Success in the Travel and Hospitality Sector Depends Upon Customer Care

During a time in which customer expectations are at their highest, superior customer care has become a competitive differentiator for businesses. While top-notch customer care is important for all types of businesses, it’s particularly vital for companies within the travel and hospitality sector.

Travelers and vacationers are special types of customers. These individuals are spending a great deal of money and time with an organization and therefore expect a greater level of customer care. They want to interact with employees who are knowledgeable, helpful and courteous.

This customer base is also very savvy when it comes to the Internet. They are scouring the Web for the best travel and hotel deals as well as sharing their advice and opinions on review sites and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

To meet the demands of their customer bases, travel and hospitality companies are experimenting with new and innovative customer care strategies. For example, the industry in particular is stepping up its game by integrating text alerts and push notifications to travelers booking flights and hotels.

Popular airlines such as Alaska Air and Delta enable flyers to track the status of any flight or all of their future flights with text message notifications. What’s more, hotels are using push notifications to allow travelers to check-in and check out of their rooms without waiting in long lines.

Not only is the travel and hospitality industry leveraging mobile capabilities, but they are also using social media to connect with customers. For instance, Sol Wave House Hotel in Spain is leveraging Twitter in a unique way. Guests can tweet to the hotel’s concierge staff to request room service or pool-side drinks by using the dedicated hashtag, #WaveTaxi.

Other hotels, such as the Four Seasons Dallas and Australia’s 1888 Hotel, are using the popular photo sharing application Instagram to engage with guests. The hotels post guests’ social media photos on screens in the lobby and even have a dedicated “selfie” area in which guests can take photos during their stay.

These are just a few examples of how the hospitality and travel industry is stepping outside of the box and using multiple channels to better communicate and connect with their customers. Other industries could benefit from an integrated approach to customer care as well.

For example, try experimenting with different social media platforms. Encourage your customers to reach out via a dedicated hashtag if they have a simple question. Or ask them to share great experiences they’ve had with your product or service.

You might be surprised to find that a lot of your customers are already discussing your business on social media—and the last thing you want is to be left out of that conversation.

Customers’ expectations will only increase as time goes on and more options become available to them. Other industries ought to take a page from the travel and hospitality industry’s book and leverage different tools to improve the quality customer care. After all, you only have one shot at making a good first impression.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Identifying the Key Metrics of Social Customer Care

It’s likely you’ve implemented some type of social customer care as the integrated marketing solutions arm of your overarching strategy. After all, social media has become an important tool in which both customers and companies use to communicate with brands.

According to a report from Aberdeen Group, companies with social care programs outperform companies that don’t have a similar program. What’s more, companies with social care programs boast a 5.6 percent increase in first-contact resolutions, a 6.5 percent increase in agent productivity and a 17.5 percent increase in SLA attainment.

Simply implementing a social strategy, however, isn’t enough to see real improvements in your quality of customer care. Companies must monitor and measure their program’s success by identifying key social customer care metrics. Below are various metrics that businesses should be keeping an eye on to ensure that their social customer care strategy is a success:

  • Cost of transaction: What’s the actual cost of servicing a customer via social media compared to the telephone? Many companies make the mistake of not measuring the transaction cost. However, it’s important that you measure this metric to ensure that your strategy remains cost effective for your business.
  • Communicator efficiency: Chances are you already measure Communicator’s time to respond on standard calls, but are you doing the same for social? Many studies have found that customers expect brands to respond to their inquiry within at least 30 minutes. It’s important that you’re measuring your employees’ time to respond to ensure that they are meeting customer expectations.
  • Inbound volume: Another key social customer care metric to measure is inbound volume, or the number of incoming messages on all social media channels. Collecting this data will help you understand the bigger picture and better allocate resources. For example, if you’re getting more social media inquiries than traditional call inquires, you might want to give your social media channels some more man power.

Managing an effective social customer care strategy isn’t easy, but when done right you can facilitate more meaningful connections with your consumers.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Facebook Messenger Emerges As Customer Care Platform

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, have revolutionized the customer care industry as they not only help businesses better serve their customers, but they also enable companies build long-lasting relationships with their consumers.

If you visit our blog frequently you know that we regularly discuss the surge of social care initiatives that companies are putting forth in order to keep up with customers expectations. Recently, there’s been an uptick in companies leveraging Facebook Messenger as a form of customer care.

Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging service and software application integrated with Facebook’s web-based chat feature that provides users with text and voice communication. Similar to live chat, an increasing number of companies are starting to use this platform to communicate with their customers.

For example, hospitality industry giant, Hyatt, has teamed up with customer care solution, Conversocial, to roll out their Facebook Messenger initiative, which will enable Communicators to respond to guests’ inquiries and improve their overall travel experiences via Facebook.

Companies would be wise to follow in Hyatt’s footsteps and add Facebook Messenger to their list of customer care channels. Not only because it allows you and your customers to have two-way communication regarding issues or inquiries, but Facebook Messenger is widely popular amongst consumers.

In fact, research from Verto Analytics revealed that 800 million people use the Facebook Messenger app. What’s more, approximately 222 million U.S. Facebook users spend 14 hours per month in the company’s app. Indeed, this will be a valuable integrated marketing solution for any business as it combines social media with live chat and your consumers are already leveraging it in their everyday lives.

So, you might be eager to implement Facebook Messenger after reading these convincing statistics, but it’s important that you first educate your Communicators about the platform and ensure that they have the skills to deliver superior customer care via social media.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

It’s Time to Start Planning New Strategies For 2016

Believe it or not, the final months of the year are upon us and before you know it, we’ll be consumed by the holiday season. Before you and your employees get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to start planning new strategies to improve the quality of customer care and drive contact center ROI.

Though it’s only October it’s important to start planning for 2016 now as successful strategy takes dedicated time and effort. Review over the past year’s details (i.e. contact center metrics such as average handle time, call resolution, and call abandonment) to set goals and build strategies that will ensure the upcoming year is a success.

So what are some ideas for driving contact center ROI in 2016? Below are just a few strategies we suggest putting on your radar for the coming year:

  • Integrate support channels: Not every consumer is the same. Some like to speak directly to a Communicator via telephone, while others prefer live chat. To make sure that you cater to all consumers, make integrating customer care support channels (automated, digital and live Communicator) a priority in 2016.
  • Utilize more technology: There is an abundance of cost effective technology available that can greatly improve customer care and drive contact center ROI. Ramp up your use of these intuitive technologies, such as predictive analysis, to ensure you remain on the cutting-edge as the new year unfolds.
  • Consider integrated marketing solutions: Contact center leaders must lend more attention to integrated marketing solutions to raise more awareness. For instance, becoming more familiar with social media channels will be integral come next year.

Start off the new year on the right foot by planning strategies that are going to take your contact center to new heights in 2016.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.