Is Your Travel Call Center Ready for the High Season? Here’s How Contact Center Outsourcing Can Help.
More than most industries, businesses operating in travel and tourism experience fluctuations in customer demand and utilization throughout the year. Summer travel is, and probably always will be, the peak season. Spring break and the year-end holidays also see huge levels of traffic, while the early autumn and mid-winter tend to be times of relative quiet.
Even the slow seasons can be hit with unexpected difficulties, though. Combine this with the fact that the world’s increasingly severe weather events can—and sometimes does—bring the entire global travel industry to a standstill. Then, you’re faced with an industry where the standard operating procedure requires an ability to scale your travel call center up or down at a moment’s notice.
Failing to implement such flexibility can lead to dire consequences. If they can’t quickly reach you via phone, dissatisfied travelers will waste no time taking to social media to vent their complaints for all the world to see. That’s true whether they’re stranded at an airport thanks to a cancelled flight or dealing with hotel miscommunications that left them without a place to sleep, or any of the many other mishaps that can happen in the world of travel.
And when that occurs, you can pretty much expect the worst. Within hours—or even minutes—an angry customer’s Twitter tirade can spiral into a true PR disaster. And, while most travel-industry social media fails aren’t as dramatic as, say, United Airlines’ infamous viral video of a man being dragged from a plane, even a smaller-scale mishap can cause serious damage.
The bottom line? Businesses operating in the travel industry simply can’t afford to enter the high season with an understaffed call center. Yes, this is a challenging task, requiring employing and continuously training an entire team of agents large enough to meet the highest levels of demand. It’s also an expensive one, when you consider the cost of employing all of those agents 365 days a year.
So, truly preparing for the high season means taking a proactive approach to the low season, too. And outsourcing your customer service efforts is a relatively easy way to do this. Here’s how travel call center outsourcing can help you achieve a year-round strategy that’s flexible enough to handle the high season as well as the low, offering the quality of care your customers demand all year ‘round.
4 Key Ways Travel Contact Center Outsourcing Can Help You Prepare for High (and Low) Seasons
1. 24/7 agent availability, 365 days a year. With customers just as likely to contact you at midnight than noon, even travel businesses operating on a relatively small scale can’t afford to take a 9-to-5 approach to their customer care services. That means making your agents available on weekends, too—and forget about shutting down over the holidays.
This leads to a serious operational challenge. Most business leaders know all too well the expense of employing professionals not only around the clock, but also on weekends and holidays. It can amount to a huge chunk of your overall operating expenses when you choose to operate your own call center—and that isn’t even including the cost of training and continuous education that quality agents require.
There’s another catch, too: Continuing to keep high-performing agents employed during periods of low utilization isn’t just expensive, but possibly damaging to morale. Even if they’re well paid, how can you expect skilled, best-in-class travel agents to be content during periods when they’re barely working?
Outsourcing your travel call center services can solve all of these difficulties in one step, giving you access to all the agents you need, whenever you need them.
2. The flexibility to scale up or down at a moment’s notice. Not all fluctuations in travel activity are as predictable as the next upcoming holiday or summer travel season. Consider the disruption caused by the 2010 Iceland volcano explosion, not just to European but also to global travel—and then consider that some experts expect this to happen again, and possibly quite soon.
When you rely on an expert third party to deliver your travel call center solutions, you give yourself the ability to access thousands of additional agents at a moment’s notice, meaning you’re fully prepared for any contingency. This includes an unpredictable weather or geological event on another continent that could result in flight cancellations across the world, and a concurrent surge in customer calls.
3. Instant access to travel call center agents with real experience and expertise. The agents who work in your travel call center can’t be novices. More than most other industries, customers expect the people they speak with in a travel call center to be experts in logistics and coordination.
As a recent survey from Working Solutions made clear, it’s important for travel call center agents to be able to identify with the people they’re helping. That means delivering expert-level info and advice that comes from a place of experience, and not just an off-the-cuff, Google search.
“It’s important for travel call center agents to be able to identify with the people they’re helping.”” Click To Tweet
When you outsource your travel call center, you get access to a nationwide network of agents with this level of skill and expertise. These are seasoned, skilled experts who aren’t just punching a clock, but are working in the profession they chose, and that they love. Their enthusiasm and experience in arranging a great itinerary or solving a difficult problem shines through in each interaction.
4. Meeting the highest standard of customer care. But make no mistake: Just because outsourced travel call center agents are rock stars when it comes to tourism and hospitality, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be proficient in the fine art of customer care. After all, some customer service skills are universal, transcending any specific industry.
These skills include, but certainly aren’t limited to, the ability to:
- Communicate and listen well.
- Empathize with the customer.
- Navigate the latest technological tools with ease (and quickly adapt to new ones).
- Meet anger or frustration with patience and even compassion.
- Leverage marketing and sales expertise and help you grow your business by smart upselling.
When you outsource your travel call center services, you receive agents who can deliver all of these skills, delivering premium customer care that reflects favorably on your business and brand. And this, in turn, helps you achieve the essential goal of ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty—something every business needs to ensure its own continued growth and success.
Interested in Outsourcing Your Travel Call Center Services? We Can Help.
As you know, expectations are sky high in the travel industry—and so are the stakes. When people contact you due to a missed or cancelled flight or a mistake with the hotel reservation, they expect service to be instant. And this isn’t unreasonable: Nobody wants to spend their hard-earned vacation stuck in an airport.
For all of these reasons and quite a few others, many businesses operating in the travel industry are choosing to outsource their call center operations to an on-demand service provider. Doing so provides not just instant access to thousands of travel call center experts at a much lower price point than employing them. It also offers peace of mind of knowing that you’re ready for any challenge that comes your way, from the predictable to the unexpected.
With more than 20 years of experience delivering premium customer care solutions, Working Solutions has a proven track record of providing exceptional service to the travel industry. Many of our leaders have worked directly in travel before joining our team, and our work documenting the trends of the travel industry has been emphasized by such leading industry publications as Travel Weekly.
Contact us here to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Working Solutions expert and take the first step to offering the travel call center experience your customers demand.Contact us here.