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Royal Caribbean Navigates the High Seas of Customer Experience

To increase efficiency, loyalty, and profit, there’s one area of investment that yields sure-fire results: customer experience. Put best by Paul Greenberg, author of CRM at the Speed of Light, “If a customer likes you and continues to like you, they will do business with you. If they don't, they won't.” A perfect example of this is Royal Caribbean’s customer story, which showcases how exemplary customer service can separate business leaders from business laggards.

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Charting a course for profit

Passengers book cruises expecting adventure, relaxation, and luxury. Ideally, any new service solution that a cruise line implements would help foster that sense of ease. This is vacation, after all! As the second-largest cruise line in the world, Royal Caribbean is focused on maximizing the guest experience.

What Royal Caribbean is doing:

  • Using powerful CRM software to leverage oceans of customer data
  • Linking point of sale (POS) terminals to back-end servers for analytics
  • Adding interactive digital screens throughout the ships that display helpful information to passengers

The results so far:

Experience-minded tech helps and excites customers

Royal Caribbean uses onboard technology to connect with its guests through tailored personalized experiences, which also provide data insights that help increase operational efficiency. For example:

  • Terminals and tablets onboard run advanced POS systems, so recording and maintaining financial transactions, recognizing spending patterns, and targeting promotions are a breeze.
  • Interactive screens mounted around the ship allow guests to manage some of their own needs, make dinner reservations, and even book massages or theater tickets. Their preferences are recorded in the CRM software and can be leveraged to offer an even more personalized customer experience.
  • Smart technology and automated solutions also empower crew members to ensure all guests are served the highest-quality food. Royal Caribbean has reduced food inspection times by 60 percent, saving on operational costs and ensuring a safe and consistent customer experience.

Learn more about how knowledge management and data analytics lead to happy customers

Social connectivity delivers smiles—and brings in new business

Royal Caribbean also wants guests to have the best experience possible. It’s a company priority to offer one of the fastest connections at sea, so customers are as connected onboard as they are on land.

According to Carol Schuster, Royal Caribbean’s senior VP of Marketing Worldwide, “People are inclined, at all ages, to want to share their experiences, not after they get home, but in real time. That is just human nature now because we have social media.” By making it easier for passengers to share their great vacation with their landlocked friends back home, Royal Caribbean has invested in the best advertising money can buy: word of mouth.

Customer service builds lasting relationships

Paul Greenberg’s suggestion that happy customers become repeat customers is absolutely true with Royal Caribbean. An estimated 50 percent of the cruise line’s passengers have sailed with Royal Caribbean at least once before. They’re so satisfied by the experience they receive that they choose to take another cruise over a different kind of vacation, again and again and again. Clearly, Royal Caribbean’s investments in experience continue to pay off.

Schuster ably summarizes what a customer-focused attitude can yield: “We’re building what I’m calling a customer intelligence unit, in order to become even more savvy at the way we gather and then leverage data, in order to make better marketing decisions, in order to drive revenue.”

With the right software and a company-wide focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences, it’s possible to reap the same rewards that Royal Caribbean enjoys.