Optimizing the journey from lead to loyal customer in the travel industry
It’s important that your customers are able to reach you while they’re daydreaming about exotic destinations on your website. In our experience, customers who are in contact with a company while they’re in the research phase of a purchase are 3.5-4.5x more likely to convert into paying customers. So, let’s talk about how to make that happen.
- The importance of your customers’ experience and future-proofing your business
- How you can optimize your conversion rate by focusing on your customers’ experience with your company
- How a positive customer experience benefits your customer service agents - and the rest of your company
Julie: Welcome to the first Dixa Webinar. My name is Julie, I'm an event manager here at Dixa. I'm here with Tue who is our VP of Customer Experience.
Tue will be sharing some insights today based on his more than 20 years of experience working with customer service with companies such as Nyhavn Rejser and MyCruise on how to optimize the journey from lead to loyal customer by just making a few simple changes to how your customers experience your organization. Um, so like I said, this is the very first Dixa a webinar. We'll be launching a whole series of webinars, um, focusing on customer experience, technology, ecommerce, and so on. And if you guys have any good ideas on topics for future webinars, feel free to get in touch. I'll make sure that, um, our email addresses will come up, uh, at the end of the webinar. And, um, feel free to, uh, also write us if you have any questions after the webinar or anything like that.
Um, for those who don't know, Dixa is an all in one cloud based contact center platform that supports email, chat and phone. And, um, also, I'll make sure that our website will be, um, available for you guys at the end of the webinar. Um, but that's all for me, Tue. Do you want to start?
The importance of customer service
Tue: Yeah. Thank you very much, Julie. Welcome. Summer's here and we have 27 degrees here in Copenhagen. That's usually not the best for the travel industry. Warm weather can equal less sales. Like Julie said, our focus is very much on improving the customer's experience as this is very important for maintaining loyal customers. It is not just something we're saying, but we actually have some numbers to back this up.
This slide shows the importance of customer service for customers. Uh, 73 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands if they don't receive consistent levels of service. So it is very important to always deliver a really good experience.
Fifty percent of consumers are likely to switch brands if their needs aren't anticipated. And this goes to show that is very important to know the customer so you can handle them in the best possible way.
Sixty five percent of consumers are likely to switch brands if they don't receive a consistent experience whenever they engage them. So the focus on having good customer experience actually comes back because when customer might have a good experience, they will come back to you and keep buying.
When looking at the travel industry, it's important to know that many customers do not buy from a travel agency, they buy from their travel consultant. So when customers had a good experience, they call that travel consultant again when they want to take their next travel. So this interpersonal relationship is very important here.
Looking at multichannel service, it's important to have a good overview of all the context across different channels. It saves time and it gives a much better service. It also makes it easier to make sure replies are consistent across the different channels.
It's a very good to be where the customers need you to be and give customers different options when they want to talk to their travel consultant. And knowing the travel industry, some conversations can be quite long. So be quick to offer other means of communication to the customer, so they don't have to wait on a phone line for a long time.
Tips to provide a more personal experience
Some tips that we have gathered to provide this more personal experience is to have a personal welcome because the customers call their travel consultant, so record a personal welcome message and out of office message. Give the customers different options: They can either select to get a callback, they can leave a voicemail or talk to a team member. That's something that can be set up in the call flow to avoid having the custom of wait for a very long time.
It's important to keep leads warm always. Having customer's waiting for a long time reduces the willingness to purchase and that is why it's necessary to have these back doors were where you can either call them back or they can talk to a colleague and leave a voicemail so you can get back when you're available and always reach out.
If a customer calls you and hangs up, then as soon as you can, call them back and asked them what it was about, then do what you can to turn this lead into an actual sale.
Chat - what you need to know
Looking at chat, there are some things that you really need to know: On chat, you need to be present. It's where the customers are and it's always when they need it, when they are looking at your website, they might have questions to an itinerary and if you're there then you can actually answer the questions they have. Many customers don't have the time to pick up the phone and call and they don't want to wait the time it takes to get an email reply, so chat is very convenient to get the quick answer right away. If you decide to go on chat and be there consistently, if customers see the chat is there and then it disappears, then they will, uh, miss it right away.
And be aware that chat conversations can be very valuable leads. You can easily track how many chat conversations you have and how many of them actually turned into sales, and then you can see if it's a good return on investment. The most important thing about chat is that it will lead to more conversations than what you're used to. If you have hundred chat conversations, then about 80 of them will be new conversations that you wouldn't otherwise have. The last 20 will be conversations that are moved from phone and from email. So you need to have the resources available to be able to be there consistently.
