You can imagine I receive a fair amount of correspondence by letter and email. Our guests like to write about their cruises. Sometimes they tell me how great everything was. Sometimes they tell me about their issues. In the latter case, our customer service team works with the ships and various shoreside areas to investigate the issues and respond to the writer as quickly as we can.
There are many styles of correspondence when it comes to guests informing us of issues they have had. Sometimes the writer gives compliments where he/she believes they are due, either before or after detailing the problems that have precipitated the letter/email. Sometimes the writer appears to believe the longer the letter the better chance of making an impression on us. Some writers get right to the point: problem statement, requested remedy, goodbye. Some writers make it clear they will return to us no matter what. Others make it equally clear they will never sail with us again. Some letters are statements of opinion about culinary, entertainment, shore excursions, etc. Some are pinpointing very specific service or other failures that they want fixed or at least recognized. Because our cruises mean so much to our guests, we read the gamut of human emotions and reactions. It is these comments and reactions that help us understand what we are doing right as a brand or where we have opportunities to review certain aspects of our product.
At the end of the day, we understand how all of our guests look forward to their vacation and how emotional a vacation can be. Our shipboard and shoreside staff works hard to provide the best product and service possible – and on the rare occasion that something does go wrong, they do their best to assist and allow us to learn from what transpired.
It’s rare that we encounter rude or boorish sentiments from our guests, but it happens from time to time. When it does happen, I am occasionally unable to restrain myself from commenting, as I know all of the effort that goes into assisting our guests. For example, earlier this week, in an email to one of my top customer relations colleagues, the writer stated “Mark Twain said it best, “You never argue with an idiot. They’ll bring you down to their level and they’ll beat you with years of experience.” All my colleague wanted to do was help with a situation that was complicated on the guest’s side, not because of anything we had done. I advised the guest that I was not enamored with the sentiment expressed towards my colleague and that we would not take further action on the matter. Some readers may view this as a violation of the principle that the customer is always right, but in my view when a guest crosses a certain line either in writing or on the phone I will back up my colleague. I’m curious to hear the readers’ views on this.