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14 April 2020 | Blog

Operational communications: Using the right tool for the job

We recently released a short eGuide called The cost of silence: Why travel companies can’t afford to stop communicating during the COVID-19 crisis. In it, we touched on why it’s vital that businesses use the right tool for communicating with passengers during this time, and thought it was worth a bit more detail.

Firstly, it’s important to state that we strongly believe marketing platforms and CRM systems play a vital role in the customer journey – including tracking each interaction with a passenger and keeping brand awareness and positive association high. So that we can keep passengers informed and empowered right from booking all the way through to when they get home, we integrate with more than 100 systems and are adding more to our list all the time – so name one and we have probably built an integration with it. This means we can use information from a wide range of platforms to enable hyper-personalisation within our notifications.

However, while marketing and CRM systems have their place, they are not designed for operational communications. And that’s why we encourage travel companies to consider this while they try to keep passengers informed during the COVID-19 crisis.

Unlike general communications systems, specialist passenger notifications software – like the 15below platform – is designed to meet the distinct nuances of the travel industry to give you unprecedented levels of reliability and deliverability. How often do you get feedback from customers that you didn’t tell them something important when you sent them the information they needed? Perhaps the communication got caught up in a spam filter, the booking was made through a third party so you didn’t have their contact details, or you only had an email address that they barely use? You might think this is the fault of the passenger – after all, you did try. But it’s our view that these excuses are not valid, because there is a better way!

Here’s how the 15below platform helps 50+ travel brands around the world avoid having to use these excuses, and deliver a best-in-class customer communications strategy.

Deliverability

The 15below platform delivers millions of communications every day for our customers, so you can be certain that even when unplanned disruption hits, you will be able to keep all of your passengers informed at incredibly short notice. This prevents unnecessary stress for your customers and for staff in your contact centres and at the airport.

During the COVID-19 crisis, customers like Ryanair, British Airways, the Lufthansa Group and Cathay Pacific have been able to deliver millions of cancellation notifications daily. And because we don’t charge per email, our customers can communicate with their passengers as much as they need to without worrying about what the bill will be at the other end.

Contact details

The 15below platform works hard to track down details for uncontactable passengers. We search through each PNR before validating and, if appropriate, fixing the contact information within it. If this fails, our system searches other platforms – such as the CRM system and loyalty programme – to recover any missing details. You can read more detail in our blog post on how travel companies can obtain more contact details from passengers.

Channels

Research shows that brands that have a truly omnichannel communications strategy enjoy customer retention rates of 89%, while those that rely on single channels only retain 33% of customers on average.

As such, the integration of new channels – such as the most popular social communication platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as well as regional message services – is essential if you want to deliver the level of customer experience that your passengers expect.

If you want to keep your passengers informed and empowered, relying on one-way communication channels like email and SMS is no longer enough. You can read more on this topic in our blog post by our in-house channels expert, Craig Lawes.

Despite having to handle the greatest volume of notifications we’ve ever known, the 15below platform continues to make the lives of airline staff – and passengers – as simple as possible during the COVID-19 crisis.

"From all of us at BA, firstly let me thank you and the wider 15below team for the continuing support during these extraordinary times. We recognise that we and every other carrier in your extended family are communicating with customers like never before, and we couldn't do it without you. So thanks for the continuing support."

Michael O'Hagan
Commercial Operations Manager, British Airways

If you are currently trying to communicate with your passengers with the wrong tool for the job, get in touch to find out how we can get you set up with the 15below platform in as little as three days.