RightNow® Helps Travelocity Deliver Competitively Superior Customer Experience While Controlling Operational Costs

Goals:

  • Deliver a competitively superior customer experience with every interaction
  • Control costs to optimize profitability
  • Respond quickly to changing travel conditions and new business opportunities

Achievements:

  • Accurate, up-to-date information immediately available to customers, internal staff and outsourced contact centers
  • Highly effective online self-service substantially reduces email and call center workloads
  • Business users able to modify public and intranet site content in real time 

The online travel business is tough. Customers have to be able to trust you with a complex and critical transaction. If something goes wrong and they have a bad experience, you can lose their business forever. You also have to run an extremely efficient operation to keep prices down—because customers can go elsewhere with just a few mouse-clicks.

Travelocity, however, has succeeded in this highly competitive business by consistently delivering a superlative customer experience while keeping fares low. And RightNow plays a key role in maintaining this competitive advantage.

“RightNow has been helping Travelocity achieve quality and efficiency of service for years,” says manager of interactive customer care Sean Campbell. “It's part of the reason we’ve been able to differentiate ourselves as one of the most authoritative web resources for travel.”

Travel Knowledge As A Competitive Advantage

RightNow supports Travelocity’s differentiated customer experience by delivering accurate, up-to-date knowledge wherever it’s needed. Whether directly via the web, or indirectly through a Travelocity employee or an outsourced contact center agent using the company’s intranet to look up a piece of information, customers receive consistent information across the board.

Travelocity actually has five different public RightNow interfaces to support five separate operations: Travelocity, AOL Travel, Yahoo! Travel, Travelocity Business, and Travelocity.ca. These interfaces make it easy for customers to quickly pinpoint the specific information they’re looking for at any given moment. Site visitors can search for information by category or by entering phrases or keywords. RightNow also automatically maintains a list of the 20 top questions on customers’ minds—thereby maximizing the percentage of site visitors who can find what they need with a single mouse-click.

RightNow also serves as a portal of sorts for the company’s intranet. As a fully web-based on demand system, it allows Travelocity to provide both internal and outsourced staff with instant access to a complete travel knowledge base that they can use to answer customers’ questions and/or ensure that they perform their own jobs correctly.

RightNow’s knowledge management tools also make it easy for Travelocity to keep all information updated and to add new information as necessary. Campbell and his team can track use of the knowledge base to spot patterns in customer’s issues and respond accordingly.

The result is a self-service resource that delivers nearly 300,000 answers to site visitors every month for Travelocity across all of its brands, and is in constant use by the company’s contact center staff.

“RightNow transforms the way companies leverage the web to deliver information to internal and external constituencies,” declares Campbell. “So we can immediately answer our customers’ questions 24 hours a day no matter where they are in the world—and significantly reduce our phone- and email-related contact center costs in the process.”

Authoritative, Real-time Response To Changing Global Travel Conditions

Because RightNow empowers Travelocity’s customer care team to quickly add content to its knowledge base without depending on IT, the solution substantially improves the company’s ability to respond to the various events and situations that impact its business.

When Hurricane Katrina struck, for example, Travelocity proved so adept at posting relevant, up-to-the-minute information on the web that the Wall Street Journal directed their readers to Travelocity’s site as an authoritative reference. That month, there were more than 400,000 hits on the site’s Katrina-related content alone.

“Our ability to respond in real time to changing conditions around the globe significantly improves our ability to serve our existing customers,” Campbell says. “It also puts us in a position of leadership so we can attract new ones.”

In fact, Travelocity first pressed RightNow into service in response to the devastating impact of 9/11. The entire travel industry was transformed that day, and customers were swamping Travelocity with a massive deluge of questions about flights and tickets. So the decision was made to enlist the help of RightNow, which had already been under evaluation for some time.

Travelocity quickly put together about 200 question/answer pairs to address its customers’ top concerns. In less than two weeks, Travelocity customers were getting the answers they needed online. This eased the phone call and email workloads that threatened to overwhelm Travelocity’s contact centers.

“In the days following 9/11, we had to get a lot of information to a lot of customers immediately,” Campbell recalls. “RightNow stepped up to the plate in an extremely compressed time-frame.”

These same capabilities enable Travelocity to quickly roll out new capabilities and capitalize on emerging business opportunities to extend its competitive differentiation. “You can’t introduce a new feature if you’re not ready to fully support it,” notes Campbell. “By empowering us to put that support in place much more quickly, RightNow therefore accelerates our time-to-market.”

Technology And Services That Drive An Optimized Customer Experience

Travelocity has significantly customized the browser interface to its RightNow system in order to seamlessly incorporate self-service into the overall look-and-feel of its site. The company has also uniquely adapted RightNow’s survey tools to further enhance its ability to serve it customers. Instead of polling customers directly, Travelocity uses the tools to capture insights from front-line contact center staff. These insights are then applied to refine everything from website navigation to product development.

“Front-line employees have an uncanny ability to intuitively aggregate anecdotal evidence and keep their fingers on the pulse of the market,” explains Campbell. “So by making it easy for them to give input into our decision-making processes, we help keep Travelocity a highly customer-driven company.”

Campbell adds that RightNow’s services are as important to Travelocity as its technology. “Since day one, RightNow has been spectacularly responsive to our needs,” he says. “Whether we need a simple answer to a technical question or high-level expertise about our customer experience management strategy, they have consistently been able to deliver for half a decade.”

RightNow’s approach to on demand application delivery has also paid dividends for Travelocity. It has enabled the company to avoid both the capital and operational costs associated with software ownership—while at the time providing ready scalability whenever required, full visibility into its hosting environment, and total control over system upgrades.

“RightNow enables us to reap all the benefits their solutions offer without having to bear the burdens that have historically been associated with the ownership of technology,” says Campbell. “It’s a solution I would strongly recommend to anyone seeking to deliver a superior customer experience while controlling costs.”

About Travelocity Inc.

Travelocity® is committed to being the traveler's champion—before, during and after the trip—and guarantees everything about a customer's booking will be right. If it's not, Travelocity will work with its partners to make it right, right away. This customer-driven focus, backed by live 24/7 phone support, great prices and powerful shopping technology has made Travelocity the fifth largest travel agency in the U.S.—booking $7.4 billion in travel worldwide in 2005. Based in Southlake, Texas, Travelocity also owns and operates Travelocity BusinessSM and GetThere® for corporate travelers, lastminute.com, a leader in European online travel, and ZUJI, a leader in Asia-Pacific online travel. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE:TSG), a world leader in travel commerce.

 

Source: RightNow

 

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