The five top CRM priorities for online travel firms
In the past 12 months a number of major travel brands have adopted on demand CRM systems to enhance the customer experience and drive more profitable consumer relationships. On-demand CRM provider RightNow Technologies offers a 5 point strategy to help travel web site operators facing the changes that CRM brings.
RightNow is currently working with 15 airlines worldwide, as well as a number of online travel booking companies (including BA, Eurostar, Opodo, Swiss Air and Thomas Cook). The travel sector continues to be one of the most fiercely competitive, yet rapidly growing e-commerce industries. Greg Gianforte, founder and CEO for RightNow, commented: "We're seeing all types of travel organisations embrace our CRM technology, clearly indicating that automated service capability is the future of their customer relations."
Through The Wise Marketer, RightNow offers the following five CRM priorities for e-commerce travel web site operators. Part of this advice includes best practice recommendations designed to help them address the internal and external challenges they face:
- Make your operations coherent. Tie online, contact centre, and marketing operations together. The best results come from integrating these so that customer information gathered in the online and contact centre operations drives targeted marketing campaigns, which can then be effectively supported by these operations as they go live.
- Web site usability is critical. Ensure that web sites are knowledge-powered so information pushed to the customer is relevant to the web page they are viewing. Provide clear signposting from informational to transactional pages. Organise information well - don't look to limit it but rather use topic lists so that customers can find what they are looking for. Learn from customer interactions and refine your content and search capabilities to cater for as wide an audience as possible.
- Empower agents to become trusted advisors. This will help improve customer satisfaction. Provide your agents with a single-point of entry into a '360-degree view' of all customer interactions. They will need to see all associated bookings, sales leads, brochure requests, and online marketing activity for each customer. Increase revenues by making special offers based on the customers' profile.
- Put the customer in control. Give customers access to an individual customer portal or travel manager area where they can see all booking information, e-tickets, and any question and answer sets from the past. This area can also give customers the ability to opt-in and out of offers, destination alerts, and even the latest travel news. It must also allow them to change their personal details and preferences.
- Sort out your internal communications. Customer service agents often feel they are the last to know about decisions that directly impact their interactions with customers, such as activity that may lead to a spike in contact centre calls. Combat this by simplifying and easing the sharing of knowledge between different business functions.