The travel and tourism (T&T) industry has steadily grown over the past few years. The world has become a global village. The improving economic conditions (per capita income), awareness about maintaining a work life balance, increasing business travel, etc. are some of the factors contributing to this change. This is just the beginning. According to World Travel and Tourism Council report, by 2027, Travel & Tourism GDP is expected to account for 11.4% of global GDP and global visitor exports are expected to account for 7.1% of total global exports.
Source:- Travel & Tourism: Global Economic Impact and Issues 2017
Gone are the days of travelers visiting travel agencies to book tickets or inquire. Now customers want quick service and that too on their own terms. Thus, companies are also looking to reduce customer effort.It is a win-win situation for both, the customers and the company. The customers will have to exert less effort and company will save on resources. Arguably, customer traffic towards the traditional travel agencies has decreased, but, a shift has been observed towards the more luxurious agencies with regional or national presence.
All that is good, but the important question is, how can a contact center be of any use in the current travel scenario. We need to scratch the surface and dig a little deep. Let us look at some of the factors that will make your travel contact center a success.
# Know Your Customer
To deliver impeccable customer experience in Travel industry, companies ned to understand today’s travelers and Identify their needs. With technological advancements and travelling becoming second nature, the travel experience has also changed substantially. There are a lot more options available, different packages a consumer can choose from. Do-it-yourselves websites are also available but very few have the time to browse through various websites and compare. Customers today are well informed and might have already surfed the internet for information before reaching out to a contact center. They are looking for convenience and expertise. That’s where the well trained and expert contact center agents come into the picture. Agents do just that. They provide best advice and make the task of the traveler easier.
# Leverage the Power of Big Data
By leveraging big data technology, the travel and hospitality industry can benefit big time. As it this is an industry which is privy to a lot of customer data. Hotels, airlines can use this customer insight to understand the customers’ present needs and also forecast future requirements.
# Personalized Customer Experience
When a company is able to successfully leverage the power of Big Data, they have a mine of valuable customer data which they can use to provide a customized CX by identifying the critical moments in the customer’s journey. For instance, knowing a traveler’s preferred time to travel, their favorite hotels, etc. In addition to that, providing agents with the real time data of customer’s previous interactions, enable them to provide a customized package to the customer.
# Omnichannel Integration
Travelers today are using multiple channels to get information and connect to call centers. Sometimes doing it simultaneously. They want the experience to be seamless and engaging. Contact centers can integrate this process. Agents can collate data from all the channels and provide a holistic solution to the customer’s query. Companies need to ditch legacy based contact center, which creates a hinderance to customer service and implement strategies to move toward their more sophisticated counterparts who have the capabilities to provide omnichannel integration.
# Value Customer’s Time
Customers call a contact center because they want to save time rather than browse through various websites. Thus, don’t waste their time. Make the voice calls crisp, and useful. In case of peak hours, provide a ‘call back’ option. Incorporate advanced technology like contact center software for travel into your system to reduce average hold time and improve customer experience.
# Employee Education and Training
Travel and tourism industry thrives on customer service and this requires skills. The most successful hotels (e.g., Ritz Carlton) and airlines (e.g., Southwest Airlines) are the ones which provide superior customer service. The contact center agents should also be sensitized to that. This can be done by educating and training them. Giving them soft-skills training, product knowledge and an overall understanding of the brand will empower them to serve the customers better.
# Take Initiative
Travelers seek and appreciate real-time information. It could be a flight delay or drop in ticket prices or a new available package. This could be a deciding factor when customers choose one company over another. Thus, brands should be proactive in providing not just the information, but also a solution. For instance, providing accommodation to the customer when their flight is delayed. Being one step ahead of the customer will make all the difference and will ensure customer satisfaction.
# Integration Between Different Departments
In a fast moving industry like T&T, one cannot have their departments work in silos. Communication should be efficient between the contact center, marketing, billing and other departments to provide a seamless customer experience.
The industrial landscape is changing in general and more so in case of travel and tourism. The world is moving towards digitization and customers will demand a lot more personalization in future. Organizations who are able to adapt and be innovative will succeed and others will soon become obsolete.
Are you ready to build a travel contact center to deliver an excellent customer experience? Check out Fusion CX to exploit the power of customer intelligence and case management features.