Travel websites are not geared up for the traditional January rush on holiday bookings and increasingly empowered users will quickly move to a rival site.
This is the warning from user experience specialist RightNow after observing online behaviour by consumers who are demanding a far higher level of customer service since the explosion of online travel booking in recent years.
“January, the busiest time for travel booking, is fast approaching and many online travel retailers are not ready for the rush,” RightNow vice-president Wayne Foncette said.
Online travel agents have been singled out by RightNow as those that should beef up their online customer service if they are to have a “less stressful January”.
The call follows a year which has seen a massive jump in functionality and the introduction of Web 2.0 tools for web users, especially in travel, although recent reviews have revealed basic online customer service has often been disregarded.
RightNow suggested the use of Live Chat facilities, using instant messenger tools hooked into a contact centre, as a particularly useful addition. FAQs that provide links to other services and help points should be used alongside Contextual Help facilities within the booking process.
“By providing context sensitive help, knowledge relevant help to each page, you will ensure the online experience is positive for your customer and abandonment rates are lower,” Foncette said.