The Importance of Customer Service in the Travel Industry.
Interview With Beatriz Yummi

🕒 5 min.

Did you know that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one? The first rule of any business is to retain customers and build a loyal relationship with them, and thereby avoiding customer acquisition costs. 

It’s a well-established fact that 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition vs. 18% that focus on retention. Also, it’s true that only 40% of companies and 30% of agencies have an equal focus on acquisition and retention. 

Customer care and customer support are among the crucial business processes in the travel and hospitality sector. In fact, it only takes one or two poor customer service experiences for 60% of travelers to switch travel brands. Do you blindly trust the stats and work on improving customer service in your business, or disregard it and go back to more pressing matters?

We wanted to know more about the importance of customer service in the travel and hospitality industry, and we decided to talk to Beatriz Yumi Bongiovanni, the Customer Support Specialist for Latam Market in Hotelmize.

Beatriz Yummi – Customer Support Specialist for Latam Market in Hotelmize

Beatriz holds degrees in Tourism, Business, and Marketing Management. Over the last 13 years, she has worked in various positions, including business development and customer support roles

On more than one occasion, Beatriz collaborated with global companies in the Hospitality industry, which helped her develop leadership, sales, communication, and relationship-building skills. Currently, she is in charge of taking care of our Latam clients at Hotelmize. Let’s hear her opinion on the role of customer service in this sector.

The Importance Of Good Customer Experiences

Why is good customer service important?

It’s because a company’s success is the combination of a good product and good customer service support. The security that the customer feels from reliable customer service makes all the difference when making the purchase decision, even more so in a post-pandemic world where information changes quickly and the customer feels even more apprehensive about buying a product or closing a deal. And, once the sales are finished, the second phase is to understand what are your customer needs and provide the best service to keep customer satisfaction at an enviable level.

What are the main tasks of a Customer Support Specialist? What do you need to carry this role successfully?

The task of a Customer Support Specialist is to be proactive in understanding in advance where customers may have questions or generate errors. They need to respond to customer queries in a timely and accurate way every day. Besides analyzing and reporting the product use enhancements for the company, they must also identify customer needs and help customers use specific features of our service.

To grow this role, the professional must introduce relevant and essential information to new customers, provide quality service promptly and develop and maintain the knowledge of the products/services being offered.

Customer care and customer support are among the crucial business processes in the travel and hospitality sector

What characteristics should a person dedicated to customer care have?

To offer good customer service, the person should be willing to help others with leadership skills and strong communication and problem-solving skills. They must also have patience with complicated cases and the ability to work in a high-pressure environment since the response time is a key part of good customer service.

Also, technically, the ability to learn how to use the technology software, CRMs, help desk software, and remote support tools/apps as well. Lastly, the person needs a familiarity with our industry, the kind that we have with the Tourism and Hospitality sector.

Could you please explain to us the difference between customer service and customer support?

Customer support is responsible for handling questions, operational issues, comments, and complaints regarding their business/products – it is more of a reactive role.

Customer service is more of a proactive role – it includes these tasks but has the goal to make sure the company provides a positive customer experience by enhancing relationships between them, understanding the particular intricacies of each region, for example.

What trends are generating better results in customer service?

Since the pandemics, an easy, fast, and online service has been indispensable. Phone calls are being used less by generations Z and Y, so even more than emails, a faster IM communication channel/online tool for meetings is critical. The communication must be clear, fast, friendly, and non-robotic to be balanced. In an online world, one must not be wordy since the aim is to simplify the process in the answers, facilitating customer queries.

Could you share some tips to improve customer service?

I believe that the essential role, in addition to a good technical knowledge of the systems and good use of technological tools in our favor, is to know the needs and customs of your market. To understand that each global region has its differences, like Latin America, where contact is much more personal than in Europe, for example. Customer care must take into account these nuances present in each market for cultural reasons, and thus, the solution to clients’ inquiries becomes more hermetic.

Wrapping up

Exceptional customer service is crucial in the travel and hospitality industry, especially during post-pandemic times. Delighting your customers with next-level customer service in times when information changes quickly can help them feel safe and make your brand look trustworthy. 

Some of the best customer service practices include easy and fast online service, friendly and clear communication, and customized service with cultural differences in mind.

  • Hotelmize is an AI-driven Travel-tech startup company that allows travel companies to increase their hotel bookings’ profits by more than 35%, optimizing their purchasing rates post-booking in a fully automated procedure.Hotelmize monitors and processes millions of bookings and billions of US$ value each year.

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