March 8, 2017
Great Customer Experience can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. According to Forrester, just a one-point gain in the Customer Experience Index was worth $65 million to an upscale hotel chain. The ROI when it comes to customer experience can be huge. And it starts with understanding your customer’s expectations at each stage of the buying process.
When it comes to travel, customers are buying a ‘dream’ not a product. Customers want to take their time researching each destination for the perfect holiday. After all, you only get to go on holiday once or twice a year. Google’s Head of Industry for travel estimates that only 4% of online visitors to Travel Agents’ websites are looking to buy. Travel companies are clocking on to importance of selling the dream. But where they fall down is the next stage – booking and payments.
Once customers pick a holiday they expect the booking and payments to be fast, safe and easy. Anything less than that means a bad customer experience. The focus tends to be on the interface, but the back-end supplier payment mechanisms need to be just as frictionless and streamlined.
Increasing B2B payment efficiency
Leslie Mcardle, Marketing Director at predictive intelligence consultancy ‘Now Interact’, argues that delivering a quick and seamless booking process is as important as data capture and personalisation.
"Travel Agents are standing at the precipice of a period of incredible growth. All that they need to do to reap the rewards is to embrace data, personalize their contact channels and work towards offering a stress-free, and seamless, online customer experience."
The travel sector is a market where a fusion of digital processes and human touchpoints can be harmonious or problematic. If a supplier payment process is cumbersome, how does that affect the travel company and, as a result, their customer?
Historically, supplier payments in the travel industry have been inefficient, complex and involving outdated manual processes. This can lead to errors, booking mix-ups and in the worst case: card fraud. All of which results in bad customer experience and loss of repeat business. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Travel companies should be investing in tools and platforms to speed up B2B payments, as they have with B2C payments. By doing so, they will see benefits in both the customer, as well as the employee experience. How much happier would employees be if their boring manual tasks were automated? Only by investing in every aspect of payments will a truly seamless, efficient booking and payments process be achieved. The end result is a positive customer experience, repeat business and the all-important customer advocacy.
For more on the relationship between CX and business performance, we've put together a dedicated resource here.
1 Forrester: The Business Impact of Customer Experience, 2014