WHO CTC Travel, a leading travel player in Singapore, initiated a number of Customer-centric Initiatives (CCI) over a year ago with funding and support from government agencies. Its plan of action encompassed the adoption of new technology as well as innovative management practices to streamline operations.
WHAT Said CTC Travel’s senior vice president, marketing & PR, Alicia Seah: “At the start of the programme, we did an audit to pinpoint service gaps. The firm then realised that the biggest lapses were occurring in day-to-day processes.”
CTC Travel invested in a new phone system that shortened customer waiting times. To improve its risk management process, it also introduced a dedicated 24-hour emergency hotline and crisis management team. The company’s feedback system was also centralised, enabling management to handle complaints directly when in the past they were passed through various divisions.
CTC Travel achieved a 40 per cent reduction in the time taken to meet customers’ needs and a 33 per cent time reduction in answering phones. The firm also doubled its customer advocacy rate.
WHY According to Seah, the CCI was rolled out in response to escalating competition, especially from the online arena. She said: “As customers now have the ability to make bookings directly through the Internet, agencies have to stand out and the only way to achieve this is by upping service levels and offering more carefully crafted, differentiated products.”
TARGET Seah highlighted that in order to sustain the high level of service cultivated over the last 16 months, the company would be putting staff through advanced training modules. From time to time, mystery service audits would be conducted. The firm is also considering introducing an employee reward and recognition scheme.
CTC Travel is confident that the second phase of the CCI, scheduled to kick off in early 2013, will enable the company to capitalise on evolving consumer trends. “Our focus will be on customer relationship management. We want to form lifetime relationships with our customers and be there for them at every life stage by ensuring them that we offer them appropriate itineraries based on the data we collect and mine. To attain this, we are investing in a new customer database as well as a loyalty programme,” said Seah.
Simultaneously, the agency is developing more experience-based customised tour packages targeted at various niches, including Muslims and students. “Even though customised travel products only comprise about 20 per cent of our total portfolio now, we envision that they will become more of a norm 10 years down the road,” said Seah.