While staff numbers have depleted in the corporate travel sector, Mike Crotty, Professional Services Manager at technology brand Lokulus, explains how technology needs to do the heavy lifting in customer experience for the sector.
With post-covid staffing numbers at an all time low and SLA’s being missed consistently, it’s safe to say the corporate travel industry has had a turbulent few years. Following a mass exodus of talent from the industry, Mike Crotty discusses how travel firms can underpin their customer service strategies using human focussed technology that supports teams and does the heavy lifting in customer experience.
With the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) projecting that global business travel spending will equate to just under USD1.2 trillion in 2023 and 86% of travel suppliers expecting spending on travel by their corporate customers will increase in 2023, there are fundamental commercial gains from keeping customers happy and loyal.
Yet even with all this potential, travel management companies continue to invest money in the booking experience, whilst ignoring or placing less value on the longer term customer journey. Whilst of course the booking experience is essential, what will keep clients coming back time and time again is the attention to detail throughout their journey and getting the right information from the right person in the quickest time. They don’t have time to be passed from pillar to post. So how and why would businesses use technology to support their teams?
- Operational efficiencies – Use tech to make sure the right people are doing the right work and nothing is being overlooked. If a customer team is short staffed, they can use intelligent automation to categorise customer enquiries and signpost them to the most relevant team members. Managing workflow is essential to operating efficiently and making sure technology is doing the heavy lifting.
- Automation – A lot is spoken about regarding AI at the moment, but the truth is customer service technology has been using AI for decades to support customer service teams. If teams have an intelligent solution set up correctly, their solution will work for them and there will be no need for the laborious, manual intervention of workflow. This makes sure the right people are doing the right work and teams aren’t cherry picking the work they want to do and leaving more challenging customer complaints or enquiries to escalate.
- Become truly omnichannel – Ensure your technology can encompass all channels, whether that’s email, voice, chat etc and give you one single view. No customer wants to repeat themselves on each channel, so give your agents one view that shows their communication history with you. This will reduce frustrations for the customer but importantly save time for your teams to provide a solution and close the enquiry.
- Reduce complaints – If your omnichannel customer service strategy is working at its optimum potential, this will in turn reduce complaints and boost your all important CSAT’s. Complaints have been at an all time high post covid and most customers complain because they are frustrated and feel unheard so ensure you’re doing everything you can to find a solution asap and turn complaints into positive reviews.
- Reporting – We understand how important reporting is, but we also understand how time consuming this can be. Offer full transparency of your customer service approach by using your technology to produce reports that illustrate where your teams are improving and highlight areas that can be improved. This can be done from an omnichannel approach and incorporate team SLA’s.
- Onboarding and training – Technology allows you to onboard staff much quicker and more easily. If there are systems and processes in place, you can set up onboarding paths for new recruits and use the technology to train teams from the ground up. By aligning their workload to their progression plan, you ensure they’re learning consistently, but not being put in positions they shouldn’t be on day one.
Lokulus is the UK’s leading independent provider of digital solutions for customer service representatives and has been transforming online customer experiences for over 20 years.
Its revolutionary platform addresses the challenge faced by travel companies in delivering consistently exceptional customer experiences in a complex travel landscape. The Lokulus platform seamlessly integrates with existing systems including GDS’s, and efficiently manages both simple and complex enquiries, transforming how travel companies interact with their customers without losing the personalised touch.
It has worked with some of the world’s biggest travel brands, including Saga, EasyJet and Thomas Cook.
For more information on how the travel industry can benefit from intelligent technology, visit https://lokulus.com/travel/