Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

94 ROUNDTABLE Simon Johnson asks four ferry operators how they are continuing to deliver an excellent experience for their customers during times of change Rising to expectations After the unprecedented disruption of the last few years, ferry operators could be forgiven for wanting a chance to take a breath. But customers have an unerring habit of demanding excellence; perhaps even more so as inflationary pressures lead them to scrutinise the value they are getting for every form of expenditure. The companies that succeed will be those that best meet customer expectations and deliver satisfaction at every step. Here, four ferry line executives explain what they consider to be crucial to the customer experience, how needs may have changed, and the challenges they need to overcome to realise their visions. What are the most important considerations in building a first-class customer experience? Peter Ståhlberg, Managing Director, Wasaline: For customers, coming onboard the ship is like opening a new book – you have to tell them a good story. I come from the world of cruise and tried to bring some of the ideas from there to our ship’s design, including the importance of a good entrance. You can win or lose the customer in the first few seconds. So, in our main halls, we have a lot of local pictures of our destinations and large windows offering views out to sea. They really help to sell the experience of being onboard the ship, telling the story we want to tell right from the start. Views out to sea can provide a compelling first impression to passengers, says Wasaline’s Peter Ståhlberg