Haven sales up as email burden eases

UK family holiday and short breaks provider Haven has increased sales by 5 per cent while significantly easing the burden of email handling for contact centre staff.

Deploying web customer service software from Eptica, the travel operator has cut the volume of inbound emails by 46 per cent. This has also meant email handling times have been reduced by 40 per cent.

Over the course of four months, Haven has been able to redeploy support staff in its contact centre away from inbound email handling and onto holiday enquiries, leading to a sales increase. Routine questions are now dealt with via the website, offering an intuitive self-service option that allows questions to be answered automatically. Inbound email enquiries have fallen from 24,000 in January to April 2009 to just 12,000 in the same period of 2010.

Sean Power, sales manager at Haven Holidays says: “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 per cent 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 per cent.”

Haven employs 25 agents in its customer care contact centre, but typically increased this during summer months. It has also been able to reduce its internet team from six to two and a half agents.

“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 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,” says Power.

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