New highway initiative will ease the journey for passengers travelling UK – France

“The team are on board to answer any questions the public may have about the new highway initiative and also give passengers the chance to win a VIP crossing,” says Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager BU Short Routes & Passenger. From left to right: Laura Charlton, Steve Garner, Nina Shah from The Lower Thames Crossing and Romain Van der Becq.

This Summer, guests sailing on the Eastern Channel (UK – France) routes have the opportunity to learn more about a new Highways England initiative that DFDS is supporting, the Lower Thames Crossing.

Andrew Dempsey from the Lower Thames Crossing says: “The Lower Thames Crossing is part of the largest investment in the UK’s roads in a generation. If given the go ahead, the longest road tunnel in the UK will be built below the River Thames, easing congestion on the Dartford Crossing and other local roads, and provide a more direct route in and out of Kent that will help make the journey of millions of DFDS passengers travelling to Dover more reliable and quicker.”

The three-lane planned major new road will link the counties of Kent and Essex and will double capacity across the River Thames. It has been billed as the “UK’s most ambitious road scheme since the M25”, and the 14.5-mile route will include a 2.4-mile tunnel under the Thames. If plans are approved, the construction of the road is scheduled for completion in 2027.

“The team are on board to answer any questions the public may have and also give passengers the chance to win a VIP crossing. All they have to do is send a photo or video of a journey on a DFDS ferry to @dfds_uk and @lowerthames using #ImOnBoard,” says Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager BU Short Routes & Passenger.


DFDS launches ‘Ferry Important Passenger’ campaign

Following a successful lead generation campaign, the BU Short Routes and Passenger Campaign Team saw an opportunity to utilise the expertise of the external agency used, GUC, to create an interactive digital experience for customers that results in them receiving personalised added value offers to book with DFDS.

Ferry Important Passenger (F.I.P.) engages with customers in a fun and dynamic way whereby the customer takes a quick quiz to build a profile of who they are, to find the right offer, just for them.

The project was kicked off by Stephen House, Senior Campaign Manager UK and Celest Jansen, Head of Campaigns to meet the following objectives in collaboration with Steve Newbery, Onboard Commercial Director:

• Create a fun and engaging way to showcase and target our Added Value range to relevant customer groups
• To collect data on our customers preferences and increase sign ups to our DFDS database
• To provide additional volume and interest in our Eastern Channel and Newcastle – Amsterdam routes for late peak summer bookings
• Generate an experience that is competitively difficult to copy in a key booking period
• To create social interest and activity through an entertaining DFDS digital experience

Stephen House says: “It has taken a lot of good work to roll out the tool for the first time across the UK and Continental markets, but now the leg work has been done the tool can continually be adapted across any market or route. Huge thanks go to Aimee Parnham – UK Campaign Manager, Wesley Muller – Content and Design Specialist, Joyce Dijkhuizen – Continent Campaign Manager and Sandra Nota – Customer Dialogue Manager for their dedication on this project”.

Aimee Parnham, Campaign Manager UK, says: “F.I.P. aims to make customers feel extra special by tailoring an offer just for them, based around their own interests and lifestyle choices. This is a truly exciting tool that can be used time and again with different products, that provides us with a unique way of getting targeted customer propositions out to market. Thanks also goes to Captain Andreas Kristensen of King Seaways for being the face of the campaign.”

This digital experience is fully responsive and has been designed to work across desktop, tablet and mobile. *
Why not try it out for yourself?

* The tool is not supported on the discontinued Internet Explorer which accounts for < 1% of traffic.


Logistics and Ferry join Tata Steel in Ijmuiden to share and learn

Inside Tata’s autonomous steel warehouse

Last year, some of our DFDS Metal team colleagues visited Volvo Cars in Gothenburg.

This year, DFDS Metal team members from both Logistics and Ferry met with Tata Steel in the Dutch port of Ijmuiden.

Tata Steel is Europe’s second largest steel producer. They make steel in the UK and the Netherlands and have manufacturing plants across Europe.

Niclas Bohlin, Industry Sales Expert for Europe, says: “During our one-day session we delved into what we see as challenges in our respective companies, and we discussed matters like safety and innovation to make sure that we continue to offer the logistics solutions that our customers need now and tomorrow.”

Autonomous steel warehouse optimises storage and reduces damage to cargo
The meet-up also included a visit to Tata’s new autonomous steel warehouse.
“It is a really safe place, as operators are not allowed into the operations area. Tata optimises storage via computer planning and prepares outgoing cargo during the night to better handle inbound cargo during the day. The warehouse is connected to the factory via an autonomous rail connection, and all these processes result in less cargo being damaged and things running more smoothly,” says Niclas.

