Work as an agent

In A Travel Emergency You Need Customer Service Flexibility

The travel industry grapples with ongoing challenges, such as weather disruptions and staff shortages. Proactive customer interaction is crucial during crises, and yoummday's flexible customer service solution provides a remote pool of trained experts to efficiently handle increased demand, offering a timely and effective response compared to traditional contact centers.

Chris Hague
17 January 2024
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If you Google ‘Travel Meltdown” then your search engine will return millions of pages of information about travel industry disasters. Videos of passengers waiting hours on planes. Flight status chaos. Fines for poor service. The last count was over 25 million pages on Google detailing travel chaos.

Each major travel season since the Covid pandemic has been difficult. Many air-lines and travel companies are still recovering from the enforced period with no activity. Experienced employees were laid off and many have not returned to their old job - or even back into the travel industry - because they started working in a new area.

But travel emergencies can also be local. You will not be concerned about the en-tire industry when the flight you are on is delayed or rerouted because of a storm. Unusual weather patterns and serious storms are causing more and more disrup-tion for travelers.

In August, images of Frankfurt airport were shared globally because planes were surrounded by flood water. This also happened in Faro, Portugal last month. When CNN recently reported on constant travel delays and disruption. In the US the travel industry is finding that storms and weather conditions are on top of staffing shortages at airlines, the air industry regulator, and also air traffic control teams. In the US alone, thousands of flights are delayed every single day.

What can travel companies do to help their customers?

Obviously, the weather cannot be controlled. Sometimes disruption is unavoidable because safety has to be prioritized over convenience or sticking to the planned schedule. However, what is the single most important action you can take to miti-gate this situation?

Customer interaction. Giving customers the right information about any delays or change to the planned service. Proactively giving customers the information they need, before they ask, will help many customers, but it will not always be possible to automatically advise customers about every change or delay.

Sometimes you just need to be ready for the calls. When a single plane is delayed you might need to handle a few hundred disrupted passengers all calling or con-tacting the airline at the same time, but just imagine when the airport is closed because of a storm or flood. Every passenger on every flight to that region will need information - NOW.

How do you flexibly ramp up to meet the demand?

A year after the Covid crisis started, some airline passengers were reporting 4 or 5 hour waits on hold when they called their airline for information. The hold time to get information was probably longer than the duration of the disrupted flights.

No customer should have to wait five hours on hold - ever.

Even if a storm has closed an airport or a major storm has knocked out critical in-frastructure - they need questions answered. You need to be able to help your traveling customers in quickly and efficiently during a crisis.

These passengers will initially retain some goodwill to their airline or travel compa-ny if they can see that the situation is not controlled by the airline. If a storm cre-ates an emergency situation then the customer will value the airline that helps them find an alternative route to their destination - not the one that avoids any contact for hours because their contact center is deluged with passengers all need-ing help at the same time.

This is where the flexible approach to customer service offered by Yoummday can entirely change the situation. A typical customer service solution has a physical contact center with a finite number of agents. You can’t instantly add more agents to handle a crisis or emergency - all you can do is ask team members to work longer shifts.

With Yoummday there is a large pool of trained experts available flexibly and they work from home, so there is no constraint even if you need to ramp up to 300% of your usual capacity. You can quickly do whatever is needed to manage the crisis.

Flexible experts prefer to work from home choosing their own hours during normal business operations - when a crisis hits, this bench of talent can be available to help immediately.

Traditional contact center operations can’t handle emergencies. Why is Covid still causing problems for airlines in 2023? The pandemic cannot be used as an excuse for poor service forever. Why not explore a more flexible solution?

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