Maersk has introduced instant bookings, allowing customers to complete their bookings and receive confirmation in a matter of seconds.
According to Maersk, it is the first container shipping company to eliminate the lag time associated with the traditional booking process, which can be up to two hours. This is a top priority for the company as the delay triggers uncertainty and extra workloads in managing supply chains for customers.
“We are now making it as easy for our customers to book a container as booking a flight ticket,” said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer of A.P. Moller - Maersk. “Instant booking confirmation makes it faster, easier and simpler for our customers to interact with Maersk. 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 of sailing options with available vessel space, a list of depots with empty containers to choose from and a choice of relevant value-added services. Along with that, they get certainty that a booking will not be cancelled at a later stage.
Around 10% of bookings placed in Maersk’s systems were previously either rejected or confirmed for an alternative sailing due to lack of vessel space or equipment availability, for example. This would often result in customers following up with questions and requests for changes, accounting for 15% of all Maersk customer service calls and chats, as well as close to 200.000 emails every month.
Instant online bookings are also available via the Maersk App. This functionality has long been high on customers’ wishlists, especially in emerging markets.
“Maersk operates in several markets where mobile phones make up the primary working tool for the workforce,” said Sonny Dahl, global head of customer experience and service at A.P. Moller - Maersk. “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.”
Instant booking confirmation is available in beta for all customers through the online booking modules of the Maersk Line, SeaLand and Safmarine brands, currently covering dry cargo shipments only. Refrigerated cargo, dangerous cargo and inland container yards are expected to be added in 2019, according to Maersk.