The Challenges of Providing Customer Support in the Travel Industry

Since the beginning of customer service, there has been a steady progression on how companies strive to give their customers the best support possible. This started with providing manuals on how to use specific features, then moved on to include customer service numbers that can be called for support. Now, the travel industry sees another evolution in this service area with the implementation of the internet.

Unliktravele other forms of customer service, however, the internet is something that is always growing and evolving, making it something very difficult to master. Those in the travel industry particularly need to understand the ins and outs of customer service on the internet in order to provide customers with not only the best possible tools to get the job done, but how to address the issues in a quick and efficient manner. Customers may want to change the vehicle that they are renting or get different seats on a plane before the flight. Others may discover that they have an issue with the hotel that they booked, and need a solution fast.

The main challenge for customer service in this industry is that everything needs to be solved quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction. They don’t have the time to wait on hold while someone looks up a solution, nor do they have the patience to scour the internet to look for answers. The longer they have to search for what they want, the more irate they can become, and they may even have their travel plans ruined because of it. Regardless of the reason, nobody wants to have to deal with headaches while they are traveling.

As stated earlier, online support has evolved as the times have changed. The internet has given people ways to communicate where previously it could only be done through automated phone services or with customer service reps. With the internet, customers can chat with agents, e-mail a division directly, or solve the problem on their own. In fact, self-help is quickly becoming the next big thing for online customer support, and it also makes business sense as well.

Now, Self-help is exactly what it sounds like; providing customers with the tools needed to take care of their problem on their own. This circumvents any need to speak to an actual representative and cuts down on the time used to wait for a response. It may sound like a backwards concept, but giving customers the ability to find answers online without speaking to anyone means that they will resolve the issue at a much faster rate and won’t need any extra assistance.

Self-help also makes business sense because it saves travel companies a lot of money. Phones lines aren’t tied up and e-mail boxes will be cleaner because they won’t be the primary contact method anymore. This means that you will spend less money on phone lines and your agents can speak to the customers that need real assistance rather than a little bit of guidance. Given how big the travel industry is, it’s easy to understand how much of an impact filtering out the small issues can be and why the big companies are adopting this technique. Some examples of this can be with AmTrav and how they prompt a chat box as soon as someone visits their site, or the fact that Southwest Airlines offers a “how to” section on their page.

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However, the era of self-service is going through another phase with the introduction of WalkMe. The problem with self-help right now is the fact that customers can still get lost looking for their answers. Some don’t know where to click to go to the right page, and that’s where WalkMe comes in. WalkMe serves as an interactive GPS of sorts, guiding customers on where to click and what to type every step of the way. Travelers can be guided on the simplest of tasks, like booking a flight or reserving a room, or more complex tasks like switching rental vehicles before arriving at the destination. Tip balloons can offer advice and help the customer feel empowered as they move along with WalkMe.

The internet has offered solutions for many travelers, but new problems are appearing as well. By implementing WalkMe with your travel services, you are able to not only decrease the number of angry customer phone calls, but also provide travelers with the tools they need to enjoy their trip and not worry about the smaller things. Take the next step into customer service with self-help and WalkMe.

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is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe