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Companies that master crisis communications, master crises

It’s the call that cruise companies fear most—equipment failure, weather, even a crisis is affecting the current cruise and possibly those to follow. With a corporate office often thousands of miles from the incident and multiple groups to communicate with in different ways all at once, they are left with a serious communications challenge. How to share the right message with the right people, efficiently, with care and compassion throughout?

Too often it’s easier for companies to trade what ifs for today’s needs. However, if left unchecked, damage from a crisis can be infinitely worse if the organisation doesn’t have the technology in place to respond quickly and efficiently. With the right communication solution and proper training, cruise companies can manage events, minimise customer impact and prevent reputational damage. Those who truly embrace crisis communications management can even improve goodwill!

The only certainty is change (and the need to communicate it).

No company can know what specific issue might affect cruise operations, or plan for everything. Just this year, several cruise lines have had to dramatically alter itineraries mid-voyage due to weather. Technical difficulties have forced voyage cancellations and the cancellations of voyages to follow. Even accidents that no cruise line could have planned for have disrupted travel plans and business for thousands.

The one thing a company can foresee is having to communicate the issue with those affected. Guests on-board, those in transit, guests booked to board in the future—as well as their booking agents and emergency contacts—may require important information. No small feat. And in addition to the logistical necessity of this information, it is vital in managing guest frustration, as well as negativity spreadable on social networks and other outlets.

Timely communications, done right

During a crisis, time is among the most valuable commodities—time to glean information, to communicate with all parties, cover all communications channels, make crucial decisions without distraction. However, disjointed customer reservations, content management and customer relationship management systems kill crisis management efficiency. Time and focus are lost in the shuffle.

A dynamic, centralised communications platform can take advantage of the communication channels connected to a CRM and reservation system. Tools like incident alerts are essential for crisis management, ensuring that any guests immediately impacted are given all the information needed to manage the situation. The next step, real-time communications, will build trust, help customers avoid trouble if possible and create confidence in your brand.

With the right messaging at the right time, the impact on the customer journey can be minimised. Moreover, the right communications solution will give the decision makers more time to focus on doing the best for their passengers and crew.

The follow up is just as important

While it’s easiest to move on to the next point of business following a crisis, follow-up communications are even more crucial. 74% of consumers surveyed by Sitel said they would stop doing business with a company if they received poor customer support or had a bad experience. Whether it’s a cancelled itinerary or a full-blown crisis, a travel company’s follow-up communications should be swift and personalised to minimise brand damage. However, the post-crisis time is often when organisations dive back into work missed while stretched thin to handle the extra responsibilities. Opportunities to create goodwill are often left behind.

Essential crisis communications with d-flo

The d-flo CrisisComms system has been designed to help cruise companies excel during times of crises and beyond - delivering tailored, essential customer service communications to the right audience at the right time.

Covering all digital communications channels, it’s easy to reach customers at every stage of their journey with the information and updates they need as situation changes. From a change in itinerary, schedule delays or managing something more serious, d-flo’s CrisisComms helps operators and agents to forewarn and update their customers, no matter the circumstances.

As well as delivering essential information, CrisisComms makes it easier for customer support staff to react quickly and appropriately. By integrating with your Customer Reservations System and Customer Relationship Management system, CrisisComms allows agents to alleviate anxiety and stress with key information. Reacting in real time with automated processes and lightning-fast communications reduces the strain on your customer service team and helps customers feel safe and secure.

To help you take control during a disaster and protect your brand’s reputation, CrisisComms aggregates every function that a modern cruise company needs:

  • Easy email, SMS and social media management all within one platform
  • Integration with every other customer management tool in your company
  • Automation that streamlines your key processes and delivers instant results
  • Effortless personalised updates and advice for every customer

Incidents aren’t always avoidable, but when they do occur, CrisisComms grants companies the crucial ability to respond with a comprehensive solution. The result is a group of customers and stakeholders who are more informed, safer and more satisfied. When a customer can say that a company was there for them when it mattered most, that’s what matters most.

To learn more about TravelComms and CrisisComms, meet d-flo at the CLIA Booth 405 at Seatrade Europe 2019. Arrange Meeting!