The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted industries around the world and forced businesses to change many internal and external processes overnight. This is particularly true for the travel industry, which had to cope with massive cancellations at the beginning of the pandemic and continues to face short- and long-term challenges, including keeping customers and employees safe.
We previously highlighted how Flight Centre Travel Group leveraged K2 Cloud to automate the creation of its corporate customers’ “HUB” – its internal tool for storing and managing traveler’s information, preferences and more. But that solution is just one example of how K2 Software has supported the leading travel agency through COVID-19.
Flight Centre also needed to address unprecedented travel cancellations and ensure the safety and health of its customers and employees around the world. Using K2 Cloud, Nick Williams, Head of Digital Workplace at Flight Centre and his team were able to create solutions to these challenges expeditiously — saving the company time and money while improving customer service.
Addressing unprecedented customer cancellations
Due to the pandemic, Flight Centre was inundated with an overwhelming amount of cancellation requests. Setting up a phone line would have strained the company’s resources and made it difficult to track metrics around cancellations. The company needed a simpler way to open up communication between travel consultants and the newly created customer retention team.
“Once the U.S. and Canada closed its borders, we knew we had to come up with a better solution to support our customers’ cancellation inquiries, which could be anything from cruise tours to travel insurance to air tickets,” explained Tara Kimberley, Director of Air Content Distribution at Flight Centre Travel Group, the Americas. “We wanted to channel them through to one centralized expertise-based team that would be armed with all of the supplier policies.”
The team decided on a K2 Cloud-based solution: an internal customer cancellation form. The form allows travel consultants to fill out a form with details of a customer’s request so a member of the retention team can follow up with options based on the supplier’s policies.
The form feeds information back into an internal ticketing system that divvies up tickets and assigns deadlines based on the submission date. This ensures customers will be contacted no matter how much movement there was among teams.
To date, the form has been used over 33,000 times and 26,000 cancellation requests have been processed — achievements Kimberley says would not have been possible without the form.
Additionally, the team gained visibility into the volume of cancellations for a centralized snapshot. This allowed them to determine where resources were needed, the status of funds and supplier relations, turnaround times and more.
Keeping employees and customers safe
When government mandates that shuttered businesses began to lift, Flight Centre started to plan a path forward to reopening in a way that would ensure the safety of its employees and customers.
The company has several large corporate locations spread across multiple markets, as well as customer-facing retail locations, which presented additional challenges to workplace safety. The company needed a way to track who was on its premises at any given time, report incidents and quickly notify anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Carolyn Exelby, Enterprise Risk Manager for Flight Centre in the Americas, brought the challenge to Nick Williams, who was able to quickly design a K2 Cloud app called the “Healthcheck” app.
“It’s designed to be extremely easy for the front-end user because it’s something we want them to do every single day when they come to work,” Exelby explained. “And because we’re in Quebec and Mexico, we designed it to be multilingual, so you could view a French or Spanish version with the touch of a button.”
Since the pandemic is an evolving situation, Williams designed the solution to be flexible. “I have an administrative dashboard that gives me complete control over the questions in all three languages,” Exelby said. “This means that as quarantine restrictions change, I can make adjustments without asking Nick for extra work, which I’m sure he appreciates.”
Should someone at one of FCTG’s locations become exposed to COVID-19, the company will be able to monitor the incident and notify people immediately, preventing illness from spreading.
The disruption to the travel industry brought on by the pandemic is unparalleled in modern times and many businesses were crushed under the weight of a staggering number of cancellations. With help from K2 Software, Flight Centre was not only able to survive, but to thrive — all while improving customer service.
“K2 Software has given us the ability to quickly and swiftly address operational issues,” Kimberley said, “allowing us to focus on the most important piece of our business and the reason we exist: our travelers.”
Read the case study to learn more about how K2 Cloud has supported Flight Centre through COVID-19 and beyond.