Travelocity is stepping up to the customer service challenge. In fact, in a recent press release they outline some of their major improvements to customer service. Let’s look at some of their new guiding principles:
Your customers’ plans change
Adjust 20 policies including the ability to change or cancel flights within 24 hours of booking for emergency situations and follow-up phone calls to hotels to help ensure all reservations are being held as originally booked;
Your customers will have a change of plan. Things always come up, be it an emergency or simply a need to reschedule an appointment. Lessons learned:
- Be flexible to your client’s needs. If they can change or cancel plans easily, they will be more likely to return later.
- If you rely on someone else to deliver for a client, make sure they do!
- It is OK to change your policies to better serve the customer. Don’t get stuck in a rut because things have always been done a certain way.
Training and Empowerment
Developing a two-day training course for Travelocity’s more than 1,000 agents that transforms their mindset with customers from order takers to empowered problem solvers. Agents now have the ability to make more judgment calls immediately, further minimizing a customer’s time on the phone.
- Put a framework in place so you can easily let your employees think independently and make decisions.
- Corporate goals that hang on the wall are useless. Train your people on what the goals are and practice how they can achieve those goals
- Focus your efforts on solving your customers’ problems. If you can fix the issue or meet the need, you’ll have their business
In February 2005, a customer accidentally booked a flight with a return date one month to the day later than they had wanted. When the customer alerted Travelocity to the situation, the agent resolved the issue immediately at no additional cost to the customer. … Travelocity then proactively resolved the same issue for a number of other customers. Had the problem gone unnoticed, the customers would have arrived at the airport for their return flight home one month too early. Since then, Travelocity has continued to research this and notify customers who may have unintentionally booked the wrong return date.
- Recognize patterns that occur with your customer interactions. If a problem has happened to one, it may have happened to others.
- Quickly solve problems that your clients are facing. A timely resolution can turn a problem into a relationship building opportunity with the customer
- When you discover a problem with your process, change it so you don’t keep repeating the same error
Champion Your Customers
Travelocity has made the effort to rethink their standard operating procedures. This will pay off for them with increased customer satisfaction, more return customers, and higher profits. What can your business learn from their example?