Why do people go on vacation? Have you ever met someone that says they don’t want to take a vacation? People want to flee their everyday lives and experience something new. Who doesn’t want to visit a place with better weather, clear waters and great service?
With school out and the first weeks of summer behind us, the only thing on everyone’s mind is where they are going for vacation. A majority of consumers are planning an escape this summer, and many are using their mobile devices to research and book their trips! According to American Express’ “Spending and Saving Tracker” 80% of Americans, or 195.9 million people, have summer getaway plans and spend an average of $941 per person on their trips. According to eMarketer, “this year’s digital travel sales in the US will reach $189.62 billion, 40.0% of which will come from mobile devices.”
Travelers want what they pay for
Not only are vacationers willing to spend beaucoup dollars for a getaway, but customers also say they will pay even more for better service! According to Esteban Kolsky, if customers are not satisfied, 13% of them will tell 15 or more people that they are unhappy. On the other hand, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people. No travel/hospitality brand wants to be known for their poor customer service as that is the bread and butter of their industry.
The pressure’s on to provide optimal customer service to travel customers
Over 82% of companies know that customer experience is their competitive differentiator (Dimension Data). Therefore, leading travel/hospitality brands will go out of their way to deliver the best experience for travelers throughout their customer journey.
So, what does a customer’s journey with optimal customer service look like? Here’s a scenario à la Nuance:
A customer begins their search for travel by reading posts on social media that then turn into a mobile web search on a travel brand’s site, with the support of a Nuance virtual assistant that helps answer consumers’ questions. A few days later the customer logs into the site on their laptop to finally book the trip of their dreams but would like to speak to a live agent in doing so. Therefore, they start a Nuance live chat session and complete the travel purchase.
The customer’s vacation has started, and they are on their way to the airport as the customer receives a Nuance outbound message letting them know their flight is on time and the gate number has been changed. Once the traveler lands they receive a text message from the hotel informing them they can check-in at any time. The customer decides they would like to take their time and make a few stops on the way to the hotel. Hassle free, the customer replies to the hotel’s text, telling them they will be checking in later that day.
Once the traveler arrives at the hotel they check in on their mobile device via the hotel’s app and pick up their room key at the front desk. They get to their room and realize they are starving, so the customer texts the hotel asking for restaurants in and near the hotel. Through conversational IVR, the hotel is able to automatically provide their guest with a list of those restaurants. The customer decides they would like to make a reservation and texts the restaurant downstairs to book it in seconds!
After dinner, the traveler decides they would like to extend their vacation and calls the airline to change their return flight. While calling, the traveler is seamlessly authenticated via Nuance biometric security. The customer is so content with customer service from the hotel they decide to share the praise on social media, where the hotel company can pick up and thank them for their tweet!
Customers expect exceptional service at every touchpoint of their journey. In today’s digital world, that consists of engaging the customer with the right message at the right time on the right channel. Customer experience is the biggest differentiator for companies, and customers who experience a bad one will find a different company. No one wants to say bon voyage to their customers!
To learn how to give your travel customers the experience they want and expect, contact us today.