canstockphoto8002151We just returned from a Spring Break cruise – a shorter five-night sailing that hit two ports and had two full sea days. Anyone who knows me knows that I love travel in general and have a special place for cruising on one particular line that generally does everything right.

We didn’t have that “perfect” cruise this time, however. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good – even great by overall cruising standards. But this particular travel organization has set expectations so high that when things don’t go right, it’s pretty obvious. The ship was a little more beat up and it is sorely in need of a dry dock – which is going to take place in the fall – but for now there are a lot of noticeable issues. Likewise the guest service, which had always been a highlight, had some big hiccups.

As a small business person who strives to always be that premier provider, I thought about ways that the cruise line should have been keeping its eye on the ball a little better – and which would have made a difference in our experience – that every business should apply when working with good clients/customers.

Keep your eye on the horizon

Even if you are a company at the top of the category – the best cruise line, the best retail chain, the best public relations firm – don’t ever back off on providing a preeminent customer experience to every client. You should never back down from making sure that you have exceeded the expectations of every client that you serve, that every customer who sails with you leaves your ship smiling.

Swab the decks

No you don’t need a mop for this, unless you are a cruise company. But you have to pay attention to how your company looks to the rest of the world. If you have a dirty cruise ship or an antiquated website, your customers will make certain assumptions that may elicit certain behavior – like rejecting your proposal no matter how spot on it may be.

The right crew can make all the difference

No one can screw up a cruise more than a bad crew member who doesn’t understand the mission. Likewise, business people need to pull together the right team who not only understand the client’s needs, but aspire to go the extra mile to achieve amazing results. Every. Single. Time.

Leave them wanting more

When I leave a great cruise, all I want to do is book the next one. Your clients should be anticipating the next great project with your firm – where you can achieve success together. Keeping a good customer – or client – is a lot easier than finding new clients who don’t have any experience with your organization.

Cruise on over to Jeff Durosko Communications for creative strategy that delivers results.