Missed CX Opportunities in the Travel Sector

When a business fails to communicate effectively, it creates a disconnect in the experience they want to provide and the one you as the customer have – this can be unsettling or frustrating. Take for example, the email below.

CX Fail in the travel experience. Can you spot it?

Did you spot the problem?

After recently booking a flight for a transatlantic business trip, I received this email from the travel firm. (who I will not shame).

Sending an email like this to everyone who visits your website is unfortunately a fairly common approach. It is the equivalent to an abandoned basket email from a retailer. So, what’s wrong with the email?

From a traveller’s point of view:

It immediately casts doubt in their mind as to whether the booking has been registered correctly or not.  Surely the brand knows if I’ve booked a flight with them.

This then starts a chain of events with the traveller having to find contact details for the operator. Phoning their call centre to check if the flight has actually been booked and then asking for written confirmation for reassurance.

From a marketer’s point of view:

Every customer communication should help to improve the customers experience. This is a missed opportunity to show the customer that you understand them. By doing this you reassure them that your company is a reliable one that they will want to travel with again. Because the ticket is already booked, this should also be the opportunity to upsell. This could be anything from ancillary products such as seat reservation, early boarding, in flight meals, transport to and from the airport and parking etc. Instead, brands that aren’t careful frighten the customer and making them wonder if their booking was successful.

Why does this type of communication get sent?

Unfortunately it comes down to misaligned and siloed parts of the business. Each team wants something slightly different, leading to a lowest-common-denominator approach like the one above.
The Sales team want to follow up with every ‘abandoned basket’ to maximise the conversion rate. 

The marketing team want to make sure there is a caveat in the communication as they can see that the customer may have booked through another channel or a website return visit.

The Data team cannot join all the dots within their disparate systems (and even if they can, it takes too long)

If each of these teams was able to access all of the data in real time and share it out across the other business units, there would be no need for an email inquiring if a customer  booked. All systems would already know. As I discussed in a previous blog, many businesses are using CDPs, and now Virtual CDPs to address this challenge, but it really comes down to being able to combine and use data throughout the customer journey.

What is the impact to the Travel Companies?

The fact that this communication went out to an already booked customer in the first place is contrary to the goals of any travel company aiming for efficiency.

Firstly, there are unnecessary call centre costs. Call center agents have to answer support calls to confirm the booking and reassure customers that they are booked on the flight.

Secondly and maybe not so obvious are the additional marketing costs. This email could have up-sold ancillary products and services. Instead, the travel company sends additional communications for these ancillary products as part of the campaign management process. Each message further crowds out all future messages, making it more likely to be lost in the hustle and bustle of the traveller’s life.

Then there is the biggest cost. The cost of losing future business from the customer is enormous when you create doubt. There are so many Travel companies out there which provide the customer with a much better Customer Experience and will gladly welcome them with open arms, not to mention without unnecessary emails.

How can this be avoided?

The customer’s activity information already should be within the Travel businesses’ grasp across several systems- e-commerce data, CRM, website activity to name a few.

This data should be used to recognise the customer and where they are in their travel purchase journey. It should then allow you to offer relevant content on whichever channel the customer wishes to use.

The critical piece of the puzzle here is that if the customer is yet to complete a purchase every effort should be focussed on completing that sale. The problem arises if the purchase has been made.  Make sure that you demonstrate to the customer that you are aware of who they are and what they have purchased. Provide them with helpful relevant offers and assure them that they are in safe hands.

The good news? This is not as difficult as you think. It does not require replacing your current solutions or pulling all of your data into a single repository.

The Solution

The solution is customer journey management. The Kitewheel Hub connects your existing technology and data to provide you with a platform. This enables your brand to make real time decisions. This allows you to personalise customer communications and make the decision on what is the Next Best Action. This is then delivered in the speed which customers expect – real time!

One of the benefits of connecting to existing technology is that the Kitewheel solution can be implemented and produce results within a short period of time. Some clients have seen 30% increase in sales within weeks.

It’s time to stop sending irrelevant customer communications and start improving your customers experiences. If you don’t, there are plenty of competitors out there who will.

Interesting in learning more? Request a demo today and add me on LinkedIn.