Whether you are a growing business or an established multi-national company in the travel industry, customer service is a critical factor of success. In a truly digital age, where customers have a variety of channels available to express their endorsements or complaints, timely and personal customer service is now essential for success. 

Increasingly live chat is an emerging option as a customer service channel. Whether shopping online or booking a flight, a growing number of consumers say that live chat is their preferred way to engage with support due to quick responses and convenience. Another example of live chat in practice is Facebook’s new Business on Messenger product allowing businesses to provide scalable and responsive customer service. So how does this make a difference to a travel business?

Live chat can transform customer service for the better. The most recent benchmark report from Zendesk found that 30 days after implementing live chat, ticket volume from embedded web forms plummeted - suggesting that customers prefer to communicate with support directly from the company website, instead of waiting for a response to arrive via email. Globally, customer satisfaction for live chat is 92% - higher than any other channel - so it’s really important for a business to get its live chat function right.

While many different types of companies rely on live chat, performance benchmarks vary from one industry to the next. IT & consultancy companies achieve the highest live chat satisfaction ratings (96% of rated chat conversations received positive feedback), while those in the travel industry see the lowest (89%). With this in mind, below are some thoughts to show how an effective live chat offering can transform customer service in the travel industry.

 

Keep it timely

The time it takes to for a customer to receive a first response to an enquiry has a huge impact on customer satisfaction. Customers choose live chat over different channels due to the quick response time, so keeping them waiting will negate this. The average first response time is one minute 36 seconds, so it’s important to monitor if your agents are achieving this response.

Keep it personal

One of the most important factors of live chat is the personalised experience it offers. Live chat customer satisfaction increases with the number of chat messages exchanged between agent and visitor, and customers appear to like a more back-and-forth style of conversation with agents. One possible reason for this could be that customers are happier with agents who are more engaged in the customer support process - either by asking more troubleshooting questions, or simply taking the time to ask the customer how his or her day is going.

Manage your agents’ workload

There is a tendency for live chat customer satisfaction to fall as the number of chats per agent rises. Although agents can manage multiple conversations at once, they do hit a limit on how many chats they can handle before it impacts customer satisfaction.

Analyse your data

Understanding when chat request volume peaks can help companies decide how to allocate agent resources. In the Zendesk customer sample, over 50% of chats occur between the peak hours of 10:00 and 15:00. Each company is different however, so it’s important to focus resources according to business demands.

 

Given that customer satisfaction for live chat is higher than any other channel, it’s essential that the travel industry recognises how effective it can be. Maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction will help improve loyalty, recommendations, and ultimately, the bottom line.

A final thought is that while there are support options in place pre-travel and post-travel, we’ve heard customer stories about the need to communicate with their travel provider while they are travelling. This is an area of customer service that travel companies need to explore in greater detail.

 

For further information, visit https://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-benchmark 

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