How travel providers can keep passengers in high summer spirits
Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet Global Services®, discusses how travellers can be best served during flight disruptions
With the summer period drawing to a close, many Brits will be planning last minute holidays, hoping to catch some final rays before grey days set in. But if customer expectations are not met, airlines and online travel agents (OTAs) may face tempestuous weather sooner than expected. People will be quick to air their discontent on social media platforms, or seek out competitors who can better meet their needs.
The travel industry is currently facing increasing pressure to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, with The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) UK Aviation Consumer Survey revealing that passengers were particularly unhappy with how airports and airlines respond to disruption and delay.Most recently, Gatwick’s information screens suffered a failure, so that the airport had to resort to whiteboards to note down flight details. Understandably, this caused widespread disruption across the airport, with some customers missing their flights due to the problems.
Travel providers remain under significant pressure to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction throughout the year, especially during peak holiday periods. When something goes awry with a customer’s booking, a delayed response from the airline or OTA responsible adds fuel to the fire. Customers put faith in their chosen company to ensure that any bumps along the way will be quickly rectified. So, whether travel disruption is caused by weather, IT issues or strikes, it is the responsibility of travel providers to provide care and attention for customers affected. They must set things right – and fast.
In the “always on” and “always connected” environment, holidaymakers expect to be updated in real time if their flight is going to be delayed or cancelled. Solutions may be found in the form of innovative technology that helps to streamline the customer service process and fast-track communication with travellers during times of need.
A big obstacle for travel providers , and a cause of a great deal of waiting for travellers, is the maze of complicated fare rules which mean changing tickets is more difficult than a quick refund or resell. Next-generation technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being utilised by companies to ensure compliance with booking rules. For instance, we are seeing the proliferation of speech analytics which is able to respond to the needs of a delayed customer by allowing calls to be answered more quickly when a surge occurs.
People also expect a multi-channel service which is accessible on all of their devices. In today’s digital age, the majority of customers use more than one channel to manage their travel plans, including websites, apps, and SMS. Many travel providers have seen how social media has been used by customers to voice complaints, but now an increasing number of companies are reclaiming it to stay in touch and provide a tailored and responsive service.
Companies are especially mindful that millennials are brand agnostic and do not have the same loyalty prevalent in previous generations. Hence, many providers are putting best practice communication systems in place, which can speed up the process and keep customers updated quickly and efficiently. Not only does this avoid the proliferation of negative sentiment on social media, but it also keeps customers engaged with their chosen travel provider.
During the final few weeks of the busy summer period, travel providers will be eager to steer clear of public disputes. Investing in new technology can make the travel disruptions that will inevitably come their way as pain free as possible for both customers and customer service teams. Travel providers can do a lot more to keep passengers content in times of disruption if they automate their back-end systems and stay abreast of multiple channels to keep customers informed at every point of their journey.
Chief Executive Officer
Bhupender Singh, the Chief Executive Officer of Intelenet Global Services is responsible for managing the company’s global business portfolio across US, UK, Europe, Middle East, India, and Philippines. The responsibility of achieving the company’s long-term vision through organic and inorganic initiatives by investing in new markets and enabling technology lies under his leadership.
Bhupender exemplifies Intelenet’s commitment to deliver value to its clients across the business lifecycle, with his penchant for aligning organizations to the ever-changing market needs.
Over the course of his 25 years career, he has been a part of critical assignments focused on Strategy, M&A and Business Growth. Prior to assuming his current role, Bhupender was the Regional CEO of the Intelenet’s AMEA and UK divisions, where he led several key engagements to improve profitability and position the brand as the Leading BPO in India.
Bhupender joined the company in 2007 as the Head of Strategy and M&A, upon the acquisition of his company Travelport India Operations, where he served as the CEO.
Before working with Travelport, he was a part of Cendant TDS’s Strategy and M&A team in London where his remit encompassed a $2bn turnover business spanning over 38 countries in Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
Bhupender was also a part of the founding team for ICICI OneSource (now rebranded as Firstsource), a leading offshore BPO company with special focus on the UK market; before which he spent 6 years with McKinsey & Company and Booz Allen & Hamilton.
Bhupender has done his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and B – Tech from IIT Delhi. He has been awarded gold medals at both IIT and IIM for his all-round performance.