Call Center Outsourcing10.5 Minute Read
The Secrets to Successful Customer Service in Travel and Hospitality
If you’re in charge of customer service operations in the travel and hospitality industry, then you know that it can often be a struggle to keep your customers happy these days. Travelers expect exceptional customer care at every turn while they are traveling. In this blog post, we’ll uncover expert tips for successful customer service that meets the demands of today’s modern travelers.
It’s All About Recruiting, Developing and Culture
Any CX professional managing contact center operations will tell you good customer service agents for the travel and hospitality industry are hard to find. Why? Because strong customer service and industry-specific skills—expertise in legacy airlines reservations and global distribution systems—are no longer commonplace.
That’s due, in large part, to the proliferation of self-service booking and the disappearance of traditional travel training schools. Still, the need for white-glove customer service continues, especially for business travelers or leisure travelers with problems too complex for self-service to solve.
After 27 years of experience in customer service, we have pinpointed the secrets to better managing and optimizing travel and hospitality contact centers. The three areas that make a difference in the service provided include the way we recruit our agents, how we develop our agents, and our company culture.
- Recruiting: Begins with finding travel agents with sought-after skills or recruiting tech-savvy ones, with leisure and hospitality experience. The job requires an empathetic, problem-solving personality.
- Development: Then agents undergo rigorous onboarding in the client’s business and immersion in its brand in our virtual training classes at Working Solutions University (WSU). That way, when a customer calls to book a room or flight, the agent is the hotel and airline.
- Culture: Finally, instill a strong sense of a caring work culture, knowing happy agents please clients and their customers. Complementing this strategy, our agents, who often are customers themselves, are immersed in the client’s culture, so they know the products and services firsthand—and what’s expected.
Developing world-class travel agents is industry-specific and client-focused. At WSU, agents assigned to travel and hospitality programs practice customer scenarios, role-play to resolve issues, and study proprietary travel/hotel applications and reservation systems, new and old. On the job, they don’t rely on any by-rote customer service scripts. Rather, they adapt and improvise with each situation. From handling a difficult booking to ensuring white-glove service, here are a few examples of excellent service, with agents schooled in the business—from tarmac to hotel.
6 Steps to Exceptional Customer Service in Travel and Hospitality
As travelers increasingly value convenience and personalization in their experience, providing exceptional customer service is an ever-increasing challenge. While providing exceptional customer service at all times may seem like an impossible task, it isn’t! Here are six essential steps to provide exceptional customer service in travel and hospitality.
Personalize Your Services
Personalizing your services is essential for success in the travel and hospitality industry. Customers want to know that they are being taken care of and that their needs are being met. By creating personalized experiences, you can ensure that customers feel valued, which will help build loyalty among them over time. Additionally, personalizing your services allows you to provide tailored solutions for individual customers and helps build trust between your organization and its customers.
Staying connected with customers is key when it comes to providing successful customer service in travel and hospitality. Customers want to feel like their concerns are being heard, so make sure you keep lines of communication open at all times. This could mean having multiple channels available for customers—such as phone, email, or social media—so they can reach out whenever they have an issue or question that needs addressing. Additionally, staying connected helps you stay up-to-date on any potential changes or new developments within the industry so you can better serve your customers’ needs going forward.
Offer Flexible Solutions
Providing flexible solutions is essential for successful customer service in travel and hospitality because there may often be unexpected changes or issues that arise while a customer is traveling or booking accommodations at a hotel or resort. Being able to offer flexible solutions—such as offering refunds if plans change unexpectedly—will help maintain good relationships with your customers by showing them that their needs are top priority regardless of what happens during their travels or stay at a hotel or resort.
Provide Knowledgable Resources
Having knowledgeable resources available is critical for successful customer service in travel and hospitality because it ensures that customers get the answers they need quickly without any confusion or misunderstandings from either party involved in the transaction process. Make sure agents are well-trained on policies, procedures, and other relevant information related to the industry so they can provide accurate information when helping customers resolve issues or answer questions about specific products or services offered by your organization.
Train Your Agents Well
An effective agent education program is key when it comes to providing successful customer service in travel and hospitality because it helps ensure agents have the knowledge necessary to properly assist customers with any issue they may have while traveling or booking accommodations at a hotel or resort. Additionally, training agents on topics such as conflict resolution will help them better handle difficult situations with ease while still maintaining professionalism throughout every interaction with a customer.
Use Technology Wisely
Using technology wisely is essential for successful customer service in travel and hospitality because it allows organizations to streamline processes while still providing excellent service to their customers without having them wait long periods of time just for help resolving an issue or answering a question about their travel plans. Automated services such as chatbots can help reduce response times drastically while also freeing up resources so agents can focus more on helping those who require more complex assistance instead of responding repeatedly to simple inquiries.
Providing exceptional customer service in the travel and hospitality industry is not something that just happens. It requires attention, dedication, and a suitable strategy. By following these steps, you can create a customer service experience that exceeds all expectations.
Why Travel and Hospitality Businesses Should Engage a Call Center
Are your customers calling in and getting placed on hold, or dealing with agents who can’t answer their questions? You could be losing potential revenue due to lagging customer service response times. Engaging a contact center business process outsourcer (BPO) could solve all of those issues. Here are 5 key reasons why travel and hospitality businesses might benefit from outsourcing customer service operations.
→ Customer Support: Travel and hospitality businesses often require a dedicated team to handle customer queries, complaints, and booking requests. A customer service BPO can provide round-the-clock customer support, ensuring that customers receive prompt and efficient service.
→ Cost Savings: Outsourcing customer support can result in significant cost savings for travel and hospitality businesses. BPOs can provide services at a lower cost than hiring in-house staff, enabling businesses to allocate resources more efficiently.
→ Language Support: Travel and hospitality businesses often cater to customers from different parts of the world who speak different languages. A customer service BPO can provide language support in multiple languages, allowing businesses to cater to a wider customer base.
→ Scalability: Engaging a BPO allows travel and hospitality businesses to better manage fluctuating demand. Outsourced contact centers provide scalable services that can be adjusted based on the level of demand, ensuring that businesses have the resources they need during peak seasons.
→ Quality Assurance: Contact center BPOs typically have robust quality assurance processes in place to ensure that customer service is of the highest quality. This includes regular monitoring and evaluation of calls and customer interactions to identify areas for improvement.
From increasing customer satisfaction from around-the-clock customer service to strengthening loyalty among returning customers, there is no denying that travel and hospitality businesses can greatly benefit from outsourcing customer service. With the right processes in place, travel and hospitality businesses can increase their profits, build positive brand recognition and loyalty, and keep customers satisfied.
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Vice President, Education and Development
Published on March 6, 2023
Published on March 6, 2023