Thomas Cook creates talk tool for online bookings

Thomas Cook has unveiled a web chat service targeting customers on the point of booking.

The facility, which offers consumers the opportunity to chat to someone instantly online if they need help, is not being opened up to everyone.

According to UK and Ireland e-commerce director Russell Gould, it is aimed at people who seem to have “stalled” in the booking process or who need help with the searching process.

“It’s for anyone who sees an error message or who seems to be going backwards. We’re targeting people who we think are good leads and then engaging them with online chat and helping them find what they were looking for and then they book on the website.”

The next step is to introduce a co-browse facility to the web chat service so agents can help customers walk through the site.

Gould said that the company was looking at the conversion rates of the customers engaged in web chat versus those who are not and then measuring that against the labour cost of the team of 12 consultants.

He added that, so far, 83% of customers had rated the service good or excellent.

Other online plans for the tour-operating giant include further personalisation on the website.

“We’re finding that when you present personalised content, conversion rates are better than if you don’t.”

A further area of development is around how holiday content is presented with plans for a blended search of traditional packages and dynamic packaging options.

The company recently unveiled its Calendar Search tool enabling consumers to search for the best rates depending on their flexibility as well as an enhanced deals section showing consumers which days the best deals are available on.

Gould predicted that innovation in the coming months would be about “going back to basics”.

“It’s going to be about more of the same, simplifying the customer journey and getting to the little things on the site.

“Usability and simplicity are the primary thing. You have got to make sure it is as easy as possible to make a decision where to go and get through the booking.”

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