How to deliver a service to client in time

Quick email help is a given if time is of the essence. But when all is ASAP, there’s even more to delivering excellent customer support.

The only constant in travel is that it’s always changing, and fast: canceled flights, delayed trains, lost baggage. You want to believe while you’re on the train from Bruges to Belarus that the company you booked with has got your back.


From landslides to missing passports, stolen wallets to missed trains, we’ve seen it all and learned some hard lessons along the way. Here’s what we’ve learned in the travel industry about supporting clients, where every minute counts.


1. Self-service
The new strategic differentiator is self-service client assistance. Customers not only trust goods that make them help themselves, but they also want to solve their own problems more and more.


2. Be there when you are needed

Sure, some intoxicated people mistakenly book a train at midnight on a Monday to the wrong place. Most of the clients, however, are creatures of habit.

Learning what your clients need and when they need it helps you, when it makes the most difference, to prepare human support. Most European trains run during the day, so while our customers are sleeping, there is no point creating a 24/7 remote support team that is online.

3. Auto-reply, then human reply

We’ll try to get back to you in 30 days,” nobody who cares said, ever.” The enemies of time-sensitive help are no-reply email addresses and garbage auto-replies. We’re not going to stand for it, and you shouldn’t either.

In order to let them know they will hear from us within 24 hours, our clients get an auto-reply. But it’s more like three hours on most days.

Companies who struggle to provide the quick email service expected by individuals will find that their consumers are already monitoring them on social media.


4. Don’t wait until you’re asked

Triage, tagging, and saved responses are useful, reliable tools for quickly working through a busy queue. But it’s easier to tease out time-sensitive requests if you have interrupted several discussions before they have even begun.


5. Expect the unexpected

There are some unavoidable things in life: death, taxes, and glitches in your apps. Do not “excuse yourself for the inconvenience.” Repair it. And easily.

You can’t instantly solve every problem, but having a detailed recovery plan for the most popular, time-critical problems will get you back on your feet quicker, and it will stop customers from hitting the panic button.

A significant part of that is inspiring the tech team, making them an extension of support. We have designed a suite of instruments for our most important mistakes so that developers can put things right themselves:

  • Error monitoring that monitors the experience of individual users, giving the team crucial warnings
  • Unambiguous error messages and posts on the sound knowledge base to inform the client
  • A schedule of developers on call so that it is obvious who is responsible during off-hours
  • Internal docs that outline Plan A and Plan B, with saved replies ready to go

While it might sound like a lot, it’s a method that is dialed in and built as quickly as possible to fix a frustrating mistake, as well as relieve any consumer anxiety. It’s a chance to turn a potentially bad scenario into a positive customer experience, done right.

December 31, 2020