Cleartrip has a simple but powerful vision: to be the online travel agency (OTA) of choice by making booking easy for customers through an intuitive interface and seamless processes. But delivering a superior customer experience goes deeper than just user interface design, and Cleartrip turned to Salesforce to power its journey to greater heights.
The online travel industry in India is growing fast, and is expected to reach US$ 13.6 billion by 2021, accounting for around 43 per cent of the Indian travel sector. Cleartrip, one of the leading OTAs in India and the Middle East, hopes to be the provider that all consumers in the region turn to for their bookings.
The company currently sells over seven million flight tickets and 1.5 million hotel room nights a year. With the average Indian consumer expected to spend almost four per cent of their wallet on travel, Cleartrip hopes to use the industry’s momentum to cruise to even higher growth.
“Our vision is a simple, customer-centric one. To make the travel booking experience extremely simple for customers by offering a clutter-free website that’s fast to load and provides relevant information,” said Sukesh Shetty, Head of Corporate Business, Cleartrip.
From a bumpy journey to a single vision of the customer
Customer needs in the travel sector are voluminous and prolific. The many moving parts around daily ticketing, cancellations, and changes to bookings and payments, make the automation of processes complex. In Cleartrip’s case, this complexity was further compounded by the fact that each of their five offices and call centres used different CRM systems that were not integrated with one another.
“There was no continuity to our processes. A customer would call one location with a query. When the same customer called back a few days later, the call would be assigned to a different agent in a different location who had no view of previous interactions simply because they were working on a different system,” explained Sukritta Loonia, Business Analyst – Business Excellence, Cleartrip.
Lacking a single platform to consolidate all customer interactions, Cleartrip used email as the main method of communication between customer service and operations teams. This resulted in lower efficiency, more errors, and delays in response times.
Additionally, the existing systems lacked the capability to capture all customer data. Customer service and management teams were unable to access potentially useful insights from the limited data and this hindered effective decision-making. “We interact daily with our customers, but our systems were not allowing us to collect and use data from these interactions to add value to our service,” said Loonia.
The company needed a single platform to connect all back-end systems and deliver a better and more seamless experience for both employees and customers. “Our goal was to transform the customer experience. And Salesforce has helped us do just that,” said Shetty.
“Salesforce is a holistic system that offers every feature that you could possibly want. It is agile enough that you can customise it for specific use, and it can easily scale to meet changing needs. Best of all, it is user-friendly and easy to work with. Teams are able to handle more calls than ever before and we are resolving 95 per cent of cases within target deadlines,” informed Loonia.
Agile and easy-to-use technology helps smoothen take-off
Cleartrip deployed Service Cloud to automate and integrate multiple processes on a single platform. “We’re monitoring customer interactions and transactions across all our locations on service cloud,” said Shetty.
Customer service agents – including the voice support, email, and chat support teams – record all customer queries and interactions on Salesforce. They use this data to accurately assign the next steps to specific queues in the back-end. The operations team then uses the available data to fulfil the order or resolve the issue.
Automation has streamlined processes and workflows. The consolidation of all customer interactions and data on Salesforce offers service and operations teams a comprehensive view of all incoming customer queries. This has resulted in many benefits to Cleartrip.
Customer service and operations teams reach new heights of service delivery
Customer service agents are able to offer faster, smarter and more personalised service. “For call centre agents, call handling time is a very important metric, and Salesforce has helped boost their efficiency. Teams are able to handle more calls than ever before and we are now able to resolve 95 per cent of cases within the stipulated SLAs,” said Loonia.
For increased productivity, teams do not rely on email anymore, leading to quicker and more accurate resolution of all customer issues. Additionally, with all systems integrated on a single platform, agents do not have to keep toggling between systems across different locations. A single view of case data and progress helps to make case resolution seamless and quick.
First-call resolution is an important metric to the team as well, and a comprehensive view of customer data has helped resolve 80-85 per cent of customer queries within one call.
Charting a smoother flight path using data and insights
Salesforce is also helping Cleartrip garner insights around customer preferences. “We document customer feedback on Salesforce and this acts as a barometer for customer sentiment, especially when we make a change to our app or website,” said Loonia.
The technology team accesses insights from customer feedback that help them tweak and improve products, services and features to better align with customer preferences.
Shetty added, “We are also able to monitor and track the processes that force the customer to move away from the online module and seek offline support. These insights enable us to rework and improve our self-service offerings.”
And customer insights are also helping the team streamline service delivery. “Data from customer interactions gives us a deeper understanding of their expectations – the kind of SLAs they expect, for instance. We now know that certain issues must be resolved within four hours, whereas others can be sorted out within 24 hours or longer,” pointed out Loonia.
This kind of information is helping the team prioritise case management for more efficient resolution. Cleartrip has already mapped out the next stage of its technological and customer service journey. The company recently acquired Saudi Arabian start-up Flyin and is now working on bringing the latter’s systems onto Salesforce. Cleartrip plans to continue using Salesforce in better and more powerful ways to enable its vision of delivering a superior customer experience while fostering growth across core markets.