“Milestone for the entire industry” eliminates delays and gives customers visibility to sailing options.
A.P. Møller – Maersk says its customers now can complete their bookings within seconds compared to previous waiting times of up to two hours.
Eliminating this delay is a top priority for Maersk, the company said in its announcement Thursday asserting it is the first container shipping line to launch instant booking confirmation.
“We are now making it as easy for our customers to book a container as booking a flight ticket. Instant booking confirmation makes it faster, easier and simpler for our customers to interact with Maersk,” said Vincent Clerc (pictured above), A.P. Moller – Maersk chief commercial officer. “It is a milestone for the entire industry and a concrete example of how we are bringing our strategy to life when we improve the customer experience through seamless digital offerings.”
With the new solution, customers get visibility to sailing options with available vessel space, a list of depots with empty containers to choose from and a choice of relevant value-adding services, Maersk said, adding that more importantly, customers get certainty that a booking will not be canceled at a later stage.
Due to such issues as lack of vessel space or equipment availability, about 10 percent of bookings entered into Maersk’s systems previously were either rejected or confirmed for an alternative sailing, often spurring customers to follow up with questions and requests for changes, the company said, noting that follow-up inquiries have accounted for 15 percent of all customer service calls and — and close to 200,000 emails every month.
With the release of instant booking confirmation, Maersk also is introducing online booking via the Maersk app. Enabling instant bookings directly from a mobile phone is another functionality that has long been high on Maersk customers’ wish lists, particularly in emerging markets, the company said in Thursday’s announcement.
“Maersk operates in several markets where mobile phones make up the primary working tool for the workforce. Here instant booking confirmation straight from the mobile phone will be a huge improvement for our customers’ supply chain managers. It will further enable trade in these markets,” said Sonny Dahl, global head of customer experience and service for A.P. Møller – Maersk.
Instant booking confirmation is available in beta for all customers through the online booking modules of the Maersk Line, SeaLand and Safmarine brands. The functionality currently covers dry cargo shipments. Refrigerated cargo, dangerous cargo and inland container yards are expected to be added next year.
A video demonstration is available here.