With the holidays fast approaching, many people are already planning trips home to visit family — or perhaps to travel somewhere far away from home. Either way, it's a hectic season for travel agencies and third-party booking services.
To tackle these holiday spikes and to earn customer loyalty this season, businesses need to be staffed with the right humans, resources, and technologies. Here's why solid contact center management technology with CRM integration and communications APIs can mean the difference between holiday cheers and jeers.
5 Cloud Contact Center Benefits
Robust cloud contact center management technology lets businesses manage customer communication across channels — including voice, chat, SMS, and social — all from one online dashboard. This integration boosts productivity and improves customer service, both of which are more important than ever during the "most wonderful time of the year." After all, nothing ruins the holiday spirit like a bad travel experience … or serving customers who are having a bad experience.
The benefits of contact center service include:
- CRM integration: Cloud contact center technology can be integrated with an existing CRM so that customer interactions, along with agent notes and other important customer data, are automatically logged. Within the contact center dashboard, agents and service reps get a single, 360-degree view of customers. The technology recognizes customers and triggers a screen to pop up with all the information the agent needs in order to provide informed answers and prompt service.
- Agent mobility: Agents can access the contact center management solution from anywhere via any internet-connected device. So whether agents are traveling or stuck at home due to a winter storm, they can keep helping customers. If they're off the clock, they can forward customer calls and inquiries to another agent or to a contact center outsourcing team, ensuring customer calls never get missed.
- Seamless customer experience: Travelers can reach out using their preferred channel and seamlessly switch channels when necessary. For example, if a customer reaches out via chat but suddenly needs to step away from her computer, the agent can switch channels without interrupting the conversation.
- Bots for backup: When call volumes are high, wait times tend to get long. Although 'tis the season to be jolly, everyone turns into a Grinch when they're stuck on hold for too long. With proper integration, voicebots and chatbots can answer customer questions, make or change reservations, or direct the inquiry to the right human agent.
- Scalable bandwidth: Sophisticated contact center management platforms include bandwidth trafficking and network solutions, such as MPLS network and SmartWAN technologies, to ensure continuous uptime and quality of service, even during high-traffic times.
A robust contact center management solution is the gift that keeps on giving during the busy holiday season for travel companies and their satisfied customers. But that's just the start. To really boost agent productivity and improve the travel experience, companies can build out more sophisticated communications features using developer-friendly APIs.
With an SMS API, companies can send automated messages to customers' phones to update them about delayed or canceled flights, altered hotel reservations, or anything else travelers want to know in advance.
Holiday Bonus: Communications APIs
Communication APIs add even more value to contact centers by enabling two-way messaging, real-time notifications, and personalized communication — all essential features for travel agencies hoping to distinguish themselves from competitors and impersonal booking sites.
For example, communications platform-as-a-service lets travel agencies synchronize all their real-time communications features — voice, SMS, chat, video. Then they can embed these communications options on their website, reservations site, social media pages, and apps. This way, customers can reach out with one click.
Say a traveler is on Facebook posting pictures of her trip. While she has a few free minutes, she also needs to reschedule her flight home. Rather than looking up a phone number for her travel agent, she can initiate a chat with a chatbot right there on Facebook, gather information from the chatbot, request a phone call from a human agent, and then receive that phone call, without ever leaving the social space.
SMS APIs are particularly useful for travel communication, especially when customers are already traveling and only sporadically checking email. With an SMS API, companies can send automated messages to customers' phones to update them about delayed or canceled flights, altered hotel reservations, or anything else travelers want to know in advance. By integrating a weather API, companies can even send automated weather updates — for instance, a heads-up if a pending winter storm might delay a customer's flight. To the customer, this seems like a thoughtful gesture, a personal touch. In reality, no person even had to think about it.
That's the kind of enhanced, seamless service that helps travel organizations deliver a memorable holiday travel experience and earn customer loyalty that lasts well into the New Year.