The importance of working with several levels of the customer organisation
“Knowing the customers on more levels than just logistics means that we get a better understanding of their challenges and are better positioned to work more efficiently and safely. When we also share knowledge with our customers’ colleagues in operations, sales and IT, we build trust both ways, which in turn makes us better able to expand our businesses together,” says Niclas.

BU Channel celebrates Mother’s Day

Trisha Sharman, Operations Co-Ordinator, Dover, presenting one of our lovely Mothers with a surprise access pass for herself and her husband to the Premium lounge and to enjoy a complimentary meal for two.

On 31 March the team in BU Channel celebrated the special ladies travelling with DFDS as it was Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is a celebration to honour the mother of the family.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: “The teams in both Dover and Newcastle selected some special ladies and their families to a Premium Lounge Upgrade and a meal on our Dover routes and in Newcastle, we invited selected families to a complimentary meal in the Explorers Kitchen for them to enjoy together on their cruise to Amsterdam.”

“Other mums were presented with boxes of chocolates at check-in and in the loading lanes, and lots of delight was shared via our social media channels from our selected customers, which always brings a lot of smiles and great comments from our followers.”

“When we make the extra effort with these types of events, these complimentary rewards are always extremely well received. Thank you to Marisa Corbo and her team in Dover and to Jade Whitfield and her colleagues in Newcastle for looking after these lovely ladies on Mother’s Day,” says Steve.

Happy mothers in Dover:

And happy mothers in Newcastle:

BU Channel celebrates national ‘Love Your Pet Day’

In Dover, Dunkerque and Calais, the teams celebrated ‘Love Your Pet Day’ with our customers in the ports, rewarding 20 furry-guest lovers with a fabulous pet gift box, filled with pet essentials.

February 20 is national ‘Love Your Pet Day’ in the UK and it’s a great day to show your love for our little furry friends. Whether you’re a cat or dog lover, or you’ve got a family of chimpanzees sharing your home with you, this is the day to spoil them even more than you normally do, and show them how much they mean to your family.

In Dover, Dunkerque and Calais, the teams celebrated this special day with our customers in the ports, rewarding 20 furry-guest lovers with a fabulous pet gift box, filled with pet essentials.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager at BU Channel, says: “It was so exciting sharing this national day, where we surprised and delighted our customers with their super pet gift boxes.”

“On our Dover – France routes we carry around 86,000 dogs a year. This generates a very respectable revenue for our routes as we have many guests who love to take their furry family member on their annual holiday or to visit family in other countries. In BU Channel, we have implemented a number of pet initiatives over the last year to enhance the customer experience for passengers travelling with their furry family members, ranging from our dedicated DFDS Pet Pals who are first-aid trained to support in the times of need, to a new pet exercise area in Dover.”

BU Channel trials customer satisfaction tool at check-in

In January 2018, the BU Channel On-board Services team implemented the Smiley or Not temperature check system on board all six vessels on the Dover – Calais and Dover – Dunkerque routes.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: ”We have received over 500,000 responses and we can see that this tool is a fantastic benefit to us allowing us to act immediately on changes. Understanding the satisfaction of our customers is absolutely paramount to us so that we can ensure we are on the right track or we can act quickly in the event of something impacting satisfaction. Due to the success of this tool, a trial has commenced on the passenger vehicle check-in booths in Dover.”

“We commenced the trial at the check-in booths over two weeks ago and we can see this is already a very popular tool for our customers. We can see immediately what our customers are feeling through the smiley face system and the outcome is extremely positive. We have achieved a Net Promotor Score of 67, which is absolutely amazing, and this just cements the fantastic job our team in BU Channel do on a daily basis on board and ashore to guarantee a memorable and positive customer experience for our valuable guests. Due to the success of the Smiley or Not tool, this will be rolled out to all tourist passenger check-ins in BU Channel in the first quarter of 2019. We are extremely excited about that.”

Karen Norman, Operations Co-ordinator, showcasing the Smiley or Not console on the check-in booth in Dover


We all love a story with a happy ending…

Many thanks to Florence Brunel, Acquisition & Brand Marketing Specialist, for sharing this nice story with us all.

This wonderful story started on board our Dieppe – Newhaven ferry. While travelling back to Brighton, one of our little passengers, Lula, lost her cuddly toy. Lula’s mother contacted us the following day to ask if “Doudou” had been found and after a lot of searching, our crew finally managed to track him down on board. The Business Leader said that he would look after the toy until Lula could pick him up at Newhaven. Lula was terribly sad to be separated from her lifetime friend but to help her feel better, her mother and the crew decided to tell her a story about Doudou’s adventures on board the ship.
This is what the crew wrote for little Lula:

We found a little toy dog wandering on a big ferry boat, sad and unhappy. At first it was difficult to understand what he was saying but we listened very hard and he told us that his name was Doudou, that he had lost his family but most of all, he was missing his best friend Lula.

