The challenge

Red Funnel is the pivotal link between Southampton on the UK mainland and the popular holiday destination, the Isle of Wight. With other routes and providers available, Red Funnel recognised that increasing their market share required a competitive differentiator that went beyond price or convenience.

In 2014, Red Funnel defined their vision of becoming the customers’ choice and preferred partner to the Isle of Wight. They then set about turning this aspiration into reality; creating an end-to-end customer experience that was second-to-none.

To achieve their goal of delivering an unrivalled travel experience, and be seen as an integral and enjoyable part of their customers’ holidays, Red Funnel knew they needed to focus on:

  • their fleet
  • on-board services
  • external branding and promotion
  • their internal culture
  • the experience delivered by their people

Having spent time in the business to carry out our diagnostic, we understood the operational challenges employees faced day-to-day. Delivering outstanding customer service became particularly challenging during the peak summer period where numbers of passengers and, historically, complaints increased.

Our goal was to engage Red Funnel’s employees and empower them to deliver the new brand promise to customers.

What we did

Working closely with Red Funnel’s senior leadership team, we launched their new brand vision to every employee with a very clear message: ‘think like a customer’. To do this, we:

  • designed a series of communication events, delivered live from the Solent on board Red Funnel’s flagship vessel, the Red Falcon
  • captured the essence of Red Funnel’s new vision in a promotional film that showed employees’ pride and passion in working for the brand
  • delivered a bespoke management and coaching programme that was crucial to keeping the vision, and the need to ‘think like a customer’, at the forefront of day-to-day operations

The results

With clarity on the new vision, employees recognised what they needed to do differently – both with each other and with their customers.

By seeing everything through the customers’ eyes, especially on those challenging days when ‘do it right’ can become ‘get it done’, they began to see how they could make a difference in delivering a customer experience that would set Red Funnel apart. This meant that, in 2015:

  • Red Funnel saw a dramatic 113% increase in customer compliments
  • complaints reduced by 16%
  • passenger numbers increased by 16%