The coronavirus pandemic delivered a perfect storm to the Travel & Tourism industry virtually overnight. Fareportal was not immune to the rapidly evolving business and operational landscape. Call volume rose exponentially as worldwide travel restrictions went into effect, our Operations team scrambled to meet this unprecedented demand, and companywide our global teams were faced with adapting to the logistics of a new work-from-home norm. As more customers called, our call volumes went up by more than 50% in March 2020 while call wait times skyrocketed and failed to meet company standards.
It was clear to our teams that it was prime time to develop highly capable tools that efficiently meet the high demand and ultimately, our customers’ needs. Our Technology and Customer Service teams worked diligently to create high-value solutions for inbound precision routing to improve our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.
Several enhancements were made to our IVR after March 2020. Prompts that reflect our customers’ changing needs were added to support our most in-demand services, and the validation process was shortened to reduce call wait times for more than 60% of our customers. The improved system now consistently redirects our customers to highly capable travel experts who are trained to meet their specific booking and post-booking needs.
Our customers were connected to our newly created, dedicated COVID-19 help desks. Over 25,000 inbound calls were answered, and customer queries were resolved much quicker. Our processes progressively became more streamlined, the high demand was efficiently met, and our customers were even more satisfied with our ability to meet their travel needs.
Security was enhanced so that our customers could safely pay for their bookings through IVR. Our new security features make the booking experience even more seamless, effortless, and quick.
An enhanced customer experience is being provided through our omnichannel customer experience where our customers can interact through voice, chat, or our Self-Service Tool (SST). Our teams saw a dramatic 45% increase in customer preference for the self-service options. In response, our IVR system prominently promotes SST so that our customers can make changes to their bookings and apply for cancellations and refunds on their own.
As Fareportal’s commitment to uniting people and places across the planet evolves, new capabilities such as speech IVR will be added.