6 Reasons the Travel Industry Needs a Cohesive In-App Customer Service Plan Right Now
When your customers are traveling, the stakes are high. Even the smallest error might start an avalanche of problems that could ruin their well-planned vacation. A delayed flight, a missing bag, a smoky hotel room (when they ‘specifically’ requested non-smoking)…it’s all happened, and not infrequently at that.
There are so many ways that things can go wrong, at a time when your customers truly need things to go right. But mistakes are inevitable, and the best way to mitigate their impact is to arm customers with a mobile toolbox that could remedy any issue while they are on the road. That toolbox comes in the form of In-App support.
Going Beyond Self-Service
Improved customer support, specifically In-app chat, could be that differentiator. Self-service is a great starting point, and travel companies (specifically airlines) are well on their way to successfully adapting to this model. But self-service is not the be-all-end-all. There are at least six really important reasons that the travel industry needs to implement innovative, mobile-based customer service as soon as corporately possible.
Wifi and Data Only Access
When travelers arrive at a foreign airport and the local airline doesn’t have their seat reservation because of a communication error with a third-party booking site, they are in trouble. Luckily many airports around the world, in even the most obscure places, have WiFi. Alternatively, your customer may have purchased a local SIM card and have a data-only plan.
Either way, calling or waiting for an email response from the company is often not an option. In these scenarios, travelers-in-distress want support immediately, and want it without having to risk losing their ticket reservation page that has already taken 15 minutes to load due to slow internet access.
Now imagine if those same customers had access to In-app messaging, and could get their problems resolved without ever losing their place at the ticket counter. They probably will be more inclined to use that same service again in the future, rather than if they miss their flight because of a technical error.
2. Excessive International Calling Fees
Even if travelers do have access to international calling, it’s usually incredibly expensive. Say your expected hotel guests’ flight lands a few hours late and their transportation isn’t waiting for them when they land. A 10 minute phone call to the hotel could run them $50. Not to mention, if the hotel needs to track down an en-route driver, it might take a lot longer than 10 minutes to resolve. But again, if your guests can find WiFi (which is really easy to do these days), they can calmly and pleasantly resolve this issue via messaging from the comfort of an internet cafe or restaurant.
3. Shorter Timeframes to Pivot
Unless travelers are on sabbatical, taking a gap year, or are extremely Type-B, they usually want to maximize every minute of their time away from home. They probably spent a decent amount of time reading reviews of different attractions and then booking them ahead of time. So when their tour gets rained out and they need an alternate activity to avoid wasting their day, they need to figure it out in a very short timeframe. Being able to quickly utilize mobile messaging to speak with the tour company could save them a lot of time, energy, and even their vacation as a whole.
4. Dynamic Pricing
Let’s not forget about how useful mobile support would be during the planning stage. Anyone who has spent much time booking travel has probably experienced the frustration of waiting one minute too long to book a flight and seeing the price increase a not-unsubstantial amount. If prospective customers were able to have their questions or hesitations addressed sooner, without having to leave the page and refresh their itinerary, they’d probably be much happier and content with their booking experience. And they’d probably be more inclined to book through that site again in the future.
5. Don’t Forget those Seldom, but Inevitable Cellular Black Holes
Yes, there are still places in the world that don’t have WiFi or cell service. What then? One great option is offline self-service via a thorough database of FAQs. Companies that use Helpshift automatically have this feature accessible to them, as Helpshift caches all FAQs so that they are available 24/7.
6. Providing a source of comfort in a foreign situation
Being in a new place feels, well, foreign, and your customers will by default feel more on edge and naturally feel less comfortable than when they are in their home town. No matter what situation they are dealing with, having easily accessible help at the touch of their phone screens would make a world of difference for their experience as customers and in real life.