Recently I took a 17-day cruise to South America with Princess Cruises. If you’ve taken a cruise lately you already know that while the fare may be low, the end bill isn’t. It appears that everything other than some food has a price tag attached to it. By the time we left the ship we arrived at the conclusion that along with our airfare to get home from Santiago, Chili, this added up to one very expensive holiday. But don’t get me wrong. It was a wonderful holiday; a once in a lifetime experience.
Today though it’s not the price I want to address, but the lack of follow-up from Princess Cruises. I have travelled many times with this cruise line, so am considered a frequent traveller. With the amount of money I’ve spent over the years, I am very surprised at how little they care about my cruise experience. I know they have my contact information. I receive several emails daily, all selling me on booking a new cruise.
I’m using Princess Cruises as an example, however, I imagine they aren’t the only company in the world who can’t be bothered to say thanks or to ask a simple question like, “How was your experience? or “How can we improve?”.
When I didn’t hear anything from Princess Cruises within 30 days of returning home, I couldn’t help but get the impression that they really don’t care about me, nor would they do anything about my feedback even if I shared something publicly. The lack of communication also made me wonder if they might be afraid of what they might hear. It might cause them to have to change or react.
Let’s remember that selling isn’t feedback, and that buying from a company doesn’t mean I’m always happy. Feedback should be done after right after a sale is complete.
Size also doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be a company the size of this cruise line, or have lots of employees. The customer doesn’t need to spend a lot of money with you, nor do they have to be a long-standing client. It can sometimes be better to ask a new customer for feedback as they might be more objective, and see your business through fresh eyes.
Feedback gives you reason to celebrate the performance of your people, identity processes and systems that are weak, and identify areas for improvement and profitability. Best of all, it tells your customer you care, and that if they talk, you will listen. You are building a relationship by engaging in a dialogue.
So, get over the fear and ask the questions! It is so much better than not asking and ignoring a customer. You might not like what you hear, but then again you might really love it!