83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase.
That’s right. 83%
That’s a whole lot of customers, innit?
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Travel websites often prioritise page content and focus on UI/UX to attract new clients. While these are important parameters to bring in customers, they aren’t the only aspects that determine visitors’ retention. Prospective customers don’t always know where to get all required information when they visit a travel website. In such cases, they seek support from the company’s end. This includes email and call support.
While email and call support are popular, they don’t hold against having a live-chat feature on your travel website. Not only is live-chat a support system that operates in real time, it is also a much faster and easier way to handle customer queries. And the faster and better your customer support is, the better impression it forms, leading to higher booking chances.
Benefits of having a live chat feature on your travel website:
1. It Humanises the Booking Experience
For customers, booking tours online has always been characterised by the lack of a human element. Unlike a physical outlet, like a tour and travel agency, where a customer’s queries can be answered in person, the online space has little to offer in this regard. When a customer is meandering through your webpage, looking through travel catalogues and tour pages, it can often be an over-whelming experience. There are a lot of choices to go through and sometimes, the lack of support could lead to customers abandoning the website out of sheer frustration/intimidation. Unlike calling or emailing, both of which are time-consuming activities, a live chat support feature ensures that people can receive all the help they need from an employee of an OTA (online travel agency) to ease their worries.
A live chat feature is the closest thing to build trust, answer queries and show that you care about your customer’s want and need.
2. Ensures Real-Time Problem Solving
As a travel website owner, you will always have a few glitches to tackle be it upgrades or regular maintenance. This is a general thumb rule, but it should not affect the way prospects navigate your webpage. For example, let’s say that there is a tour page that doesn’t have the itinerary listed. Or, even worse, a tour with fixed departure dates doesn’t have the corresponding dates listed on the tour page. These are issues that can have a severe impact on user experience.
The thing is, these are all issues that can be solved quickly by a customer service executive with a quick call to the vendor or to the appropriate team. However, few customers would take the effort to reach out through call/email to get these details. Majority of visitors would simply close the webpage and move on to a different travel website. If your website has a live chat feature, you can nudge the customer to simply ask their queries and have them resolved in real-time. Not only does it helps retain them as a visitor but also increases the likelihood of a purchase and consequently, retention of the customer going forward.
3. Convert the Maybe to Yes
When a customer visits a webpage, it isn’t always with the intent of purchasing. Sometimes it’s simply to check different tour options available and compare the prices. If a customer is coming to your website even without the intent of necessarily making a booking, he/ she classifies as a lead and you need to capture it and convert into a happy customer. A live chat feature would help you do that positively.
Let’s say that customers are wandering through your travel website, looking through some tours. They might be hesitant to make a purchase because of high price or tour dates that don’t match with their plans. In such cases, a customer service executive on live chat can simply start a conversation with them to assess their pain points and provide the best way out. If prices are too high, travel agents can suggest a discounted price to the visitor. If departure dates don’t align, the executive can check for the availability of for other dates. For example, if a customer is looking for bike trips to Leh and the travel dates listed aren’t the ones that he/she is comfortable with, the travel representative on live chat can check for other dates and suggest the best possible option to the customer.
Live chat can be used to engage with customers, ask them what they’re looking for, educate them about the experiences your company offers, and prompt them into making a booking. If you resolve the ifs and buts of customers, they won’t have reasons to delay and are more likely to go ahead with the booking.
4. It Saves Money and Time
This is the very reason why apps like WhatsApp and Hike Messenger are so popular: It’s cheaper to chat than to call. Having a dedicated team to get calls from customers is expensive. You have to pay massive amounts to a network operator to maintain a customer service number. Not to mention, answering queries on calls can be limiting because a travel agent can only attend to one customer at a time. On live chat however, a customer service executive can potentially speak to multiple customers at a time. Thus, your company would need to keep lesser number of people while addressing the same number of customers.
Integrating a live-chat feature into your website is quite easy with a travel CMS software. A CMS system like Maco Infotech’s Travel CMS could handle such customer support requirements and provide content and travel operation management for your company’s website, end to end.