Our Passenger Relations Team is the beating heart of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, with a busy team straddled between Penzance and St Mary’s.
The team is made up of 13 people – nine in Penzance and four in St Mary’s. There are eight working in what used to known as the travel centre, three in passenger services and two running the park and ride operation.
The department operates six days a week – although passenger services also work on Sundays during the summer Scillonian III sailings – and is responsible for everything from customer bookings to Scillonian check-in, investigating claims to customer services.
The team answers on average 187-229 phone calls per day between the eight travel centre staff – that’s around 28 phone calls each, every day.
In June 2023, they also dealt with 754 emails, 840 web chats, 279 Travel Club renewals, 73 customer service cases and six freight claims.
Customer satisfaction is the number one priority of Passenger Relations Manager Ian Williamson and his team.
“We are a small team in a multi-faceted and demanding job,” explained Ian. “It can be incredibly busy and some days we don’t have time to think, but I can honestly say every one of us goes the extra mile and takes huge pride in our work.
“Our busiest days are when we have travel disruption – we ring each affected passenger, sometimes up to three times each, to ensure they’ve got the message. In the summer months, that can be 200-250 people. It’s not an exaggeration to say those days are hectic and we don’t stop until we’ve spoken to every single person. We’ve done our job properly if nobody turns up to a cancelled ship.”
Increasingly, the team’s role involves answering customer emails and the relatively new chat function on our website, which enables customers to ask questions and get a tailored response online.
The Scillonian Park and Ride team is also part of the Passenger Relations department. Ian said: “They can take 170 cars at a time, but they do so much more than just checking people’s vehicles in. The park and ride is really operating at its best right now and is a real asset.”
During the quieter winter months, the team puts in place a winter action plan to ensure everything is ready for the season ahead.
Ian, who joined the Company for a season in 2018, worked for Transport for London for 40 years and moved to Cornwall to retire.
He said: “My previous job was 24/7 and although I’d retired, I found going from that to zero quite hard, so I joined in a seasonal role and became Passenger Relations Manager three years later.
“Being part of the team is my favourite part of the job. The attitude and work ethic of the whole team is brilliant, they’re very supportive and I rely on them all.”
Passenger Relations in numbers
- Team of 13, eight full time and five seasonal
- Four based on St Mary’s,9 in Penzance
- Team answers on average up to 229 phone calls per day between 9am and 4.45pm
- Up to 170 cars in Scillonian Park and Ride