Business travel has changed in the past few years, so the way we equip those who provide customer support has had to evolve too.
At Amex GBT Egencia (EgenciaTM), we responded to a major uptick in travel by investing in making our front line support teams stronger - in numbers, in leadership, and by reimagining the ways we trained our world-class travel consultants.
The customer satisfaction metrics have been encouraging. By the end of 2023, customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) have been steadily on the rise. Here’s the low-down on how we created more positive experiences for our customers.
Overcoming challenges and meeting customer needs
“Travel was really tough over the last few years,” says Paul Cowan, Vice President of Global Customer Operations for Egencia. “The good news is, we recovered service levels and are meeting contractual goals and customer expectations.”
But that recovery didn’t come easily. Business travel bounced back faster than anyone anticipated – causing a strain on the entire travel ecosystem in real time. It also accelerated the need for well-trained travel consultants.
Investing in people: Growing the team and enhancing service quality to drive customer satisfaction levels
To tackle these challenges head-on and deliver an exceptional customer experience, Egencia invested heavily in the front-line team. “We’ve hired more than 1,800 people within 12 months,” says Cowan. “We’re pleased to get to where we’re responding quickly to customer feedback, and making sure their travel requirements are met through the service we provide.”
By all accounts, the investment is working. CSAT scores have been rising month after month and the metrics indicate it will continue improving. “We’ve invested - and will continue to invest heavily in our frontline people to make sure they have the tools, knowledge, experience, and support to really give their best.”
Reimagining how we train to support our loyal customers
Training 1,800 new hires in a matter of months is no small task. Especially when the playing field has changed so drastically. This meant Egencia had to reimagine how to equip travel counselors and managers from the ground up.
Erica Trevino manages the service delivery teams in North America and the Asia Pacific region and is also in charge of global operations training. One of the things she and her team discovered in ramping up thousands of travel consultants to increase customer satisfaction? The world and the way people learn has changed.
They found that the existing curricula wasn’t adequate for training new hires in today’s environment. Trevino and her team had to, literally, rewrite the book.
“We invested in rethinking about how we train our travel consultants,” says Trevino. “There are challenges that exist now that didn’t exist in the world - and in the curriculum we had previously.”
This follow up also led them to explore advances in other areas, like learning methodologies, automation and modes of delivery. “We’re modularizing our curriculum and really looking at persona-based learning, and how we can invest in more technology-led learning curriculum,” says Trevino. Manager training is a big focus too. “Strong leaders are what drive strong travel consultant performance.”
The bottom line? Modern business travel necessitates an updated approach to educating, equipping, and supporting the front line and their managers on delivering customer service excellence in today’s world.
All of this is exciting news for Egencia’s customer base on the heels of this significant staffing investment and strategic retooling. As Cowan says, in the years ahead, “satisfied customers can really look forward to achieving service excellence from Egencia.” Whether servicing existing customers, or working with new customers for the first time, we’re confident they’ll feel supported and understand the customer-centric approach that drives our business decisions. We strive for high customer satisfaction, and these investments further solidify this importance.