Google searches for “customer-centric” have been steadily rising over the past 2 years. Clearly, customer care is at the top of the agenda.
Customer care is becoming a priority across all businesses, but none more so than travel. According to Google search trends, this customer-centric tendency has peaked in 2018 and is likely to sustain for years to come. Previously, the sector prioritized limiting overheads to increase revenue against investment in intermediaries. Now, suppliers are recognizing that success depends on a more nuanced, strategic approach that appeals to customers’ desires and aspirations.
In a competitive landscape where customer care is the major product differentiator, travel companies need to work hard to deliver the best service possible. As customer expectations evolve – demanding more high-quality, informative content fast – travel companies need to meet these requirements to remain competitive. As such, technology will be what sets companies apart from their rivals. Here, we discuss 3 imperatives for travel businesses deploying technology to improve customer care.
1. Customer care is a team sport
Customer care is a team sport. This is not to say that the entire organization should work on customer support – it means that support should be respected a focal point for profit. Once management defines the support team as a key revenue-generating department, engineering, marketing and sales can collaborate to support customer care.
To facilitate organization-wide cooperation, it is crucial that companies use technology with collaboration capabilities suitable for all units. Seamless, cross-department integration makes both operations and customer interfacing frictionless, thus improving customer service. Furthermore, software integration will allow companies to deliver a more consistent and personalized experience throughout the customer journey.
2. Bots and AI
Once the domain of science fiction, artificial intelligence is now arguably the most important customer service trend of 2018. Virtual assistants and chatbots are increasingly sophisticated and will only improve. Therefore, the travel industry needs to stay abreast of these developments in order to continually meet customer expectations. For example, chatbots can reduce first response and resolution times, increasing customer satisfaction.
Artificial intelligence can serve employees as much as customers. For instance, AI can handle basic requests, such as FAQ or profile amendments, whilst employees handle more complex issues. A business can also deploy AI to assist agents – soon, scrolling through endless files for accurate information will become a thing of the past. AI can search databases at speed, providing relevant information and even predict customer behavior.
3. Live chat needs to improve customer care
According to research conducted by Kayako, 38% of customers are not satisfied with the service provided by live chat tools. Surprisingly, an even larger proportion of businesses don’t think their service is good enough – 43% of survey respondents said they needed to improve. Messenger apps are now some of the most popular communication media. Therefore, businesses need to take cues from this technology to improve their live chat experience. Alternatively, they could go one step further and gain the capability to connect with their customers through these platforms.
The future is customer-centric
Customer care is the key to growth. Superior customer service is central to gaining loyal, profitable customers who will generate revenue over the medium to long-term. It is obvious that customers want support to be personalized, straightforward and simple – and the tools and technology chosen will be what sets one company apart from another.