Travo Summit: ‘Invest in new platforms but don’t forget existing customers’

Travo Summit: ‘Invest in new platforms but don’t forget existing customers’

Travel businesses who want to offer their best customer service experience were urged not to forget existing customers when investing in new tech by a panel debating customer service at the Travolution European Summit.

James Clarke, UK general manager at deals publisher Travelzoo, said: “There’s no point trying to attract new customers if you’re not looking after your current ones.”

“We recognise there are new channels like Instagram and Facebook and, for us, when it comes to customer service it allows customers to contact us in many more ways. We want people to talk to us, so we can make changes.”

Full coverage: Travolution European Summit 2019

Matt West, chief executive of reviews site Feefo said: “Two-way communications are important. To suggest an older communication channel is dead isn’t the way. You have to make sure that you reach customers at the point they want to talk to you.”

West stressed the importance of travel companies understanding what’s important to customers and creating multiple touch points. He added: “We are driven by what customers are asking for and we need to listen to them.”

IBM head of travel and transport, Ian Leonard, said he was looking at companies such as Vodafone and the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are building their own communications platforms. He said customer service interactions can “start on WhatsApp and end on a live chat on a website”.

He explained: “In live chat they could start the conversation with a bot and then seamlessly transition to a human without knowing it has changed.”

Leonard said the introduction of new technologies such as augmented reality (AR) glasses can create “endless possibilities” in terms of location-based customer services and what apps can do. However, he warned: “Don’t use technology for technology’s sake”.

Travelzoo’s Clarke said he believes the future lies in condensing the vast amount of content available into a more “personalised and refined manner”. “That’s where it will start carving out a route,” he said.

Full coverageTravolution European Summit 2019

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