Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein was interviewed by Forbes in a group of CEOs to evaluate how they connect with their customers. Here are Adam's answers.
What is your primary customer metric?
“Our primary customer metric is called the secured guest index. And it’s a top one out of five box on enjoyed the experience; we’ll tell other people about it; we’ll do it again. So we are looking at the percentage of people who are in the top one of each of those three.”
As CEO, how do you connect with customers?
“A small example of something that people would not expect from me or from the CEO is that I’m able to take advantage of my passion for table tennis. I’ll spend a couple of hours playing anybody who wants to play me one after another. And it’s just amazing, the response of the people. They want to try — sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re terrible. But they just want to play the CEO in table tennis.”
How do you measure results?
“The iron discipline of immediate customer feedback. We get approximately a 50% response rate on the customer satisfaction survey that we hand out at the end of the cruise. The division heads and the hotel director and the captain if necessary are seeing exactly what the feedback of the customers were in detail by area for the vacation that ended in the morning and now they have to get ready for the vacation that’s starting for a new group of 6,000 people that afternoon. And that discipline has been in place for 40 plus years and it really informs the commitment to excellence that sustains the product day in and day out.”
How do your view social media?
“The social media age, we really feel was somehow created for our benefit. And what social media has demonstrated is that people are more interested in pure opinion than anything. We really try not to come into the dialog directly. So I think at my level it’s looking for patterns that suggest issues that I’m quite keen on. We ended up in a global controversy for our decision to keep the ships going to Haiti after the earthquake two years ago, what we found was that social media in general, and my blog in particular was where we were able to speak with the voice on the issue, that was unconstrained by the formalities of press releases.”
Talk about your global focus.
“Our business is in the full bloom of transition from an industry that was principally for middle and upper middle class Americans to take 7-night cruises in the Caribbean to an industry where everybody is cruising from everywhere and traveling to cruise everywhere. One of our fixed brands called (Croisières de France), is essentially a little piece of France floating around the Mediterranean, where everything is in French language, served by French people, French cuisine, French entertainment, French everything. There are a lot of French people who prefer that environment. There are some French people who would like to be in the Royal Caribbean International global environment.”