While on a Holland America Cruise recently, I messaged my Facebook and Twitter friends that I was enjoying the “Techspert” classes that they had on-board. Like a lot of Companies today, Holland America , is monitoring the Blogosphere and Tweetosphere and I heard back quickly that they “were happy I was enjoying myself”. My response was to tell them that although I was, I thought that their Internet charges ($100 for 250 minutes) were excessive in view of the poor service (back to the OLD dial-up days). Their response was “I’ll pass it on”.
Over the next weeks as complaints on-board grew and my Internet bill reached over $600.00, I again posted my thoughts and was told by the responder that they would “pass it on”. What does “pass it on” mean?
My suggestions to Holland America are:
- Don’t monitor the “spheres” unless you are prepared to deal with the good and the bad. It doesn’t ring true and Social Media expects transparency.
- Provide the best Internet service you can at non-usurious prices. Your clients want to communicate with their families telling them what a good time they are having and sending them the photos they have taken on the way. What would be better advertising for Holland America? Word of mouth trumps corporate TV ads these days.
- Even though the demographic of “Cruisers” is tilted toward retirees, look at the growth potential in those who are still working and need good access to the Internet.
- “Value” cruises are no longer a value if you have more and more add-ons. Think of the market share that “Free Internet” would add.
- When surveying your customers on the services you provide, make sure you include all services. In the four page survey, Internet was not mentioned at all, nor was there free form space for other comments.
- Make sure that the person running the Internet Service on-board has “people skills”. However, that being said, the poor guy was dealing with complaints every minute, in a no-win situation.
- Closed circuit television presentations featuring the benefits of your On-Board Online Services, should be an honest representation of what you can deliver. Better to under-promise and over-perform.
Those are my suggestions for Holland America . Please note that it was a great Cruise in all other respects and the ship was filled with hardworking people. We hit some great destinations. We’ll see in the future if “I’ll pass it on” has any currency. So far, no word.
If you are considering some travel and Internet, here are some tips from the New York Times.