Guest satisfaction is our top priority – and not just during the cruise. Our comprehensive service begins before check-in, and continues until guests are back home. In 2011, we further developed our services to ensure that our guests are even better cared for at all times.
Customer care before, during and after the voyage
Central Customer Management
In 2011 we once again turned the spotlight more directly onto the needs and wishes of our guests. We have brought together the departments for Direct Marketing, the AIDA Club, Quality Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Market Research and Complaints Management in the newly established Central Customer Management section. Our employees manage customer dialog from A to Z. They answer all questions that arise before and during the voyage, handle complaints and attend to the comfort of AIDA Club members. But they also conduct customer satisfaction studies and undertake their strategic and operational evaluation. Customer management also acts as a “lobby” for our guests in the company, actively bringing their input and suggestions to bear on the development of new products. Monthly quality meetings are held in which all the important results from the guest questionnaire are presented and discussed with the responsible operational departments. This allows us to come up with target-oriented strategies and new offers. During its dry dock in 2011, for example, AIDAvita was fitted out with a Teens Area in response to the wishes of our guests. But changes have not been limited to customer management. In 2011, we enhanced our dialog with guests thanks to travel-related email communication. 120, 60 and 10 days before their cruise, our guests receive an email with a wide variety of information to help them prepare for their dream holiday. The content ranges from advice on visa requirements right through to tips on packing suitcases. We will be further intensifying this service in 2012.
Improved questionnaire for happier guests
Whether it concerns travel to the ship, restaurants, or the on-board entertainment program, we want to continually improve both our performance and that of our partners, and adjust our offers to perfectly match our guests’ wishes. Which is why we completely revamped our guest questionnaire in 2011. The questionnaire is now available in electronic format, rather than as a hard copy. At the end of their trip, our guests receive an email with a link to the questionnaire. This offers numerous advantages. For one, the electronic questionnaires are very well received – with a response rate of around 50%.
Furthermore, we receive the results much faster, generally within the three days following the guests’ arrival home. And finally, the environment also benefits. With the launch of the digital questionnaire, we are saving up to 2.8 tons of paper per year. However, we have done more than simply change how the questionnaire is delivered. We have also redesigned the questions to make them more specific. In addition to providing ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=very satisfied; 5=not satisfied at all), customers can also add detailed comments about individual services where they recognize room for improvement or, indeed, a particularly good performance. This allows our guests to sketch out a clearer picture of their vacation – and we can use this to develop our product in a more target-oriented way.
Short-term planning, long-term strategy
The differentiated evaluation provided by our questionnaire is put to use in two different ways to improve our service: We use it for both our day-to-day operations and our long-term business strategy. The short-term result is that we provide our crew with consolidated feedback on their performance in the individual areas just five days after the end of the cruise. This allows us to react to wishes and suggestions for small changes right from the following voyage, thus ensuring the quality of our product.
Central Customer Management strategically provides monthly quality indicators for the individual departments, for new destinations and for specific issues such as arrival by plane. Findings from this allow us to draw up mid and long-term strategies for quality management and then monitor and document their implementation.
Customer satisfaction 2011
In 2011, we introduced a customer satisfaction index to allow us to indicate customer satisfaction levels even more transparently. The index sets out the satisfaction of our guests in percentages over one fiscal year. It takes into account all weighted satisfaction levels for the different aspects of the cruise in relation to overall satisfaction. In 2011, the customer satisfaction index was 95% on average, and even reached 97.5% in some cases.
Off Topic: Accessible cruising
Our customer management team constantly works to provide all guests with a relaxing vacation. We made more progress in this direction in 2011, by ensuring that a vacation with AIDA is also accessible to those with hearing impairment. For example, we have made a cabin set available which includes visual and tactile alert for someone knocking on the door, the phone ringing or an alarm. Furthermore, we have installed inductive audio systems on all our ships – at reception and in the on-board theater or “Theatrium”. They amplify the volume of the speech of reception personnel and the voices and sounds on the stage in both hearing aids and implants.
Rapid and professional: Our complaints management system
We want to provide our guests with an outstanding service – before, during, and after the voyage. If a guest nonetheless has grounds for complaint, we react promptly and personally, be it on board or ashore. In 2011, we completely restructured our complaint management system in response to the findings of a customer satisfaction survey on the handling of complaints, carried out in August 2010.
Flexible and solution-driven: On-board complaints management
In terms of the on-board training of middle and top management in 2011, there was a firm focus on the topics of service, quality assurance, and complaints management. Furthermore, we equipped all of our club ships with a central information database containing all the key data on dealing with guest feedback on board. This allows us to support the crew in responding even more flexibly to guests’ concerns and quickly finding satisfactory solutions. Our goal for 2012 is to further boost our on-board employees’ complaints management skills.
Individual and across all channels: Shoreside complaints management
In 2011, we expanded and restructured our shoreside team. Each guest now has a personal contact with whom they communicate directly – from when they first get in touch right through to the resolution of the complaints handling process. In order to respond in a more flexible way to our guests’ concerns, we have made our response channels more flexible and extended our dialog across all communications channels. Personal communication over the telephone in particular allows us to establish contact and handle complaints in an even more personalized and direct way. However, we leave it up to our guests to decide how they wish to receive our response. After all, why should someone wait for a letter when they’ve written us an email?
Aided by these diverse measures, we cut processing times for complaints by almost half in 2011. We now process complaints within five to ten working days.
Complaint rate for 2011
The complaint rate is the proportion of all AIDA guests who make a complaint in one fiscal year. Since 2011, we have differentiated between complaints which refer to the overall voyage – in other words, the cruise itself as well as arrival and departure – and complaints which refer exclusively to the stay on board. In 2011, the average complaint rate was 2.53% for the overall voyage and 1.67% for the stay on board. That means we have not yet quite reached our target of 2.50% for the overall voyage and 1.60 % for the stay on board.
AIDAbella was selected as the most popular cruise ship of the year 2011 by HolidayCheck.de. Almost 7,000 vacationers commented on and evaluated their experiences on cruise ships on the online travel portal. Places three to five were also secured by ships from our fleet: AIDAvita, AIDAluna and AIDAblu.