Archive for October 2, 2022

Letter to the editor, Pioneer Press   9 comments

I just sent the following letter to the editor of St Paul Pioneer Press  Minnesota.

“Viking Missed the Boat.

With honesty, Viking could have enlisted our sympathy with their problem. Instead came a last-minute automated e- mail telling us  “… some bookings need to be cancelled, and we are contacting you today because yours is among them.” Thus we were thrown off the Mississippi boat after we were among the first to pay in March, 2021 and some twenty days before departure.

Honest customer care could have enlisted us as friends. A personalized a message explaining why we were bumped. An offer of a possible future departure. Asking other passengers to give up their spots in return for a future reward. Enlisting our understanding from the first sign of trouble. Even now they could reach out in a more personal way to apologize and sympathize.

Viking does a great job of marketing. Not so with customer care. Any psychologist could have foreseen a human relations disaster.

Mona Gustafson Affinito, PhD, LP””

The full length version which had to be edited to meet the Pioneer Prsss length restrictions was as follows.

“Viking Missed the Boat.

It didn’t have to be that way. My stomach curdles at the sight of the “Viking” symbol. I know, there’s a lot of misery in the world and by comparison this is nothing. But my body isn’t that smart. If only they had followed their founder’s claim of the basic values he learned in his little red house in Norway they could have enlisted us as sympathetic sharer’s in the problem. Instead, a week after sending us the confirming luggage tags and only twenty days before the joyfully anticipated departure date they sent an automated e-mail with the warning not to respond. After confirming our booking number and thanking us for choosing Viking they went on to explain that they were “working around the clock to ensure that all are able to have the Viking experience for which we are known – and that you expect and deserve.”

The next paragraph goes on to explain they are still “refining the onboard operations …” ending with “… so, some bookings need to be cancelled, and we are contacting you today because yours is among them.” And in that manner we were thrown off the boat after we were among the first, or maybe even THE first to sign up and pay our money in March of 2021. No explanation of why we were chosen. Thud. There goes my stomach. And now I have to anticipate going on the next Viking cruise for which we’ve already paid. My stomach doesn’t want to go, but it’s too late to withdraw.

Instead they could have used this event to enlist us as friends. All it would have taken is honest and effective customer care. They could have called or sent a personalized email sympathizing and explaining why we were among the chosen. They could have offered us a choice of possible departures in the near future. Instead, they are completely booked through 2024, well beyond the time when I’m likely still to be able to go and enjoy. They could have done as the airlines do and asked other passengers to give up their spots in return for a future reward so that we early birds wouldn’t be dumped. Most of all, they could have enlisted our understanding from the very first time they realized they were running behind in construction. Even now they could reach out in a more personal way to apologize and sympathize.

As it is, my stomach is stuck with going on an upcoming cruise which was once highly anticipated and now feels like a punishment. Viking does a great job of marketing. Where is their customer care service? Any good psychologist could have foreseen a human relations disaster. No, I can’t accept the job. My years of practicing and traveling are pressing against the end.

Mona Gustafson Affinito, PhD, LP”

 

Posted October 2, 2022 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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