Eptica Reduces Haven’s Inbound Contact Giving Its Contact Centre A Break Of Its Own
Haven Increases Sales 5% and Reduces Inbound Contact 46% with Eptica’s Web Customer Service Software
Haven, the leading provider of UK family holidays and short breaks, has opted to deploy Web Customer Service software from Eptica, provider of multichannel customer interaction software, as a means of effectively managing inbound contact to its contact centre and optimising the customer’s online experience. Subsequently, Haven has reduced the volume of inbound emails by 46 per cent and cut email handling times by 40 per cent. In just four months, Haven’s strategy of diverting routine questions online and redeploying support staff to respond to holiday enquiries has increased its sales 5%.
Haven has been one of the most prominent figures in the UK holiday market for the last 40 years and currently has 35 award-winning UK family Holiday Parks nationwide. As a result of more and more consumers wanting to holiday in the UK, Haven has experienced a huge increase in traffic to its website and consequently inbound enquiries to its contact centre.
Haven wanted to offer the best possible guest experience from the first point of contact and as such deployed Eptica’s Email Management software at the end of December 2009 and Self-Service in January 2010, with the results from both being immediately evident. Eptica’s self-service offers a refreshingly easy to navigate and intuitive customer help experience which answers the majority of customers’ routine questions automatically online, to date only 4.8% of Web self-service users escalate to email. From the time Epticas Self-service was implemented through to the end of April 2010, Haven’s contact centre received just 12,000 email enquiries compared to 24,000 for the same period the previous year despite, increasing its sales.
By also utilising Eptica’s self-learning knowledge base, which automatically analyses the text of inbound emails and offers agents a ‘best response’ to answer them, incoming emails are processed more efficiently, cutting response times down from two minutes thirty seconds to just one minute forty seconds.
As a result of the reduced contact and decreased handling times, Haven has been able to redeploy agents from the Internet customer service team into the sales team which has reduced customer service costs and achieved an increase in contact centre conversion of calls to sales by 5%.
Sean Power, Sales Manager at Haven Holidays commented: “Prior to Eptica our agents were handling a high volume of routine, frequently asked questions that were hindering our sales conversions. Due to Eptica successfully answering these questions on our website, we’ve improved customer experience, reduced inbound emails by 46% and our agents are consequently able to spend more time helping customers pick the best holiday option for them which in turn has increased our sales conversion rates by 5%."
Haven has 4 core contact centre teams, a dedicated holiday advisor team of over 65 agents, customer care which comprises of 25 agents, guest relations which comprises four agents and finally an internet team that comprises of two and a half agents, down from six last year. Furthermore, during the summer months Haven has traditionally had to increase its number of agents by 10 to 12 per cent to cope with the volume of enquiries, an additional expense they will be able to avoid this year.
Sean continued: “During one of our peak periods last year we were receiving one call or email for every three bookings. Considering we can book up to 15,000 holidays a week, that is a lot of inbound contact to deal with. Using self-service to reduce that by 46 per cent has not only enabled us to dramatically decrease our handling times, it improves the online customer experience. Our customers can now easily find the answer to straightforward questions on our website without always having to make direct contact.”
The importance of reduced handling times and inbound contact can be highlighted further through the fact that during peak times – such as school and bank holidays – 60 per cent of bookings are made less than two weeks before departure, including an average of 350 bookings for next day departure and 300 actually on the day.
Indeed, booking a holiday can at times be a stressful experience but Haven continually strive to ensure that the whole journey, beginning to end, is as smooth and trouble free as possible.
Sean continued: “When we first decided to deploy online customer service, we wanted to create the same customer experience online as that when speaking to an agent and Eptica has seamlessly allowed us to do just this. We did look at a number of options but Eptica’s proven technology, approach, delivery and ease of use was unmatched.”
Haven’s agents adapted to the software instantaneously. Two of Haven’s customer service managers attended a two day supervisors course, hosted by Eptica, before relaying the information to the agents in a half day session. “One agent that couldn’t attend even picked up how to use the technology in two hours.” Sean added.
Dee Roche, European Marketing Manager for Eptica, commented: “The purpose of web based customer service software is to improve online customer experience and reduce the strain placed upon contact centres and if it’s overly complicated it only serves to do the opposite. Eptica’s Web Customer Service software is extremely easy to use, quick to deploy and delivers impressive results immediately.”
Eptica’s Multi-channel Customer Interaction Management software enables website and customer service channels to work together to improve quality of service, resolve enquiries faster, reduce costs and maximize every sales opportunity.
Eptica is based in the UK, France, Spain and Singapore and operates worldwide through its network of partners. Eptica was awarded the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA in 2009 for the third consecutive year.