Carnival Cruise Lines Customer Service & Total Quality Management

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In this part, total quality management concepts will be applied to assess Carnival’s customer service. To start with, the essential strategies company implements are identified:

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  • Providing information related to business, cruises, price, support programs, etc. on Carnival’s website, and in FAQs section, in particular;
  • Sharing contacts that customers can additionally use to gather more information;
  • Holding standards for communication with customers;
  • Tracking customer’s satisfaction (feedback collection on the website);
  • Using digital platform (OceanMedallion) to support guests onboard;
  • Collecting customer’s personal data;
  • Using a cause-effect diagram aimed to investigate serious complaints.

These instruments are common to the industry and do not differentiate the company from its competitors. Besides, customer satisfaction is also at an average level.

Assessing Current Customer Services Through A Perspective Of Total Quality Management

Carnival does an excellent job with communication, which is also an aspect of total quality management. The company engages in different communication channels (website, email, hotline, digital platform) and collects feedback. OceanMedallion can rightfully be considered the company’s pride, representing an example of the integration of advanced technologies into customer service. Besides, the introduction of this system signals a fact-based decision-making approach, implying that the company managed to identify the flaw based on the collected data and smartly address the problem. Moreover, a strategic and systematic approach finds its reflection in customer service when dealing with serious complaints. Thus, a cause and effect diagram assists in breaking down an issue into smaller pieces to solve it more efficiently. These are definitely the most substantial parts of Carnival’s customer service.

Nonetheless, guided by the principle of customer-focus of Total Quality Management, the latter aspect confirms the low-efficiency level of the strategy adopted by Carnival. Whatever customer service tools the company uses, the customer determines whether they were worth it and achieved their goal. A sign of continual improvement could be introducing a digital service OceanMedallion, that aims to bridge the gap in passenger communication and awareness. However, there are other drawbacks to Carnival’s approach that are worth working on. Among them, for example, are the poor use of the collected personal data of customers, the lack of tracking the reasons for the loss of potential customers, the inactive development of staff’s skills and expertise. Therefore, more emphasis should be put on continual improvement and total employee involvement.

Furthermore, Carnival seems to underperform when it comes to new customers’ acquisition and return. This could largely be attributed to a lack of integrated systems and process-centeredness. In other words, in working with potential and former clients, the company has not tried out a methodology or a system to track the parameters that influence the (re)purchasing decision (Bowen et al., 2014). Nevertheless, this is a crucial component of business expansion.

Overall, the following areas of improvement are identified based on the application of Total Quality Management principles:

  • Lack of methods and processes for processing passenger information;
  • Lack of continuous improvement in the quality of service and staff training;
  • Insufficient level of tracking of indicators of work with clients.


The recommendations are now provided to address the identified areas of improvement based on the concepts of Total Quality Management. A customer relationship system (CRM) is proposed to implement to process passengers’ personal data as well as record interactions with acquired and potential customers. The system should consider, among other things, such parameters as the time spent on the website, time of waiting for responses, rates of returned customers, etc. Moreover, based on the gained information, Carnival could further develop a process-based approach towards customers retention and, thus, support more effective communication than leads to a new or repeated purchase (Bowen et al., 2014). A Pareto chart is also proposed to be introduced based on the CRM. The chart is to be used when assessing the significance of various parameters. Thus, the management could have an understanding of the most problematic areas in customer service.

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This strategy would greatly benefit the business opening the door to further continual improvement and introducing integrated systems and standards based on the identified gaps. CRM implementation together with the Pareto chart would enhance a decision-making approach that accurately weights the risks and benefits associated with the company’s development and predicts the possible outcomes of a particular change. In general, these two recommendations represent a significant change in working processing but are worth all the efforts since they are believed to influence the quality of service favorably.

Finally, CRM would lay the foundation for defining the skills and expertise needed to educate personnel through training, masterclasses, and learning courses. Perhaps there will be a need for a corporate training center that would optimize employees’ onboarding and help them improve professionally to raise the level of service provided. Overall, all recommendations fulfill the weak areas of Carnival’s customer service comprehensively. The proposed ideas will improve the business performance by incorporating the principles of Total Quality Management such as smooth communication, fact-based decision making, integrated systems, and continual improvement.


Bowen, R., Daigle, R., Stowell, G., & Strother, E. (2014). Carnival corporation case study [PDF document]. Web.

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BusinessEssay. "Carnival Cruise Lines Customer Service & Total Quality Management." September 9, 2022.