The travel industry is directly related to tourism and is an extremely competitive sector. Without a strong customer support team, your company would be hard-pressed to survive in the industry.
Since the travel industry revolves around profits, a dearth of customers could mean decreased revenues and inevitably the company going under.
If customers receive positive customer experiences from an airline, a hotel, their taxi service, or even their tour guide, you can be assured of repeat and new business.
Positive experiences can result in turning your customers into brand ambassadors for your company.
Travel management challenges in your company, if they aren’t addressed early on can lead to big problems further down the road.
Image source: www2.deloitte.com
Here are 10 problems in travel management customer support and their solutions
1. Going digital
One of the problems in travel management is the absence of a strong online presence. Most travel agencies still do business the old-fashioned way.
They still do bookings and reservations through the phone or at their brick-and-mortar office with walk-in clients.
But people have grown more accustomed to technology and are more comfortable with conducting business transactions remotely through the net.
Their preferred mode of conducting business has changed from offline to online.
It is imperative that you have a strong and credible online presence.
Before your customers can start to interact with your customer support team, you’ll have to invest in designing and maintaining a credible user-friendly website.
Such a site integrated with self-serve portals and chatbots can definitely help you with any travel management challenges that are likely to crop up.
Integrating and implementing self-service portals and chatbots will also help your customer support team resolve issues faster and more efficiently.
2. Initial engagement with the customer
As mentioned earlier the booking process has evolved from doing bookings through your local travel agent to going online and making the bookings.
Since this is a highly competitive industry, you can be sure that your customers will have more than a few options in deciding whom to do business with.
Figuring out how to keep the customers that land on your site engaged and want to do business with you is one of the problems in travel management.
Have an interactive site where you can chat with the customer through integrated live chat software.
Be proactive and guide them around the site to what they might be searching for.
Tip balloons popping up now and then to help them with their search is another helpful tool.
Problems in travel management can further be reduced by using bots or FAQs to handle routine questions while a system can be set in place to seamlessly transfer complex queries to a live agent.
The ease of navigating a site and getting answers will be a positive factor in keeping customer engagement piqued.
This should be the ideal scenario for an initial first engagement with a customer to nudge them further down the sales pipeline.
3. Duplicate/faulty data entries
As a travel industry company, you must be dealing with truckloads of data accumulated from numerous telephone and website queries, call centers, and other digital platforms.
Information gleaned from that data usually goes to build your marketing campaigns.
If you do not have a system in place to sort and filter that data the customer profile generated by that data might be faulty and have duplicates of the same customer.
This is a serious problem in travel management.
Integrating a Travel CRM system with your business processes can manage your data to generate as true a customer profile as possible while also managing duplicate data from being generated.
4. Lack of personal customer details
Lack of personalization is one of the key problems in travel management.
Understanding your customer’s likes and dislikes can go a long way towards customer experience.
Ineffective tools and bad customer profiles can lead to negative experiences for your customers.
Not knowing your customers’ needs and wants can be a major travel management challenge.
By analyzing your customer behavior through the data generated by their queries and the links they’ve clicked in your site, you’ll be able to create a database of their likes and dislikes.
In future interactions that knowledge will be worth a fortune for the experience, you’ll be able to create for your customers.
Tailor-made experiences for your customers can be a trump up your sleeve while competing with others in the market.
5. Lack of customer independence
When a customer is traveling and problems arise, it need to be addressed and resolved quickly.
Since people are more tech-savvy nowadays they know how to get their issues taken care of through multiple channels.
If you can’t keep up with their demands and expectations it won’t take long for your competitors to poach them from you.
This is also a big problem in travel management.
A self-serve portal integrated within your site can give a level of autonomy to your customers that can help them help themselves.
This independence can lead to faster resolve rates without the need for talking to agents and asking for extra assistance.
6. Lack of mobile omnichannel support
Another travel management challenge for any travel industry company is the lack of communication support.
While a customer is traveling, there might be some places where only certain forms of communication like only telephones or only SMS might be available.
If your company cannot support omnichannel communications your customers will not be able to get the support they need.
