Travel and tourism is a fast-paced and growing industry that is expected to be worth $8.6 trillion worldwide in 2022.1 Holidays are a crucial part of people’s lives, and expectations for a seamless experience are high. To remain competitive in the industry, businesses need to provide high-quality customer service on a consistent basis.
Travellers can now book and plan trips without interacting with a single person — relying on computers and smartphones. Despite this, some still prefer traditional methods, like talking to a contact centre agent over the phone or in person. However, this makes up a small percentage of the queries agents have to deal with, which include:
- Accessibility options
- Tour bookings
- Car hire
- Airline and travel information
- The list goes on…
This means customer service teams need to be experienced, educated, and flexible enough to deal with any incoming queries as effectively as possible – especially during those peak summer times! That’s why you need access to the right agents at the right time to meet the different levels of demand throughout the year. The solution is outsourcing.
Outsourcing is a common practice in customer service, allowing businesses to focus on their core services while qualified experts manage customer care. In this article, we will review the benefits of outsourcing customer service and the value it can add to the travel and tourism industry.
Suggested reading: If you want to learn more about how customer service is changing, check out our ebook — A New Approach to Customer Service
Seasonal and flexible scalability
While every business sector has its peak times of the year, no other industry quite compares to travel and tourism. Travel tends to boom during the summer months, resulting in a spike in customer service calls.
This inconsistency can be problematic for businesses to manage when it comes to staffing. They need to have the necessary support to meet customer demand or risk losing business when they should be most profitable.
This is where outsourcing can come in handy. Businesses can ensure they always have the correct number of staff on hand to take care of customer needs by managing and scaling demand with an outsourced partner.
This means a better balance and increased efficiency on both sides of the dynamic. Fewer customers have to wait in call queues during busy periods, and fewer agents are sitting around not taking calls during those quieter times.
Outsourcing allows you to focus on other areas of your business
Like any industry, travel and tourism requires the management of various business processes to ensure customers are provided with a quality service. While top-class customer service is crucial, it is just one of the areas businesses need to address if they want to drive success and obtain a competitive advantage.
Customer service requires significant attention and resources, which can cause a variety of challenges for businesses in travel and tourism. The industry needs to handle multiple bookings, organise various add-ons to travel packages and stay informed on the latest trends.
As a result, businesses need a solution that allows them to provide an effective and efficient service that doesn’t take the focus away from other business-critical areas. Once again, outsourcing customer service can help.
By outsourcing their customer service function, businesses can delegate responsibility and therefore dedicate more in-house time and resources to other crucial areas. Over 55%2 of businesses that outsource customer service have said they do it to focus on other aspects of their organisation, such as:
A full-time outsourced team dedicated to providing customers with an outstanding service ensures a business’s finite resources can be utilised to meet important key performance
indicators (KPIs). This ultimately leads to better, more efficient services for customers and a business that can maintain enhanced performance.
As technology and communication have evolved, so have the channels for customer service delivery. Multichannel customer service has become crucial, enabling businesses to expand their reach and offer multiple points of contact.
This also helps businesses connect with a broader range of demographics. For example, those who prefer to communicate through social media or live chat can now use their preferred method of communication. This allows for a better and more varied experience that can help build customer loyalty.
When most people think of outsourced customer service, they probably picture a call centre environment dedicated to answering customer calls. However, modern outsourced customer service goes well beyond this traditional approach.
Businesses can now utilise outsourcing solutions that offer multichannel support. As a result, it is now easier than ever to respond to customers quickly and effectively, regardless of their preferred method of contact. These solutions include:
- Live chat
- Social (public and direct messaging)
Businesses can, of course, provide multichannel customer service with in-house teams. However, an outsourced approach offers significant advantages, such as:
- Access to experienced customer service agents who understand the requirements of a multichannel system
- A reduction in in-house recruitment costs for omnichannel specialists or training for existing agents
- A smooth and seamless transition to omnichannel support for customers
Outsourcing customer service operations provide businesses with a more manageable and flexible means of getting the work done. It creates adaptability and scalability that can be seen in a number of ways.
For example, with an outsourced approach, agents often work remotely with their own equipment, or in a workspace that the outsourcing provider provides. As a result,
companies can eliminate the costs associated with maintaining office space and providing agents with the equipment they need to do their job.
This is especially valuable for companies operating within the travel and tourism industry. Outsourcing means that the time, money, and resources previously spent on hiring and educating agents can be invested in marketing efforts or sales tactics that drive growth.
Even with these benefits in mind, when it comes to choosing an outsourcing partner, travel and tourism needs to look for providers with flexible and affordable payment options. Some providers now offer pay-as-you-use models, so you can easily scale up and down on-demand while only paying for services you need.
Experienced, expert customer support
Given the broad scope of the travel and tourism sector, customer service functions need to handle a multitude of tasks. After all, you have people contacting you asking a bunch of different – sometimes random – questions. You need a customer service team that can assist clients who have different needs, preferences and sometimes languages.
Fortunately, support is available from external sources. Customer support providers work with agents from a range of backgrounds with experience in various industries. This allows them to provide you with professionals who have the skills required to provide exceptional customer service in a range of scenarios relevant in travel and tourism, including:
- Marketing travel packages
- Assisting customers with payment queries and issues
- Managing the booking of tickets
- Providing support for lost luggage and property
- General holiday queries, and much more!
Furthermore, some providers can source multilingual agents to communicate with diverse customer bases. This is a must in the tourism sector and can be a major advantage — making it possible to serve even more clients.
Outsource your customer service with the best-fit partner
Travel and tourism is a demanding industry. That’s why it needs a customer service function that ensures personalised and high-quality outcomes — especially when demand accelerates during busy periods.
That’s why many companies are looking to implement a flexible customer service approach. This means having on-demand access to a pool of talent with relevant qualifications and experience.
That’s where Odondo can help. We offer a comprehensive suite of services capable of meeting travel and tourism’s unique demands. Our distributed model gives you access to high-quality agents that deliver exceptional customer service at an affordable rate.
With no fixed contracts, you won’t be locked into expensive long-term commitments, and you can dial up or down the resources you use as demand evolves. Furthermore, our remote agents are matched to you based on relevant industry knowledge and language skills, ensuring a seamless customer journey every time.
We’re here to relieve customer service stress so you can focus on what really matters most — your business. So, if you’re ready to outsource your customer service function and provide your customers with the care they deserve, get in touch with our team for a quote today.
Aamir is one of the Co-Founders at Odondo, where he obsesses over the details to deliver a strong and compelling proposition for each of his clients.
Prior to Odondo, he was CTO at one of the UK's largest price comparison websites, with contact centres in the UK and India. In his spare time, he loves reading, politics, tennis, and playing the piano (badly).