loveholidays is one of the UK’s fastest growing online travel agencies, offering custom package holidays to families, couples and friends. It goes without saying the COVID outbreak has caused monumental upheaval within the travel industry globally.
For over 4 months, travel agencies like loveholidays have been forced to refocus their customer service agents from bookings onto cancellations. Record numbers of queries have been coming in from anxious customers, all while social distancing rules necessitate a remote working contact center model.
loveholidays needed to update their on-premise solution to a cloud-based platform so that their agents could work from home. Selecting Twilio Flex provided an immediate fix to their most immediate obstacle of getting loveholidays agents up and running remotely. But remote working was just table-stakes for loveholidays, they chose Twilio Flex because it’s natively an omnichannel platform on which to get up and running quickly and keep on innovating for years to come with programmability.
The project started early May while customer queries were coming in thick and fast. It was critical that the transition be seamless; there could be no disruption to the service handling over 90,000 contacts a month.
The technical team at loveholidays collaborated closely with the team at DVELP to transfer over 300 contact centre seats to Flex in under 6 weeks. Moving the live chat function on the loveholidays website took only 7 days.
The turmoil created by the pandemic didn’t just increase the volume of queries, it prompted new types and levels of engagement among customers. loveholidays suddenly saw an uptick of engagement on their email, webchat and social media channels.
Previously, email hadn’t been a popular channel for customers and so the management system had been manual. When the travel restrictions came into force, understandably panicked customers started using any email addresses they could find, including the CEOs. The enormous increase in volume and the disjointed setup of contact touch points resulted in regrettably long response times, further fuelling customer frustration.
While the loveholidays internal team focused on fine-tuning their new Twilio Flex environment, they tasked DVELP with integrating email traffic into their new platform.
DVELP wrote software to take incoming emails and convert them into tasks for the agents, this way they could reply using their customized Flex interface, a single pane of glass, instead of dealing with emails individually in different systems.
Conversations are no longer tied to a single inbox. Subsequent replies are routed to a customer’s designated agent by default but can be assigned to any available agent during peak times. The result is a wonderfully improved response time and all-round customer experience.
loveholidays also experienced a huge increase in webchat traffic, resulting in large queues. DVELP and loveholidays implemented a bot that informs customers of their place in the queue when joining a chat and asks them to leave a phone number so loveholidays can SMS text them when an agent is ready. Conversations were set up in the Twilio Flex environment, allowing agents to handle the conversations in the same screen as calls and emails.
The next step towards full multi-channel integration was adding social media messaging capabilities. loveholidays wished to empower agents to pick up a conversation without the need to leave their dashboard, much like we had been able to achieve with email and webchat.
At this point of the project, it only took the DVELP team a few weeks to integrate social channels into the agent flow. Customers swiftly saw a much smoother journey, improved wait times and overall service quality. Thanks to the single user interface of Flex, the loveholidays customer service team has been able to increase agent productivity by 20%.
loveholidays continues to be dedicated to delivering exceptional service during unprecedented times. With the power of Twilio and a strong partnership with DVELP, they are well on their way to building a brighter future.
If the pandemic has caused upheaval in your European contact centre - whether connected to changing customer demands or social distancing measures, DVELP are here to help. DVELP is a leading European Twilio Gold Partner and are Twilio Flex contact centre experts.
Facing similar challenges? Get in touch with us here.
This article was originally published on the Twilio blog