Carnival Corporation recently announced their Ocean Medallion is on board. Similar to the MagicBand used at Disney, the Ocean Medallion is a device, worn by each passenger, that will enhance customer service, improve efficiency and create a customized personalized experience. I love it, but actually seeing a company utilize technology to enhance the customer experience is a rarity….and it shouldn’t be.

Too many companies buy the latest gadget to reduce expenses only to end up diminishing the customer experience by replacing humans with robots. Technology can be replicated, but not the person-to-person interaction.

The Ocean Medallion is an aluminum disk that can be worn as a wristband, pendant, and necklace or just carried in the passenger’s pocket. The Regal Princess will be the first ship to feature the Ocean Medallion technology. On the Ocean Medallion’s maiden voyage, the kinks will be worked out, and eventually rolled out to other brands.

Guests will be sent the medallion weeks in advance of their cruise. The technology will expedite embarkation, disembarkation, open staterooms, etc. and remove the need for paper or plastic credit cards. That is the advancement in technology that is emphasized in the press.

However, there is much more to the story and that is what impressed me and got my attention as a customer experience expert. I had the pleasure to hear a keynote address delivered by Carnival’s CEO Arnold Donald at the Fort Lauderdale Chamber Annual Luncheon. He explained wait staff, such as bartenders and other servers, will instantly know what drink or dining preference each passenger prefers based on recent onboard selections. The staff will see the passenger’s name appear on their screen and respond with, “Mr. Shapiro, I see you have been ordering Kettle One Vodka over the rocks, with a twist,” is that what you’d like me to get for you?”

That scenario is the perfect match between technology, personalization and adding the most important element of good customer service, the human-to-human interaction. Too many technology companies miss that piece of the puzzle. Yes, the technology might make a system faster and better, but the bottom line should be to enhance the human-to-human communication and interaction.

On a cruise ship, passengers are in the confined space of the ship. The Ocean Medallion is a device that will improve their personal experience and make their trip more memorable. The application of this technology is broad; as more companies adapt this technology, geographic areas will expand and include the potential for any associate in retail or hospitality to access the customer’s previous purchases, their name, where they live, etc. as they walk through the door.

Back to the maiden voyage of the the Ocean Medallion on Carnival. I think Carnival is steering their customer service in the right direction. Full steam ahead! We will revisit the topic when the ship returns.

What do you think?

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