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What is “good” customer service?

23 February, 2010

A while back, I went into a restaurant and ordered some food to take out and while I was waiting the waitress offered me a free beverage, which I happily took. As I was sipping my free beverage, I thought ‘now this is “good” customer service’.

Of course, I have now told all my friends and have had many of them visit the restaurant due to the good word of mouth and positive feedback. It went on my Facebook page, my Twitter account and now on this blog. The marketing cost for a company to have their reputation increased on a global scale is in the thousands (if not millions ($USD)), yet the cost of a giving away a free beverage is less than a dollar – You do the math! So why don’t all companies do this?

Well, although we cannot serve free beverages online, we do have some fantastic products and the focus is shifting more and more to raising our levels of customer service. Here is how…

Customer Service Channels
Before December, our only customer service channel on the Hurtigruten Global website was via the phone and email, which was distributed through several departments before arriving at the correct one. Since the turn of the year, we have launched an FAQ section, which separates General, Norwegian, Explorer and Excursion related questions, with a new Payment and Social media section launched today. We have also expanded the contact email address to webhelp so any web related issues can be sent to the correct department. We have launched Twitter customer service, and in the near future a web form and Live Chat will be implemented so you send your queries directly from the website or chat with a live person via instant messenger.

Shifting Focus
Since focusing more on our online customer service levels, our response times have gone from 14 minutes down to 5.4 minutes. Our quantity of emails handled has doubled and the quality has gone increased by 14%, and all this in less than 3 weeks. As we roll out new booking engines, the teams will grow and email support and web booking support teams will become separate, creating at least 8 new job posts.

Good Customer Service = Good Customer Retention

Customer service and customer retention go hand in hand. We could have the best loyalty program in the world but without good customer service we would not have any returning passengers. During my product training, I was told of a young man who works on the ship who makes an effort to remember everyone’s name he encounters and greets them by their name each time. Personally, I find that excellent customer service and it would keep me going back that’s for sure. It’s going that extra mile that equals little effort, but maximum results. We want people to talk about Hurtigruten in a positive manner, and I will be doing all I can to make sure it happens. From what we have listened to so far through various social media channels, the outcome is good.

Hurtigruten On Twitter

Since Dec 16th, our Twitter account has acted as a customer service channel. We currently have over 80 followers and have received close 15 direct customer service inquiries. The inquiries are handled very quickly and Tweeters seem to enjoy the experience. It’s quick two way communication.  As we push this channel more prominently on the websites, and incorporate it with our summer campaign and customer interaction strategy then we can easily see the communication and followers increase.

Feedback

If you have any feedback on our customer service or any feedback regarding our web/ booking engine or customer service, kindly email webhelp@hurtigruten.com.

A while back, I went into a restaurant and ordered some food to take out and while I was waiting the waitress offered me a free beverage, which I happily took. As I was sipping my free beverage, I thought ‘now this is “good” customer service.

Of course, I have now told all my friends and have had many of them visit the restaurant due to the good word of mouth and positive feedback. It went on my Facebook page, my Twitter account and now on this blog. The marketing cost for a company to have their reputation increased on a global scale is in the thousands (if not millions ($USD)), yet the cost of a giving away a free beverage is less than a dollar – You do the math! So why don’t all companies do this?

Well, although we cannot serve free beverages online, we do have some fantastic products and the focus is shifting more and more to raising our levels of customer service. Here is how…

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