Listening to customer feedback is key to continuous improvement in the cruise industry

Feedback is crucial when controlling and measuring performance. Without truly listening to customer’s feedback, one will not be able to make the best or strategic decisions. According to Normann (2002) companies need to build strong customer relationships by listening to and acknowledging customer’s wants and needs.

To know what customers are thinking, ask them (Ben McConnell says).  Therefore, companies need to understand that it is all about reaching out in order to get an insight about how they really feel and what they think that could or should be improved.

Customer feedback can be obtained in many different ways, such as through surveys, focus groups, one on one conversations, observations, points of sale, E-mail and so on.  Another popular approach at the moment is a digital feedback screen in a certain public building, where guests can mention how they have experienced the service. There is no such thing as the “perfect method” but it is certain that with online tools as social media it is easier than ever.

By choosing a good feedback method in the cruise industry, age plays a major role. The older generation is unlikely to all have an email address, which is why several methods are automatically excluded. On the other hand, Fielding (2012) states that 86% of 55+ are now said to shop online regularly and while this does not necessarily mean they would prefer to complete an e-survey to a paper based survey it does demonstrate they are not necessarily technophobes. Yet, the gap between 55+ and 70+ is actually too big to make conclusions on.

Cruise companies suggest using electronic surveys rather than paper based and encourage effective customer feedback systems. To provide cruise companies with a high response rate, there are countless of those available on the internet. Many perceive this as the most logic approach. Objectives of implementing the electronic format are to become more environmentally friendly, to expand the survey only when the customer is willing to give more feedback and to capture detailed experience of the embarkation and disembarkation (Princess Cruises, 2010).

Luckily customers recognize the importance of giving feedback to a company. Nevertheless, many agree that questionnaires tend to be too long and are often distributed at an inappropriate time. The message when asking your customers for their input sends a powerful message in and of itself (Eric Engwall). Besides the opportunity to improve a product or service, it can also increase customer satisfaction, and retention. Customer feedback is a key driver of change and a rich source of market intelligence (Donovan & Samler, 1994). So, take advantage of it and turn feedgack into gold dust!


Beard, R. (2014, December 18). The simplest and most accurate way to measure customer satisfaction with client heartbeat. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from

Gibson, P., & Di Dino, F. (2012). Customer feedback systems onboard cruise ships. In Cruise Tourism and Society (pp. 101–114).

Khriyenko, O. (2015). Customer feedback system – evolution towards semantically-enhanced systems.Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies.

Papathanassis, A., Lukovic, T., & Vogel, M. (2012). Cruise tourism and society: A Socio-economic perspective. Retrieved October 1, 2016, from

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