We said he must stay with us until his family came back and as we were short-staffed, we asked him to help on board. Being busy helped to keep him smiling and took his mind off his problems!

Doudou’s first job was in the kitchens. He was an immediate success and soon made friends with all the chefs. He cooked an excellent spaghetti bolognaise which was very popular with everyone!

We saw that he was very clever and reliable so we asked him to replace the storekeeper and he agreed. Very quickly, Doudou learned to drive the forklift truck and did a wonderful job. In spite of his smiling face, we all knew that Doudou felt sad and missed home, so we gave him lots of jobs to keep him occupied.

Doudou went to work in the cafeteria serving meals to passengers. Then he was asked to be cashier and to take money at the till.

He served drinks in the bar before moving to the Information Desk. Everything was going well until we received a message saying that his family had called and that Lula was very sad without him. He was overjoyed and very excited about seeing Lula again!

We talked about all his adventures and I thanked him for all his hard work. I was surprised when he rushed off to the shop and spent all his wages on sweets – I thought that he must be a very greedy dog and I told him not to make himself sick! He winked and said: “Don’t worry – the sweets are not for me! Lula loves sweets and I am going to share them with her.”

We think this is a wonderful story and Lula’s family is happy for us to share it with you!

We would like to say a massive thank you to all the services involved: the crew on board, the French Lost Property Team and staff at Dieppe and Newhaven for their assistance. Thanks to all of you, Lula has been reunited with her loyal friend.



BU Channel acting rapidly on passenger customer satisfaction survey results for Eastern & Western Channel

The BU Channel PAX customers who have registered an email address have the opportunity to review their trip with DFDS 1-2 weeks after their return journey. When the management team of BU Channel recently reviewed the latest customer satisfaction survey for Q3, they saw a slight decrease in the overall satisfaction for our Eastern & Western Channel routes. A workstream was implemented immediately to seek out any challenges which may have affected the customer journey or touchpoints and to investigate the change in how our customers are feeling.

Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of BU Channel, says: “The Q3 results saw a slight decrease in the overall satisfaction score from 8.1 to 7.7 for passenger services for our Dover – France and Newhaven – Dieppe routes. Overall, it is only a minimal reduction from 2017. However, it is extremely important that we look into why our customers feel slightly less satisfied with our services. Therefore we have brought together colleagues from operational teams in the UK and France, on-board services and BUGP for the three routes to devise an action plan to ensure we can increase the overall satisfaction.”

“We strongly believe the decrease is due to a change in customer expectations. The customer satisfaction survey report includes a Staff-o-Meter from all touchpoints and I can proudly share with you that we have not experienced any reduction in how satisfied our guests are with the service provided by our enthusiastic and dedicated team in BU Channel. I would like to personally thank all of the BU Channel team for their continuous commitment and hard work to ensure the most positive experience for our valued guests.”

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: ”Even though we have seen this slight reduction in our customer satisfaction survey we can see that our guests are very satisfied when we hear from them through other communication channels. The volume of complaints to Customer Care is minimal and currently represents 0.02% of passengers and 0.05% of vehicles carried year-to-date.
From interviews conducted at the port for our check-in services, our Net Promoter Score is 86 and 78 for loading experiences, year-to-date. The score on board our vessels for services received is 45 and we have received over 500,000 responses through the temperature check system.”

“Overall, our guests are extremely satisfied with the services provided by DFDS, now it will be just perfect to get a small positive push with our customer satisfaction survey to return the scores where we benchmark within the business unit. It is absolutely essential that we always listen to important feedback and that we keep up with the latest products and services to ensure we are one step ahead of our customers’ expectations.”


Increased customer satisfaction in Shipping and Logistics

The 2018 results from the yearly customer focus survey are now available and DFDS is moving up the curve again. The survey measures the temperature by means of Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and the Net Promotor Score (NPS) and includes questions like ‘What are we doing well?’, ‘What is more or less important to the customer?’ etc.

Jens Juel, Director and Head of Strategic Sales, says: “Scoring 40 on the NPS and 8.1 on CSAT are both improvements compared to the 2017 results and we are moving closer to the long-term ambition of reaching an NPS of 50 and a CSAT of 8.5. Actually, our colleagues in Shipping BU Baltic have for the third consecutive year outperformed the above-mentioned DFDS Group ambition.”

