Great service…it can make or break your business. I’m sure we’ve all experienced poor customer service – and it usually leaves us feeling frustrated, unsatisfied and just plain tired. But a positive customer service experience?!? You tell your friends, you post it on social media, and most importantly you visit that business again.
In the travel industry, customer service can be challenging for both travel service providers and the traveler – most likely you’ve had both positive and negative experiences as travelers. As leaders in the travel management industry, we’ve found the secret to successful customer service: the perfect combination of people and technology – the merger of “high tech” AND “high touch.” Travelers can spend a significant amount of time looking, booking, changing, changing again and confirming their travel itineraries. One canceled or delayed flight, and that time feels wasted. At this moment, all the technology in the world can’t make your traveler feel better; but a positive, helpful conversation with your TMC’s help desk – who uses the best technology - can calm nerves.
That being said, MacNair Travel Management has great technology to support our people, and they in turn provide great customer service. Here are the most important tools that we use:
TMCs use various technologies to deliver a single source for the lowest available fare. These fares are unbiased and can include predetermined limits and exceptions as decided in the travel policy, and can also include complex, multi-leg options for the best price. Using this technology saves money by offering the lowest fares and keeps travelers within the travel policy.
This benefit is a great value for businesses that work with TMCs. Our rate technology continues to look for the best rate – for example, continually checking airline fares – and in turn provides this savings to the client. If an airline fare has gone down, your TMC will alert you of the savings to your travel itinerary that is in excess to the supplier imposed exchange fee. For example, if the fare goes from $600 to $300 and the exchange fee is $200, you only save $100.
Unused, non-refundable ticket monitoring technology
Imagine how hard it would be to remember all of the non-refundable tickets that had been booked and not used, and from which web site and at what time? TMC technology exists to alert the travel manager about the tickets that still need to be used. This can save time and money for your business.
Policy approval technology
This technology ensures that what’s been selected is compliant with the company’s reimbursement policy. This allows for minimal frustration from your road warriors when it comes to reimbursement questions, and prevents the “call from your boss” asking questions.
Disruption management technology
Travel disruption can happen at any time – everything from weather to a terrorist threat can wreak havoc with your business’ travel plans. When working with your TMC, their technology allows for travellers to be rerouted as needed more efficiently and effectively with minimal disruption. This tool helps both business and traveler. We recently had a situation where our disruptionmanagement technology identified a possible disruption in a city where one of our client’s employees was travelling. Our customer service agent identified the problem and worked quickly to help – this traveler got the last seat on the next flight home, leaving everyone else stuck on the ground.
Risk mitigation technology
Many organizations that we work with travel to potentially dangerous areas around the world. Our risk mitigation technology integrates booking data to provide useful advice and direction for these travelers, keeping safety the top priority. In addition, software can track and monitor potentially tense situations and evacuate in case of a medical or other emergency.
Change management technology
Our people most definitely make the difference here. TMCs have technology available to easily make the necessary changes to flights, hotel stays and car rentals, but usually, our outstanding agents take care of changes manually. We’ve found that in managing change, a “live” person is the best technology.
Sophisticated TMCs assign dedicated agents to their corporate customers to improve service. Add in telephony technology, and calls are immediately directed to the assigned agent for faster service. This tool can record and monitor discussions in case issues arise, track and ensure response time and more.
Quality control technology
Almost every business has a quality control function, and travel management is no different. This tool can ensure each trip makes logistical sense, has the right project or customer code and secure additional details, before trip approval is confirmed.
Traveler profile technology
How often do you find yourself entering your name, address and phone number to fill out an online form? With traveler profile technology precious minutes are saved with this profile tool. One automated profile can capture traveler preferences, key travel data and frequent flyer information and apply it to any and all suppliers in your online booking tool. Not only is this more efficient, it also mitigates the potential for mistakes and a data security breach.
New technology is helpful and without a doubt, contributes to the success of our business; but the combination of this and the right people is without a doubt, the greatest customer service enhancement that a TMC can provide. The ability to ensure our clients’ safety and satisfaction while traveling is important to us, and we truly believe the combination of confident, experienced agents and the latest technological tools provide the needed support and peace of mind for the travelers that we have the
honor to serve.