ]The first is that I am a big iced tea drinker, and the ship uses a liquid based iced tea so it isn’t hard to make, they just put syrup in some ice water and voila: Iced tea. When I get breakfast at the Windjammer Cafe I understand their standard is to have apple and orange juice along with coffee but when I ask for a cup of iced tea the waiter should make the cup instead of telling me that that is only available at lunch time. Especially when I could have gone to the sit down dining room and they have always made it for me there. In addition other days the same cafe made me iced tea so this clearly was an example of server laziness or inability to realize that one poor decision would have the repercussions of an unhappy customer.

The entertainment shows on the ship were subpar compared to previous Royal Caribbean cruises and the musical numbers were decent but the variety entertainment was lacking. I attribute this to the fact that the cruise had to cater to a more international audience so it lacked some of the American cruise entertainment items. No standup comedy shows existed on this cruise outside of Rome for example. I did however enjoy the Ice Skating show and anytime they have ice skating performances on a smaller ring in middle of a moving cruise ship you have to be impressed.

The food overall was fair but not excellent, buffet style is average at best and the dining a little better. There is no lobster night on the European cruises which was an unexpected disappointment as there were on the Bahama’s cruises.

Finally the waiter at dinner was the most disappointing and his service would have been good / slightly above average if not for the final day where he talked about satisfaction surveys and pushed us that “excellent does not get promotions” which was a very tacky way of pleading or passively aggressively demanding we only rated him a 5.

Overall the Liberty of the Seas Royal Caribbean cruise out of Florida was a far better cruise experience than the Navigator of the Seas out of Rome. The destinations themselves were fantastic however but the average or unfortunate service on this most recent cruise now opens the possibility that I may consider another cruise line like Princess, Carnival (again), Norwegian…etc. Though the next cruise is our Platinum cruise and gets special perks like priority service and area’s and this could sway us back to try another Royal Caribbean cruise again next year.

This is an example on how just a few below average customer experiences can potentially drive customers away from an entire business, it is imperative that businesses make sure employee’s put customers first and even if they are unable to meet a customers needs or expectations the handle the situation with the utmost tact and professionalism.

-Justin Germino

Updated: July 16, 2011 — 6:48 pm