Some things that you can do to improve the experience is to use url trigger so you can control where you want to offer your chat and to which travel consultants that chat should go. You might have, uh, different destinations on your website and those triggers can be used to lead the chat to the best equipped travel consultant to answer that question. It's also possible to have a chat menu so you can ask the customer up front which destination they want to go to and then have the conversation routed to the travel consultant that can perform the best service there.
When you have a system where you're able to track all your conversations, then it's a lot easier to look at the travel consultants performance. You get insights into how many conversations they handle and you can look at that in relation to the number of sales. So how many conversations has this agent had and how many sales did that lead to. And that actually makes it possible to, uh, to use it to learn from the agents that have the highest number of conversions with the lowest amount of conversations. And you can try to use this in a positive way to improve consultant behavior. It's easy to learn from somebody who's very good at doing something. By tracking the conversation, you can also understand exactly what the conversations lead to [unintelligible] sales across channels. And you can also look at the lead source; where did this conversation initiate? Which child did it come from? Was it chat, was it from a newsletter? Was it from printed the advertising? And then understanding where you're spending your money and where you are making your money. And that's a possible too, if you both track where the conversation come from and how many of them convert.
Having the customer's history, um, makes it a lot better experience for the customer, because it eases the handover between the travel consultants and it improves the relationship between the customer because you actually know more about the customer when they call you, and that's something you could display right inside your solution. That could be information like the customer's account number, the number of travels, their total spending, the last destination, uh, the things that you need to see that are valuable for you to provide a better service. And this information can be fetched from your own system based on the customer's phone number and email address. So you don't even have to ask the customer for this information. You can see it right away. And by using tax and notes to register what the conversations are about, makes it a lot easier, so the travel consultants don't have to remember each single conversation, and so team members can easily take over.
Julie, uh, have there been any questions that we should answer?
Julie: Uh, yeah. Thank you very much, Tue. There is just two quick questions. One is regarding chat: In your mind, what are your thoughts on having customers register name and email before starting a chat or initiating a chat on your website?
Tue: That's a really good question. Uh, we recommend that you always ask the customer for the email address and a name and the reason for that being that when you have the email, you have a history of that particular customer's interactions with you, so you can track it and you can see that across the different channels. You're also able to fetch information from your own system based on the customer's email address so you can display the information that I mentioned before. That is not possible if you just get the name. And lastly, if customers are not asked to put in their name and email address the quality of the chat conversations go down. There are a lot of customers that, that just, uh, are not really looking for travel. They just want to, uh, to waste some time on chat. So you get a lot of spam messages and that is reduced very much if you ask the customer for their email address, so in our opinion it is very much a no brainer that you should always ask the customer for both their name and their email address.
Julie: Yeah. So don't be afraid to require some extra information. Um, also in your experience, which channel gives the best results in terms of converting leads to customers?
Tue: That's also a very good question. In our experience that is definitely the phone channel, uh, so wherever a lead comes in, if it's an email or if it's some chat, we recommend calling the customer back. And the reason for that being is it's a lot easier to close a sale on the phone. It's more personal and conversations on both chat and email can be quite anonymous and you can just not reply. That's very difficult to do on a phone. So, uh, the, the, the biggest success rate for converting a lead to a sale is definitely on the phone channel, so that, that's our clear recommendation here.
Julie: Yeah. So the more personal, the better the chances of converting leads to customers.
Tue: Exactly, exactly.
Julie: Right. Alright. Well I think that's all for now. Do you have any thing you'd like to add before we wrap it up?
Tue: Yes. I would just like to sum it up by saying that just like warm weather can equalist sales, so can bad customer experiences. So focus on delivering an excellent customer service to your customers all the time across all the different channels.
And thank you very much for listening and I hope to see you back again for the next webinar.
Julie: Thank you very much. And, um, like I said in the beginning, um, feel free to get in touch with either Tue or myself. Um, if you have any ideas for future webinars and also of course you're more than welcome to look at Dixa's website if you're interested in our solutions. Um, you can reach us on chat, phone, email, and we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully you'll be joining us for our next webinar. Thank you very much and have a lovely day. Bye!
Tue has over 20 years of practical experience in customer contact and customer service in a digital context, most recently with Saxo.com. He gives talks, writes articles, and is happy to share his knowledge and experience.