Research into customer service levels in travel has shown that poor service still abounds with a growing divergence between email and web channels.
The study was carried out by the Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study which evaluated the performance of 10 travel firms as part of wider research into 100 companies.
They were tested on their ability to provide answers to 10 routine sector specific questions on their web sites as well as their speed and accuracy when responding to enquiries sent via email, and links to social media.
The research found:
– Travel companies could only answer 30% of customer questions emailed to them, compared to 50% the year before;
– In contrast, their websites successfully provided responses to 63% of online enquiries (up from 54% last year);
– One travel company answered an email accurately in 19 minutes, it took another company 5 days to respond;
– Scheduled airline websites were able to successfully answer 66% of customer questions, performing slightly better than package operators (60%). Last year the gap was 20%;
– Eight of the travel businesses in the study provided links to Twitter and Facebook and four offered their own forums. However none of them linked customer service to social media.
Eptica said: “Poor email response rates risk frustrating both passengers and holidaymakers. The Study found that service over email is actually getting worse.
“In an era of ever widening consumer choice, travel companies need to deliver fast, efficient and consistent customer service across multiple channels if they are to win and retain business.
“But as the Eptica Multichannel Customer Service Study shows, there’s a growing disconnect between response rates on email and the web that could affect the overall customer experience.”