Automation behind the scenes of big travel companies is cutting the time it takes to deal with complaints en masse and reduces the cost of customer service, according to a global outsourcing firm that’s second biggest sector is travel.
Intelenet told Travolution about three of its products that the company’s travel expert Nitin Sahni thinks will save big companies cash and time while improving the satisfaction of customers.
So what are the solutions?
Built to streamline the compensation process if flights get delayed, cancelled or rescheduled, communication management system iCan has cut dispute processing times for Intelenet’s clients by 60%.
It assesses the type, impact and duration of flight disruption and speeds up the calculation process of compensation due before automatically sending emails to claimants, who typically account for around 30 per cent of daily incoming customer queries.
Sahni said: “Whether it is security reasons, controllers going on strike or the weather, it is painful for airlines to deal with disruption.
“Not just painful for the customer but the pressure it puts on the airlines is significant.
“A customer sending in a claim manually has to wait one or two weeks to get a refund as the advisor goes through the policy and what has been claimed.
“That’s now been automated with natural language processing. What would take 20 minutes can now be done in a few minutes by a machine processing it and an advisor doing a quality check.”
According to Intelenet, more than 85 per cent of customer requests from flights being delayed, rescheduled or cancelled, require agents to go through detailed fare rules.
Misinterpretation of those rules account for more than 72% of the human errors, the company says.
That’s where artificial intelligence tool, iFARE™ comes in. Intelenet claims it has improved average handling time by 12% for a leading global online travel company and reduced customer service costs by 30 per cent.
Sahni said: “Currently buying travel online is easy. But if you want to change or cancel your travel you have to call a contact centre. If you do that you want options, and if you don’t like the first one you ask for a second or a third.
“On average, it takes about 15-20 minutes in the travel industry, but what we have seen is that we can reduce the time that call takes by 40%.
“An advisor typically has to read eight to ten pages of information and cancel a flight manually. We’ve automated that process with computer intelligence and found the customer experience is better because they are spending less time on the phone and not paying for it.”
Sahni added that they have seen the number of errors drop 3-4% within some of its clients’ businesses through the automation process, meaning errors now occur in less than 0.5% of cases.
“You can do more with less at the back end,” he added. “This gives companies the ability to scale up.”
In a bid to improve call centre efficiency, Intelenet created iSafe, which interacts with five Global Distribution Systems (Amadeus, Apollo, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan) across multiple time zones. It automates transactions and the prioritizing of bookings.
The company claims this has improved customer satisfaction, despite a 5% reduction in staff numbers, and that results can be monitored in real time.
Sahni said: “Speech and text analytics can be used to improve conversion or customer experience.
“If you have data from 50,000 emails what it can do for you is tell you the common things customers are looking at.
“Natural language processing can tell you if a customer is happy or unhappy by the terms they are using. It helps you deduct the number of grievances and can pin point the issue the customer has.
“This can be done by our use of big data now rather than having to go through spread sheet after spread sheet.”
Intelenet, which works across 66 countries including the USA, UK, India, Poland, and the Philippines and works with hundreds of clients in more than 50 languages, employs 4,000 people in its travel arm alone. It says the three new platforms have led to increased sales.
Automation has become the focus of the three-decade-old Indian business process outsourcing (BPO) industry as it aims to “stay relevant to its customers who still want year-over-year productivity improvements”.
Sahni said BPOs would have to start “cannibalising” their business or risk losing it to other players.
“Our existing customers are growing 11% but we have to give back 3-4% of that through our own automation efforts. Then we grow with new customers to reach an overall growth rate of 11-12%,” he said.
Intelenet wants to more than double its revenue to $1 billion in five years. To reach that level, from its about $400 million topline now, Intelenet is looking to get $200 million in revenue from its acquisitions, $100 million from tapping Blackstone customers and $300 million will come from organic growth.