Keeping up to get ahead
The travel and tourism industry moves at a frantic speed. Holidays are over in a week, flights move at 600 mph, and customers can hang up or close a browser in less than a second.
Consumer habits are changing. The choice is greater than ever, and it’s easy for a prospective customer to call another number or flick to another website. And what’s worse, the stakes are high -unhappy customers can let the world know instantly through social media and review sites.
Today’s comms technology however offers ‘quick win’ opportunities for travel executives to keep up with the industry’s frenetic pace, streamline customer experience and deliver immediate bottom-line benefits at the same time.
1. Intelligent Call Routing for better conversations
Calling is still a popular method of finalising a booking in the travel industry. When a customer call comes into your contact centre, you have a ‘use it or lose it’ opportunity to impress.
Ideally, the caller should get through first time, to the right department and without delay. But does this always happen? It’s expensive, time-consuming and near impossible to provision expert resource to answer every call and hit KPIs without having to transfer to other agents. Intelligent Call Routing allows you to automate the decision-making on which call is routed to which agent and when. Ultimately, implementing your business rules to inbound calls means customers always connect with the most appropriately skilled agent in the swiftest time possible.
Getting the options in the right order on your auto attendant is the first step. Applying skills based and time-based routing is the next, but how about leaving your customers in a virtual queue? Rather than having callers waiting on hold, they can enter their phone number and receive a call back as soon as their place in the queue comes around.
Everybody wins. Customers don’t have to wait on hold, making their experience better; your bookings aren’t lost in missed call connects and your agents get to manage demand and spend the right amount of time with each valuable customer.
2. Proactive Web Chat to progress online conversations
Your website is often the first place that a new booking or attempted transaction begins.
Sometimes customers can piece together the perfect holiday on their own through your website. When they can’t, a ‘live’ travel agent in their web browser to assist them can prevent navigating away or switching across to an aggregator website.
Customers hover with care over your web pages when deciding whether to book, ask a question or get help with a customer service issue. Being passive on clear signs of customer engagement in these scenarios can miss the opportunity to progress their decision-making.
Proactive Web Chat can be operated by customer service agents or web specialists, in line with your team’s expertise. You set the criteria for when and where a ‘live agent’ appears, based on the customer’s web-page hover time or according to when you have spare agent capacity in the contact centre.
Customers love the proactive help, and booking figures will rise with support on the later stages of their purchase. Agents also enjoy the ‘single pane of glass’ for managing calls, email and chat, and Supervisors value the ability to manage multiple chats in real time and improve productivity.
3. PCI compliance for credit card bookings
Offering a smooth payment process is vital for the customer, but ensuring your back office procedures and systems are PCI DSS compliant, without burning margin is essential for business performance.
On the one hand PCI DSS requires that no credit card details are stored when customers book over the phone, but you must however store sufficient information on the transaction itself. In practice, this means recording the call with the contact centre agent (to satisfy FCA,but not storing any of the actual payment details (to satisfy PCI DSS).
The quick-win solution is to keep your conversations in the contact centre where calls can be recorded, but de-risk your credit card transactions by taking payment outside of the contact centre. For example, moving your booking line telephone numbers to the cloud ensures your business gainsinstant PCI Level 1 compliance, without having to disrupt the contact centre or re-train agents and without the need for any additional back office infrastructure.
The cloud payment functionality offers further advantages to ensure customer security with muted keypad tones protectingcredit card details when they are entered, plus direct access tocredit card gateways for payment processing.
Quick wins for travel businesses; win wins for customers and agents
In margin-focused travel businesses, having the right comms technology in place can ensure you maximise every opportunity to drive revenue and ROI, at the same time as reducing operating costs.
From the customer’s perspective, experience is everything. This is also what counts in converting your conversations into bookings. Today’s technology offers a world of possibility for travel businesses to streamline multi-channel conversations, to respond to online behaviour in real time and connect a live agent, or route high-value or specific enquiry calls to your very best agents.
To drive growth and reduce overheads, all without necessarily replacing your existing equipment, turn your attention to comms technology to unlock better business performance.