Travel in the Digital Age: The Omni-Channel Experience
Customer service in the travel industry used to mean a face-to-face conversation or a phone call with a customer who wanted to make a reservation. Now customers have their choice of options, and your company has multiple opportunities to reach them.
These new channels offer an abundance of valuable data, opportunities to manage costs and increase sales, and most importantly, the chance to significantly increase the value of every customer interaction.
Here’s a brief introduction of the different channels with some of their pros and cons:
Voice continues to be the largest channel, and remains the best channel for tech-phobic customers. Voice still tops in terms of the comfort a customer gets by having a human at the other end of the line.
Voice does have the issue of long wait times when call volumes are high, especially during seasonal peaks, bad weather conditions, or irregular operations.
Websites have proved increasingly popular, especially for simple transactions. The drawback is the lack of personal contact and lack of control over booking abandon rates. One option to increase the human touch on your website is to bridge this gap by using “click to call” to transfer customers to a voice line, “click to chat,” or even better, proactive chat, in which the agent initiates the chat conversation.
Not all companies have effectively integrated this into their customer engagement strategy. Chat can lower costs, give a human interface to the customers and help provide a push for driving sales on websites. Integrating chat into a mobile app is another option to consider.
Mobile sites and apps are a unique way to identify your customers, track their likes and dislikes, and provide customized offers and a personalized experience. Mobile apps have re-ignited the race for mind and timeshare of customers.
Video chat, an emerging channel of communication, is the next best thing to face-to-face interaction and promises to provide customers with a high touch and superior customer experience. This channel will see higher adoption rates in airport kiosks, remote or hotel locations, and integration with website or mobile apps and tablets.
This channel is good for sending travel updates, exchanging required documents, or addressing non-urgent queries. Managing customer expectations on turn-around times and keeping customers informed about progress is important for keeping customers happy.
More than half of travelers use social media to influence their vacation destination decisions. Customers have also embraced social media as a place to voice their complaints and highlight their experiences with the brand, product, or company. Social media is the least understood channel but the most influential, with the potential to make a high impact.
Moving to Omni-Channel
An experienced partner with the depth and breadth of experience can help you figure out how to use all the different channels to the best advantage. Want to learn more? Contact us.