BC Ferries goes digital

8 Dec

A little over a year ago we did up a neat little animation for BC Ferries to introduce them to what we call the Fully Integrated Customer Experience. At the time, they were planning their social media strategy but their vessels were strictly offline for passengers.

You can watch the short vid here.

While our vid was not the wind that shook the barley, change has nonetheless come fast. They now offer WiFi on their Vancouver-Victoria route and dozens more work-stations with power outlets.

They launched their presence in social media this year and over the past few months their activity on Twitter has significantly increased. They currently use this platform as a channel to get critical information out (ferry delays and/or cancellations are particularly helpful) and to retweet comments about themselves.

As a consequence of this strategy, they are not following their customers yet. But it looks likely to come soon. It’s difficult to appreciate what a large vessel BC Ferries is, and how methodically change has to come unless you are directly underneath it.

It’s been a welcome sea-change over the Strait of Georgia.


12 Responses to “BC Ferries goes digital”

  1. variedthinking December 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    They, like any other company, don’t like bad press and that’s what they would get if they “followed”. But they get it anyways so they should start learning to read it, but the question that has to be answered by them, can you “teach an old dog new tricks” since that is what BC Ferries is, an old dog monopoly.

  2. dougbrowncreative December 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Being a monopoly means BC Ferries doesn’t have to do anything, but the fact that they are working hard to improve their customer experience says a lot. And I do know they are working hard because we are involved in some of those efforts. They take a lot of bashing in the press, but visitors here always marvel at the service. It’s pretty damn good in my opinion.

  3. variedthinking December 8, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    Your just saying that since their a client of yours. What would you say if they were’nt.

    Oh sure their trying, very trying at times (like me) and what most people get upset about is the salary the CEO makes. That is total bullshit for any CEO of a Crown Corp and we pay for it every-time there is a rate increase which pisses people off even more.

  4. Michael Ho December 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    I dislike BC Ferries in a lot more ways than I like them but I do commend them for Tweeting out updates now.

    A lot of my hatred comes from traveling with them 50% of the year and most of the time with a Pet thus I end up paying full price like everyone else but I get to sit in a room littered with feces, unclean, freezing cold in the winter, extremely hot in the summer – really the pet area is unfit for even a worst enemy.

    Overall I don’t have to go out of my way to find displeasure on a ride but I do commend them for finally using tweets to send updates on sailings.

  5. dougbrowncreative December 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    > Michael, it’s good that you can see the positive in the midst of your negative experience. Doesn’t sound like much fun sitting in the cold with dog crap. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Sarah December 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I completely agree with you, Doug, that having the monopoly means they don’t HAVE to do anything, so I see the things they do as a bonus.
    Read a few complaints recently about the wifi having blocks to certain sites deemed pornographic or otherwise “inappropriate”, and I don’t get that. Since they didn’t have to provide the service at all, and they are providing it, don’t they get to set whatever parameters they want? Seems to me to be kind of like going to a pizza place and complaining that they don’t have chinese food. Granted, an expensive pizza place, that is the only pizza place in town, with an apparently feces ridden pet area…but still.
    I have my BC Ferry complaints, like everyone, but you won’t hear me complaining about anything they do that could potentially improve the quality of my experience.

  7. Michael Ho December 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    > Sarah, Take a Ride in the Pet Area one trip – you’ll have a lot to complain about after that (Deck 4) 🙂

  8. dougbrowncreative December 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    > Thanks for that comment Sarah. The unfortunate thing from Ferries’ perspective is that anything they do that causes a problem ends up on Page 1 of the Times Colonist, and the good things end up on Page 16. In many ways, they are in a no-win situation, which casts the digital add-ons in an even better light.

    > Michael I am about to experience this for myself for the first time as I am taking my dog aboard tomorrow. I will report back here with an honest take on it.

  9. Michael Ho December 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    > dougbrowncreative, Do your “Business” before you get on the boat is my only advice 🙂

  10. Renée December 9, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Way to keep the main thing the main thing. This was about the progress BC Ferries has made in a totally relevant area. There will always be room for improvement. One hopes that complaints/feedback would be received where needed in order to continue said improvement. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

    Anyways, I’m straying…I’m glad BC Ferries has Internet access. They didn’t HAVE to. Clearly they were listening to good advice delivered in an effective manner.

  11. dougbrowncreative December 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    I’m glad they have Internet access too Renee. And to Sarah’s comment, who the heck would be surfing porn on the ferry anyway??

  12. Michael Ho December 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    > dougbrowncreative, its 2010 There’s not much that can come across as a surprise or awkwardness anymore

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