What do the words "Extra Mile" mean to you?
When someone goes the Extra Mile for you, this can be a really powerful tool. It can make you feel honoured, recognised, comforted or thankful. It can make you change your way of thinking or it can make you incredibly grateful in a time you really need it most.
To us here at Red Funnel, it means a lot. So much so in fact, that we actively empower all members of our teams to deliver this as much as possible.
And how do we do that you ask? Well, through a range of ways really.
We’ve been thanked by you for helping with your luggage when you don’t have quite enough hands. We’ve been acknowledged for reuniting your child’s stuffed toy with them after they’ve recently lost it on one of our crossings.
We have been appreciated by you for booking trains or hotels where you may have got stuck on your journey, or for keeping one of your young children entertained whilst you’re trying to coordinate the other one into a fresh new nappy.
But one key area that I’d like to highlight, and to sincerely thank those who make it happen, is the scattering of the ashes services we provide.
We have seen the use of this service increase tenfold in the past 6-12 months, and it’s steadily become one of the most consistent areas that our customers feed back to us about. We’re aware of what a sensitive situation this can be, and it’s our pledge to offer this Extra Mile service wherever we can.
To us, it’s an honour and a privilege to help families fulfil the wishes of their loved ones by scattering their ashes at sea. We know many of our customers have very strong connections with both the Solent and the Island, and so appreciate that this is a very poignant and comforting way of creating a dignified send off.
With this in mind, our colleagues are there to help every step of the way.
Those who use the service will be supported by our customer services team who are known to provide above and beyond service, and who are available to talk to whenever you need them. They will be by your side throughout the whole occasion, and can provide a very comforting presence during this time.
Our crews feel very passionate about giving a dignified and sensitive service, and fully understand why so many feel connected to the water. They bring the ship to a slow speed, and the Master will sound the horn at the appropriate time, ensuring a great deal of respect and reverence.
For us, it’s very humbling and appreciated when we do receive feedback from those who have used the service. Many of the testimonials we receive can be read here, but below are just a selection:
“Please can you pass on a massive thank you to Debbie for being my over the phone shoulder to cry on and for just being there. The ashes service was perfect.”
"Thank you for making this easier than I ever dreamt it would be."
“It is truly a lovely thing you did for my family and thank you.”
“It takes a special person to know exactly the right things to say to make you feel better and to turn tears into a smile. Your customer service is to be applauded.”
“The service on the ferry was exactly what my grandmother wanted for my grandfather who was an ex merchant seaman.”
“Debbie was amazing, so thoughtful and the packet of tissues were very welcome as that was the one thing I forgot to take. The poem she found for me to read was perfect and even marked the places in the verse where I needed to breathe. Also, I must mention Oliver. What a charming young man and even though he told me he was training he was so helpful in booking one of the cars I forgot.”
“The staff on the ferry were very understanding and attentive and the day was exactly what we had hoped for and more.”
“It is difficult to find words to express how thankful we are for your expression of kindness and the help you gave to our family during his truly difficult time. There comes a time in life that support is extremely necessary. This was one of those times.”
To us, this all comes back to going the Extra Mile. We don’t see this as “extra”, we just see this as our every day. We are often described by both colleagues and customers as a big family, and this notion doesn’t just relate to our team mates here at Red Funnel. We see our customers as family too.
And what do you do when your family needs something a bit extra in a time of need? You don’t even hesitate to provide whatever help and support you can. This is why it’s become so ingrained in our culture, and why we ultimately measure ourselves on providing exceptional customer service, time and time again.