Technology has, in the last few years completely escalated customer’s perceptions of what good service should look like. Formerly mundane aspects of life, like booking dinners, or flights have been transformed by apps like OpenTable or Skyscanner.
Perhaps the biggest disruptor though is Uber. Considering it owns none of the actual assets at the heart of its business model (the cars), the fact it has monetised the most intrinsic principal of supply and demand in a way that has revolutionised the very principals of operating models across numerous sectors is simply breathtaking.
Thanks to the app’s star rating system and its fantastic level of customer service (most enquiries are answered and sorted out in hours), taking a ride highly satisfying thanks to the simplistic and very smooth journey from booking to drop off.
This is the key thing about innovative offerings like Uber – they place the customer and the customer pain point at the heart of their businesses. With the world changing faster than we have ever experienced before, customers want instant gratification. If there is a problem they want it solved now, if they want a cab, they want one now. Immediacy is the name of the game, and is driven by the consumer and their relationship with the technologies that have become embedded into the fabric of their everyday lives.
The travel industry is no exception. A market that has always recognised the importance of customer service, here’s what I believe it needs to do in order to ensure it’s on the forefront of the ‘uberisation’ of business:
1) Focus on solutions, not products – this will mean identifying problems that your customers don’t even know they have, before they complain. This means a lot less time dealing with any issues in the first place
2) Get a digital platform – Where people are not adding value they are probably adding non-value complexity. It’s modern human nature to find issues with something. One of the best way to address this is by wiring in end-to-end processes that don’t need to be handled by humans and as such can move faster to address any issues your customers might have
3) Revamp your organisation – As customer demands change, businesses must completely re-think how they do business. Central to this is having more empowered people at the heart of your company so they can address this without the need for complex approval processes. This means that customer issues will be addressed in the quickest possible times and result in an understanding across the business that leads to better synchronisation and get rid of silos
4) Think customer journeys – By thinking about start and end points as well as absolutely everything in between, businesses can predict exactly what issues might take place and ensure they are eradicated before they happen. It’s also important to ensure every person involved in the journey – from the sales people at the start, to those looking for feedback at the end, know their roles and are synced to ensure that any unforeseen issues are dealt with in the manner that is expected
5) Digital vs. human – While automation and technology is central to delivering top notch customer service, it’s vital to remember that the human element can never be dropped. Uber, a service that largely bases itself as a complete tech solution does this very well. Its team answer complaints quickly and promptly and usually gives the customer what it wants. Ensure the tech/ human ratio is implemented into all aspects of the customer journey to deliver optimal levels of customer satisfaction
Kaptio is a renowned tour operator and travel agent software specialist company. Contact us to discuss how we can analyse your current business setup, identify weaknesses and then action improvements. Kaptio develops best-of-class solutions for the travel industry and delivers outstanding value to customers via solutions, project delivery and consulting.