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Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne awarded top-level assurance mark by Contact Centre Association; CalMac's award came after assessors praised the company's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

By Philip Murray

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The MV Loch Seaforth ferry on the Ullapool-Stornoway route. Picture: Alan Jamieson from Aberdeen, via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
The MV Loch Seaforth ferry on the Ullapool-Stornoway route. Picture: Alan Jamieson from Aberdeen, via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

A FERRY operator's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has helped it to win a top customer award.

CalMac, which runs the Ullapool-Stornoway service as well as dozens of other routes in western Scotland, was given a top-level assurance mark by the Contact Centre Association (CCA).

The accreditation was awarded to CalMac's 47-strong customer service team, and recognises their helpfulness and professionalism.

Making the award, the CCA commended CalMac for its commitment to customer service, especially in the face of the coronavirus emergency.

Rapid and regular changes to travel guidelines as the crisis developed pushed the customer team to its limits.

Over March, April and May they processed nearly 30,000 refunds, actioned 12,000 emails and answered 11,000 social media enquiries.

"The fact that we have achieved this recognition by a nationally recognised industry body in the middle of pandemic is quite an achievement for the team," said CalMac's commercial director, Diane Burke. "They have performed magnificently across this emergency period, working tireless to ensure customers have a positive experience of CalMac even though we were in the unfortunate position of having to cancel their plans

"This approach has certainly paid off as demonstrated by the loyalty of our customers. We received more than 140,000 phone calls on the first day we reopened bookings from passengers keen to come aboard again."

The CCA assessor highlighted a number of strengths in the team with evidence demonstrating staff being motivated and proud to work for the company, while being passionate about delivering high performance results and excellent standards of customer service.

They also praised CalMac's investment in staff training, work to keep people informed of service changes, and its commitment to continuous improvement.

Every year staff deal with almost 400,000 phone calls, 37,000 emails covering ferry bookings, enquires, claims and complaints.

Last year CalMac carried more than 5.6 million passengers and 1.4 million vehicles. Its 34 strong fleet serves 27 routes to island and remote mainland locations.

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