Secret Shopper Audit for Cruise Ports

Increased customer experience can make all the difference towards a successful cruise call or turnaround operation. The awareness and the flow of appropriate information guided from a purely operational but also from a cultural/historical and gastronomical background of any Cruise port destination can stimulate, if organized correctly, all of the Five Senses and offer a unique service that will transform the visit to an experience.

A Customer oriented Cruise port should have a very simple main goal: ''Exceed Guest Expectations Every Time''.

As the ports/terminals are the first and last point of contact, they play a major role in the final experience of the passengers. Every port has its challenges and its operational efficiency is often judged by the minor details even though a system of operation might be in place.

It is time to reverse engineer the process and assess the port/destination performance from an external point of view and then through a structured process access the areas that might need improvement in order to reach, according to the set KPI’s, a satisfactory level of experience provision. This way the port will be actively part of the experience offered and the passengers are receiving this as part of their cruise trip. Through the Five Senses Experience Audit the performance is measured from an expert’s eye perspective and then through a formal process specific areas that need to be improved, in order to reach a satisfactory level for guest experience, are proposed. This process adds significant value and increases the positive outcome of the total experience offered, leading to higher grading from the passengers and more business from the cruise lines.

The ‘Secret Shopper Exercise’ starts with a pre-visit social media assessment followed by a 2 full day visit to the port during cruise calls and/or turnaround and assess the current state of operations and customer experience offered from the port, using a list of 30 different factors. During the visit a number of characteristics are being assessed in relation to what the destination has to offer in terms of a structured experience product.

Then an extensive report will analyze every score given and identify and suggest, in a very practical way, improvements and areas that need attention.

After the first review of the proposed improvements/changes and a follow up discussion on the report, a priorities list is composed from management with our assistance together with the Audit Report Action Plan (ARAP) for each of the identified and approved for implementation actions. If a Destination performance measurement tool does not exist we will provide one with all the adequate support for the port management to run the exercise. Additionally we can provide a self-assessment scorecard for the guest service excellence.

Through this formal process apart from the Port Management team, the local authorities and all relevant stakeholders will understand that the proposed actions will lead to a series of practical improvements both for theιr micro- infrastructure and transforming the service level provided from the port into a guest experience, resulting in higher spending of the passengers.

Finally, a number of Five Senses Experience improvement projects will be identified, analyzed and proposed adding value to the experience by incorporating local characteristics, practical advice and technological innovations that will make any guest’s visit a memorable one.

I am looking forward to discussing, in more detail, this new, unique, innovative service and add value and guest excellence to your port.