Advice from Bob Morrell managing director, Reality Training
A recent survey revealed that only 5% of UK retailers consider their businesses to be 100% ready to serve customers through any channel. The Retail Week 2015 survey showed retailers regard their ‘omni-channel reorganisation’ as their top priority this year.
So how does that translate to travel companies?
Legacy systems and a ‘business silo’ mentality can contribute to a slow migration to an omni-channel service. For one thing, customers don’t know a company is ‘omni-channel’ – they just want to be served in the best way, through their chosen channel.
Reality Training has written a short book, Selling the Sun – The Reality of Omni-Travel, on the subject. Here, managing director Bob Morrell gives some tips.
1. Omni-channel retail stores
Omni-channel customers will have done considerable research before coming into your store. If you use a ‘linear’ sales process, this will frustrate them.
Develop a process that respects where the customer is in their research or booking journey, and begin where they want to. Your commercial priorities should not penalise your travel consultants because a customer ultimately books through another channel.
Is your retail brand offering online interaction in-store via tablets or customer screens? Train your staff to offer the extended range with as much enthusiasm as their current in-store offers.
2. Omni-channel call centres
Empower your call centre teams to question, challenge, negotiate and deliver swift solutions. If your teams don’t have the skills to delight the omni-channel customer, then this is a strategic priority.
Throw out old sales scripts – they’re out of date. If you’re also a retail brand, make sure your call centre behaviour mirrors that of your in-store colleagues.
3. Omni-channel online travel companies
Update your website language, as it will be at least two years old, and the tone of language changes all the time.
Design your web experience around your customers’ purpose, rather than an IT person’s recommendation. It may take longer to create, but your customers must enjoy an online experience, if at all possible.
4. Omni-channel travel management
A great workshop for you and your senior board is: ‘If we’re now omni-channel, how will we change what and how we report?’
This is because your current key performance indicators will almost certainly be out of date and measuring the wrong behaviours.
Omni-channel empowers the customer to buy in their own time through choices they control. What level of ‘account management’ are your staff able to bring to the relationship? This is a training and coaching issue for omni-channel selling.
5. Omni-channel in online chat
Don’t put chat teams in a silo where they can communicate only via chat. If the customer wants to talk, then empower your chat people to do that – and watch your number of conversions rocket.