Tag Archives: net promoter scores

NACCM 2009 LIVE: How Travelocity uses customer information to create a Customer Service Culture

When you’re one of the largest travel agencies in the U.S., and you manage the majority of your business through the web, you’ve got an interesting set of customer service challenges. Travelocity is a very well-know portal for purchasing travel, not just in the U.S., but around the world through Travelocity.com, Travelocity Business, zugi, travelguru.com and more. All of this traffic is supported by four centers in the U.S., 3 in India, and 2 in the Philippines. Travelocity achieves very high levels of service, even though they really never meet their customers face to face, and rarely even talk to them on the phone. How do that do that? Through Customer Championship. Ginny Mahl is VP, Customer Care at Travelocity. Ginny shared with the NACCM Customer’s 1st conference what customer championship is and why is it important. Travelocity’s customer promise is ‘We guarantee your booking will be right or we’ll work with our partners to make it right, right away.’ That’s a big promise when you consider the volume of business they do.

  • Delivering on their promise requires a deep enterprise-wide commitment.
  • When a customer makes them aware of a travel problem, they fix it promptly at the first point of contact.
  • They advocate for the customer both within Travelocity and with travel suppliers.
  • They not only fix the first customer’s problem but also those of similarly situated customers. They improve the customer’s entire travel experience.

Example: When a booking ends up not being the room type expected, it’s a big problem, particularly when it’s a special event. Travelocity has developed a process to pre-confirm rooms to cut down on this problem. Travelocity tackles the problem, even though they didn’t cause it! If you look at the many travel websites, you quickly realize that Travelocity cannot consistently differentiate with content. They all look and act pretty much the same. Customer Championship is what makes Travelocity different.

  • It creates a sustainable differentiator between Travelocity and other sites.
  • It causes customers to be more loyal to an organization that provides support when needed
  • Doing the right thing for customers will forces Travelocity to evaluate its policies and processes and fix those that don’t make sense for the customer.
  • Being the customer’s advocate energizes employees

The essence of this effort is echoed in art of their mission statement: To Inspire Travelers and Be Their Champion. A high-volume, mostly web-based business generates a mind-boggling amount of information about customers and their experiences. Here’s how Travelocity uses that information to support their championship vision. According to Ginny, they use it to:

  • Gain a deep understanding of our customers by listening
  • Assure the entire organization is accountable for delighting our customers
  • Work with our suppliers to improve the travel experience

Travelocity gets a vast amount of customer feedback through surveys, emails, calls, etc. — hundreds of thousands of times per month. With so many millions of data points, it’s hard to digest it all. Text Mining allows them to regularly and systematically read mass quantities of customer feedback. In order to manage this process, they have created a dedicated customer advocacy team. This group researches the issues, contacts customers for resolution, and compile feedback for further study. They also look for customer ‘cries for help.’ ‘Cries for help’ are verbatim comments that text mining allows them to search for that indicate a real problem. Comments on websites, surveys, etc. like ‘Do you care’? ‘Help!’ ‘Refund my money!’Travelocity found that they can triple customer satisfaction when the customer advocacy team responds to them. Another benefit of mining so much information and being able to make sense of it is that it also allows them to work better with suppliers. They can give real data to suppliers instead of just anecdotal stories. In short, it helps them, and their suppliers provide travelers with Proactive Customer Care to make their experiences better and better. As Ginny’s final comments reminded us: ‘Because it’s not just about getting there’it’s about assuring great experiences.”

NACCM 2009: Two-Way Invention: Co-generating New Products and Services with Your Customers Through Ongoing Dialogues Online

In today’s presentation, Sami Hero, Vice President of Global Web Strategy at LexisNexis shared his company’s approach towards social media engagement and its evolution. LexisNexis built their web strategy over the past several years. In 2007, they launched their Web 2.0 initiatives and engaged in sporadic blogging, building focus groups and using Net Promoter Scores to gather feedback from their customers. In 2008, their focus was on building solutions and services for customer problems and creating 17 customer communities. Growth continued in 2009 as they developed global websites and grew customer communities to 30+. LexisNexis continued to grow its customer engagement in 2010 by adding mobile applications, building deeper customer relationships, and making it a common practice to listen.

Customer-driven innovation needs to be measured says Hero. It takes special talent’find them in your organization and ‘let them loose’. Age doesn’t matter, skill set does. When asked what skill sets are most important, Hero said that people with excitement, those that display strong writing skills, and those who are passionate about customer engagement make the best choices for managing customer conversations.

LexisNexis actively listens to its customers and users through their website at http://lexisnexis.com/community/ideas. Hero sees the value in these community sites as customers tend to go back to the main website. When at the main site, customers typically end up buying something. This cross promotion has significant value to an organization says Hero. He cautions us, however, in that if you aren’t giving good content, your community will die. Invest the resources to keep the customer conversations alive.

NACCM 2009: The Power of Global Connectivity: Opportunities from a 24/7 Worldwide Alliance

Two billion Dell conversations are occurring each year online, through chats, forums, emails, etc. People are talking about you and you want to know what they are saying about you says Vida Killian who is responsible for Marketing & Online Conversations at Dell. She shared a quote from Michael Dell that states ‘These conversations are going to occur whether you like it or not. Do you want to be part of that or not? My arguments is you absolutely do. You can be a better company listening and being involved in that conversation.’

Killian says that Dell has three objectives: 1) Build the brand, 2) listen, learn and engage, and 3) rapid innovation. Dell knew that social media was having a huge impact and expanded social engagement over time. According to Killian, they started with customer forums in 1995, blogosphere and social networking platforms in 2006, IdeaStorm website in 2007, and sponsored offsite properties in 2008.

Dell developed its website IdeaStorm as a result of a need for a customer-driven, central location for new ideas. IdeaStorm.com allowed them to encourage ideas, feedback, innovation and dialogue with and between their customers. What were the results, you ask? The IdeaStorm website has received 12,000 ideas to date (2,000 in the 1st week alone), and has resulted in approximately 400 ideas implemented.

Killian shared key lessons that Dell has learned over the years about social media engagement.

1. Engagement ‘there is pent-up demand and customers want to talk to you.
2. Open source idea generation transformed the way they operate. They not only have the IdeaStorm website but have added a Facebook Application that allows customers to post ideas directly to Facebook.
3. Customers want to engage both on and off your site. Community Forums exist on Ondell.com and Offdell.com.
4. Transparency and authenticity are key. Killian says that social media is ‘forgiving’ if you respond quickly to the negativity.
5. Social media responsibility no longer is just the job of the social media team. In the early days, Dell had a central team. Now they have distributed ownership to different company departments including sales, service & support, product group, and marketing.
6. Define measurement objectives. Keys include Technorati ranking, Net Promoter Scores, website traffic, etc.
7. Meet specific customer needs through social media. For example, when they needed to move inventory from DellOulet, they used Twitter to send coupons to their customers. Now, @delloutlet is in the top 50 Twitter accounts and has over 1million followers. They currently have over 35 official Dell accounts on Twitter and many more personal accounts.
8. Customers want to connect globally. It is a challenge because of language and cultural barriers. Growth potential is huge to connect with customers all over the globe.

Dell’s original goal was to simply build the Dell brand. What they’ve found is that Dell doesn’t own the brand, customers do. When you engage with them, you are building the brand together which is more powerful than doing it alone says Killian.