Ask anyone who has worked in, or been responsible for a call center before and they will assure you that a call center needs one thing above all others – quality agents who put their customers first. While a great marketing program will deliver qualified callers, a poor experience will deliver dissatisfied callers—a quality agent must be able to service both ends of the spectrum. Add a pandemic and an uncertain travel environment and you begin to realize the value of quality agents who can handle any situation—and you look for ways to streamline, yet expand their capabilities with new, automated tools so they can do more with less and maintain high customer service levels.
At arrivia, our Westgate agents are held to the highest of standards. It’s undeniably true that the world lost the face-to-face connection that comes from working in office almost overnight when the pandemic hit. But, for our Westgate call center agents whose careers are built around quality interactions that are conducted over the phone, our agents didn’t skip a beat with average combined NPS scores of 55.4 (travel industry average is 23.3)—proving they still put customers first no matter what the conditions.
As routine in-office conversations suddenly transformed into virtual webcam meetings and messenger service apps, our management teams teamed up with Westgate leaders to develop fun games, challenges and contests to keep the energy flowing through the teams. And as the travel environment continues to evolve with less volume than in previous years, we continue to work with Westgate in an effort to streamline processes between customer and agent and to develop programs to transform call center marketing automation to “be-ready” when travel demand increases.
We have expanded personalized services to Westgate members to include more communication points, and our agents are now able to connect in the customer’s channel of choice: online, phone, chat or text. We also implemented a new digital program that includes three fundamental changes.
1) a shift to digital automation
2) the implementation of a true “lead-nurturing” strategy
3) the launch of several new operational processes that mitigate errors, establish approval protocols and manage system hygiene audits.
The astonishing results from these significant changes have a profound impact on our ability to service members with ease, mitigate complaints and to increase Westgate’s bottom-line revenue production.
The first change was to digitally automate monthly emails. Instead of blanket emails sent to the entire Westgate member base, automated emails were designed to trigger off a specific member’s milestone, enrollment/expiration date, recent (or lack of) behavior or an operational need to communicate with a consumer. By transitioning Westgate’s email marketing program, we created over 2,300 unique, simultaneously-running trigger emails configured with the backend logic and system intelligence to deploy the right email, to the right member, at the right time. As a result, the strategic automation program was able to save on overhead costs–with the automation humming in the background, generating better quality (and more) inbound calls to the sales teams who are ready.
The second change was to create true customer (member) nurture campaigns. To achieve this, a strategic lifecycle path was established for each Westgate member that included a series of emails with content-rich education, video tutorials and tips on how to utilize their vacation benefits. As a result of these efforts, members now flow through eight key lead-nurture paths that include email series targeting the following phases: welcome, anniversary, benefits/product refreshers, upgrade-eligible opportunities, annual renewal, amnesty/expired, behavioral and post-transactional.
The third change established several new processes that streamlined efficiencies, reduced human and system errors, defined a transparent approval process and managed the customer/member database. This was undoubtedly one of the more complex issues to address because the team had become accustomed to working in an ad-hoc, reactive environment that resulted in mistakes, disorganization and fire drills. To correct this, the entire Westgate email platform was rebuilt from scratch – creating clear organization paths that allowed marketers to navigate and manage over 2,300 trigger campaigns seamlessly.
New system provisions were also implemented, including the “three-touchpoint rule,” a governance feature that prevents a Westgate member from getting more than three emails in a seven-day rolling cycle, ultimately safeguarding customers from receiving too many or contradicting emails based on their actions. This new program ensured that the recipient didn’t feel overwhelmed by or irritated with constantly-bombarding messages.
These programs created new nurture lifecycles and digital automation efforts—introducing enhanced member personalization tools and additional campaigns. Without a doubt, these call center marketing programs transformed the way arrivia and Westgate utilizes digital marketing to deliver phone calls and demonstrates how a solid strategy can affect the bottom line while improving the overall customer service experience.