Local results will be shared by the local management teams during the first half of November.

Jens says: “Feedback will be given to customers and local action plans will be made to support the continuous improvements and to enhance our customer centricity. Satisfied customers are more likely to stay loyal to you, more likely to recommend your local services to others and potentially buy more of your services.”

Peder Gellert, EVP of Shipping, and Eddie Green, EVP of Logistics, want to thank all of you who have been delivering great service during 2018 and who have been driving the survey response rate up to an amazing 33%. More than 2,500 customers responded to the survey and gave valuable feedback enabling DFDS to become even better in the future.

Niels Smedegaard, CEO, says: “Increasing customer loyalty and customer satisfaction is directly linked to the strategic 2023 targets of DFDS. We are aiming at growing our business via bundling of services and focus on the full supply chain. We strive to be the trusted and preferred logistics and shipping partner of our customers and this customer focus survey shows that we are well on our way.”


Continuous reduction in customer complaints for BU Channel

For about a year, BU Channel has been putting a lot of effort into improving the customer experience and thus reducing the number of customer complaints.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager, BU Channel, says: “We are supporting and empowering our employees to make the right decision to find a solution to resolve a customer issue at the time, rather than passing the issue on to our customer care teams after the journey. This initiative, alongside other new steps such as the pet travel perks, forward-shipping late-arriving vehicles in the loading lanes once check-in has closed, and deploying additional employees in the loading lanes, have resulted in much better levels of customer satisfaction ashore along with several new initiatives onboard which include a new Sea Shop layout with a number of new products and enhancements to our onboard catering offering. In the last 12 months we have seen complaints reduced by 25% which is absolutely amazing, and this is down to the great work by our team in BU Channel.”

“At times, situations do arise where further investigation is required, and we have no choice other than to pass on the customer query to our colleagues in BU Group Passenger who will review the case with a fresh pair of eyes. However, reducing the number of unhappy customers and complaints is extremely important and the best way to ensure that our customers will travel with DFDS again,” Steve adds.

Jesper Christensen, Operations Director BU Channel, agrees:”The whole team should be extremely proud of the efforts which have produced these fantastic results. We have seen a reduction in complaints for all six vessels and all three ports within BU Channel, so this really has been a joint effort by all our colleagues, on board and ashore”.


DFDS launches a Group Strategy Review

DFDS has been through a significant transformation in the past decade. We have acquired companies, streamlined operations, improved our customer service, invested in digital assets, implemented new systems, improved THE DFDS WAY, and launched our Purpose.

As a result, we were last year ranked as the #1 value creating transportation company in the world! This is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from all of you.

Each year, we run a strategy process during the spring, which we present to the DFDS Board in May. We typically go through an updated financial forecast, tonnage plan, our digital roadmap, M&A agenda and outlook, and important transformation projects.

This year, we will significantly increase the ambition level of the strategy process. We know, that technology development is exponential, and that disruption can hit us any time. Therefore, while we are still successful in what we do, we need to prepare ourselves for the next decade. A lot can happen in the coming 10 years: Autonomous vehicles, the blockchain technology, online intermediaries affecting our logistics business, etc. We need to have an answer to all of these trends, and we need to take an active role shaping them. Our time horizon is 2030, but we have an ambition of taking concrete steps already in the next 1-2 years.

We will look at our business from three angles:

  • Customers. What are the most important customer trends facing DFDS’ business, how will our customers’ needs change, who will be our future customers, and where should we play?
  • Technology. What are the most important Industry 4.0 trends affecting DFDS, e.g. autonomous vessels/cars/trucks, blockchain, battery technology, etc., and what is the likelihood and timing of these technologies? How will they affect our assets and our investments in the coming years?
  • Business models. Which specific start-ups should we learn from, partner with, or invest in? Which business models in our industries will be the winning models? How do we transform a traditional shipping/logistics company to be successful with a potential new business model?

The strategy review is owned by myself and led by Valdemar Warburg, VP. The steering committee consists of the Executive Committee. The core team consists of a mix of Transformation Office resources and Digital/Innovation resources. In addition, various colleagues from our four divisions will be involved as subject matter experts and to test hypotheses.

We need all the input we can get in this very important step for DFDS. Therefore, we have set up an email,, where you can provide any input to the three themes above. This may be ideas on technology trends we should investigate, interesting article you would like to share with us, or even ideas on what strategic steps or activities DFDS should take. You are at the front of this development and you see it first hand – we welcome and value your input.

The strategy findings will be presented to the Board in the beginning of May. Depending on the outcome and the decisions taken, we will involve the broader organisation in the findings and initiatives during the fall.

Niels Smedegaard