July 17, 2012
Toll Free Service Experience
-- On July 1st, the European Commission has revised the existing roaming regulations to set new maximum tariffs and thereby end excessive roaming charges for Europeans on holiday. Whether or not this measure taken by Brussels has been successful still remains to be seen, but it does underline that availability and accessible communication abroad are important topics for the European consumer. A topic companies in the travel industry have to deal with as well. TeleForwarding shows how the use of toll free numbers will help booking sites and travel agencies to improve their own (telephone) availability and thereby distinguish themselves from their competitors.
TeleForwarding, a telecoms company specialized in delivering inbound voice services, wants to show what its services and toll free numbers can mean for companies in several different industries. Therefore, in its articles and social media channels of the next 6 months, the company shall focus on 6 main industries where toll free numbers (can) play an important role. These are: Food & Beverage, Transport & Logistics, Automotive, Healthcare & Pharmacy, Retail and the Travel Industry. TeleForwarding explains how, by making use of national and international toll free numbers, premium rate numbers or geographical phone numbers (http://www.teleforwarding.us/services
), your business creates an infinite availability, improves customer service and ensures that customers will return to your company, for: “The return of customers, is the return on investment”, as TeleForwarding says. In this time of travel and vacation, we first turn to the travel industry. Booking a vacation
Have you ever booked a vacation online? The number of people giving a positive response to this question is quickly increasing. In the travel industry closing transactions via online booking sites has become the rule rather than the exception. At least, so it seems if we look at the large number of online travel agencies currently in existence. Even so, the well-known TUI company has recently indicated that only 1% of their website visitors directly converts, a large number of these visitors wanders off to the competition and 30% of the online visitors will finally book their trip with a physical travel agency. Furthermore, Time Magazine (newsfeed.time.com/
(recently reported a comeback of the ‘brick-and-
mortar’ travel agency in America where currently “bookings via agencies account for one-third of the nation’s $284-billion travel market”. Although both TUI and Time Magazine certainly don’t mean to announce the end of online booking sites, the figures mentioned here do show that personal and direct contact and expert advice are still highly valued by consumers. For this purpose, many companies have a phone number available, however, this number is often hard to find and in Europe, moreover, it is usually a premium rate number, which makes calling this number rather pricy. In other words: online booking sites and travel agencies seem, whether consciously or unconsciously, to want to avoid the direct contact the customer values and thereby miss valuable bookings.
However, if people can freely access a company via internet and e-mail, why do companies not also offer the option to call them for free? Hans Lasonder, CEO of TeleForwarding USA Inc. discusses the issue: “Call centre managers and company owners are probably afraid that toll free phone numbers will result in too many, too expensive calls”, claims Lasonder, “but this is not completely true. First of all, it are not so much the call traffic costs that are high (at least as far as the competitive rates of TeleForwarding - http://www.teleforwarding.us/pricing/quote-calculator
- are concerned, that are dozens of percentages lower than the rates of the national telephone companies), but rather the staff costs. However, although an (inter)national toll free number (http://www.teleforwarding.us/tollfree
) does indeed lead to more phone calls, this does not mean that more staff is needed to answer these calls. Combined with intelligent routing these extra calls can easily be handled by the present staff in the existing call centre.” This means that with only a small investment more customer service can be offered: an investment, moreover, that will quickly result in more profit.
Furthermore, Lasonder regards national toll free or international freephone numbers (00800 numbers) as an addition to existing online contacting options. “When a website provides the right information and e-mail contact requests are handled properly, most people will only telephone a company in case of difficult and more specific questions and problems. This certainly applies for the travel industry, where it is normal to book a trip online.” With a toll free number you, as a company, show that in such cases you are willing to personally answer your customer’s questions and invest in this extra service. Thereby, you make clear that you really are willing to take care of, and care for, your clients; which is exactly what consumers look for, especially when on vacation. A toll free number thus enriches and completes your total service package and enables you to provide your customer with something extra, something that sets you apart from the competition. “In an industry that is very competitive, such as the travel industry, it are the details that make the difference and ensure the return of your customers to your company. A toll free 0800 number is thereby an ideal customer loyalty tool”, says Lasonder.
Besides a normal contact number, most travel agencies (physical or online) also need a number for emergencies. Here too, a toll free number can make a great difference. In this case it is especially the unique, Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN) (http://www.teleforwarding.us/
00800 ), or 00800 number, that is very interesting, most notably for organizations that are present in many different countries and/or have a target group in several countries. A 00800 number is the same in every country and can thereby be communicated to clients as an easily recognizable and international toll free number, for example on your tickets and reservation confirmations. Does your travel agency organize a lot of trips to Asia? Then you can instate an easy to remember 00800 number in every Asian country you are present in. With the help of the online call traffic dashboard (http://www.teleforwarding.us/
dashboard/ ) you can decide when the number should be active in which country and with the help of intelligent routing you ensure that callers from each country are connected to the right call centre or responsible employee. “A 00800 emergency number is the same in any and every country around the world. With a well chosen number sequence, or even a vanity number, a 00800 number is also easy to remember. In case of stress, or when papers are missing, your company is still easy to reach, which will provide the customer with a feeling of safety and security. Again”, Lasonder states, “toll free phone numbers enable you to set yourself apart from your competitors.”
For more information, please check our website at http://www.teleforwarding.us or contact us via the toll free phone number 1 855 444 3210.Next time: "At the destination – the magic of geographical phone numbers.”