This is a travel management challenge that you might face if you do not have the necessary tools to support omnichannel communications.
Integrating omnichannel support into your helpdesk system will enable your customer service agents to respond to and resolve any issues that a customer may send through any media platform.
All major channels like voice, chat, Twitter, WhatsApp, SMS, email, etc. can all be supported by this system.
This will make sure that your customers will always be able to contact you no matter which channel of communication they opt to use.
7. Managing emergency situations
Traveling is a dynamic process. No one knows what could happen in the next instant.
Any unforeseen event could lead to a stressful situation for your customers.
If there are no systems in place for you to deal with these emergency situations your customers could suffer and the incident could become a much bigger problem.
Providing a direct hotline to your customer care executives 24/7 can be very helpful when problems in travel management like an emergency situation come up.
Bypassing Interactive Voice Response (IVRS) telephony systems and being able to directly communicate with a customer service agent can ease some of the stress off the customer.
If those issues get resolved on a priority basis the customers will have faith and trust in your company in any future dealings.
This is a win for both parties as the customer gets a trustworthy company to deal with and the company gets a loyal customer.
8. Customer Support upgradation
Your customer support department will only be as good as your employees. No matter the amount of automation you put in, all of the complex queries will have to be handled by your customer service agents.
Some of the issues faced by them are serious problems in travel management:
- With the growth of communication channels, service agents sometimes have to handle many chats at once in various media platforms like email, live chat, social media, etc. which can be difficult for them.
- As people get more knowledgeable they’ve started asking more pertinent and specific questions. Solving those complex questions through chats can be a tricky proposition for customer service executives.
- Customer support agents can be sometimes blindsided by requests for updated or new products and services as well as requests for changes to their current product or service.
- A major problem in travel management for the industry, especially for customer support agents is burnout. Having to answer more or less the same queries day in and day out takes a toil on their mental and physical well-being.
- Keeping a well-managed helpdesk with organized tabs will make it easier to navigate through multiple conversations at once.
- Asking a lot of follow-up questions can help the support agent understand the issue more clearly which can make it easier to resolve.
- Consistent training for customer support agents regarding new and updated products and services should be a must for any company.
- Not overthinking things and moving on after every ticket is recommended for lessening burnout.
Applying strategies that help you not get too deep into every ticket should be practiced by customer support agents.
9. Inconsistent service standards
The travel industry is a very hard sector for retaining customers. A company is expected to have good service standards and keep on improving on it to be on par with the competition.
Companies tend to overplease their customers in one department while overlooking another.
This imbalanced uniformity of service is also a travel management challenge.
You should not be just focusing on one aspect of the customers’ travel plans.
If you have booked a hotel room according to the customer’s wishes, you will also have to look at the conveyance they will use, the restaurants that they’ve been booked at, the excursions and sightseeing they will do; the standard of service has to be of a uniform and consistent nature for all the departments.
This will make for a memorable experience and a happy and loyal customer.
10. Managing cash flow
An important but often overlooked problem in travel management is managing or rather the mismanagement of cash flow.
With the recent Covid-19 pandemic this problem was further highlighted.
Not budgeting for contingencies, irregular payment cultures, and economic uncertainties all these factors can make or break a company.
Invest in software that keeps track of your cash flow.
Automated billing systems which remind you to pay your vendors and which also remind your customers of their pending payments will help you to maintain a healthy cash flow for your company.
Providing customer support in the travel industry is a constantly changing dynamic process. It can be deeply gratifying and at the same time extremely taxing.
It’s important for companies to be aware of the challenges that frontline support agents face.
By understanding and trying to work on the points given above you’ll be able to help your customer support executives to better serve your customers.
At Kapture, we can help you come up with solutions for your travel management challenges. Our travel management CRM Software can be customized as per your company’s requirements.
With our omnichannel communication platforms, chatbots, helpdesks for boosting customer support, and automated billing systems, your travel management issues will be a thing of the past.
Click here to book a demo.
About the Author
|Elvis Richard Cormuz|
|Elvis hails from Darjeeling and has had vibrant work life experiences – a musician, social worker and freelance translator/transcriber, his hobbies include music, movies and reading.|