Post-Pandemic: The Next Big Customer Experience Challenge

13.08.20

The current downturn in the global travel market is driving many changes and creating new challenges across all areas of travel. Companies are forecasting major losses and having to “right-size” in response to the reduction in customer demand and the concern when people will be able to travel freely again. As a result, it’s feared that by the end of 2020 100.8 million jobs worldwide could be lost across the travel sector with Europe forecasted to be the second hardest hit – with 13 million job cuts. Consequently, the need to adapt to these uncertain times is imperative to survive, and thrive beyond.

 

The importance of surpassing the past

Running a business and its back-office operations with less people is a challenge in itself. Let alone attempting to minimise the impact this has on customer service levels. But with less customer demand it is even more important to deliver a customer experience that surpasses anything pre-Covid-19. Get this right and you’ll keep your customers close, and ultimately drive loyalty and repeat bookings. You’ll also be on your way to differentiating your brand amidst a fiercely competitive market. At a time when marketing budgets and resources are being cut, it is essential to encourage and capitalise on those all-powerful word of mouth recommendations too.

The Next Big Challenge for Customer Experience

The way to achieve all this is by acting now to get your customer service right. But while the benefits for your business are clear, what are the repercussions of getting this wrong?

The cost of not managing customer uncertainty

Firstly, not all customers are created equal. The excitement once felt has now turned to trepidation and worse, fear for many. The pandemic has resulted in so many factors that could disrupt what should be a smooth travel experience such as flight cancellations, travel delays, quarantine measures, destination health status, and screening procedures. Then there is the confusion caused by constantly changing in-country policies and guidelines, as governments attempt to pivot in response to fluctuating case numbers and events.

At a time of so much uncertainty, customers need to know what to expect and feel safe. Failure to provide a service that makes them feel anything less, or that could add to the large number of potential complications, could cost you lost customers and reputational damage. Your business could also face hefty compensation claims. The “no win, no fee” claims companies are quick to monetise any customer dissatisfaction and could soon jump on this new opportunity. This means any business unable to provide factual, transparent, and accurate information that meets customer expectations from the outset will run the risk of being targeted.

Technology that facilitates agility and collaboration

As we transition into the next normal, one thing is certain. Travel companies must embrace more agile ways of working to meet new customer expectations. This means leveraging technology that enables employees to work more efficiently to deliver results faster. Being able to provide a smooth, joined up customer experience requires travel companies to not only manage a new reality, but re-imagine old business models and processes. This calls for the need to break down traditional silos and work in a more effective, collaborative manner.

By adopting a collaborative communications platform that empowers cross-departmental working, travel businesses can respond to the ever-evolving change with speed and agility. Marketing, PR, Product, and Operations teams can collectively combine their efforts – whilst minimising the traditional demands and overheads on IT. Being able to update each customer with relevant government and country-specific advice and procedures can ensure they are a fully prepared. Managing delays and disruptions with empathy and transparency can reduce frustration. And being able to optimise messaging based on in-destination and post-return feedback from social and customer review platforms can avert misinformation being repeated or echoed by others.

With the right solution in place your travel business stands a better chance of getting customer service right. Act now and minimise the cost of disgruntled customers that lead to lost business – and potential brand reputational damage

Speak to us and learn how our TravelComms platform provides a cross-departmental travel communications solution, designed to mitigate the post-crisis challenges of the customer communications journey.

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