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Travelocity's New Traveling Companion
For the rest of the March 2008 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Travelocity's Roaming Gnome will be getting some help from text analytics. In its ads, the Web-based travel agency's whimsical mascot doggedly protects customers' plans. Now a new initiative monitors customer surveys and email, allowing more responsiveness, according to Don Hill, Travelocity's director of customer advocacy. Travelocity gets as many as 30,000 customer satisfaction surveys a month and up to 50,000 emails, along with 500,000 calls to its contact centers and a torrent of online discussion about the company. Much of it's lost: Due to the volume, only some is ever seen--and even less is thoroughly analyzed. The sampling provided insight, but the company wanted more. "We realized we needed to listen very carefully to customer feedback," Hill says. That meant analyzing every communication. The firm chose Attensity, thanks to a flat fee and a solution easily integrated with existing CRM data in Travelocity's Teradata CRM system. "Companies [are] going beyond structured data," says Michelle de Haaff, Attensity's vice president of marketing and products. "If you take the time to do a survey...you expect the company to listen." The system's not yet fully up, but a successful pilot -- live data fed into Attensity's system -- produced solid early results: Now, if a customer emails to complain about a hotel, not only will that be seen by someone who can take action, the hotel in question can be isolated and cross-referenced to see if it's had similar problems in the past. Analytics also revealed people writing in for information about travel deals like the one they just booked -- a marketing opportunity -- or complain- ing about factors out of Travelocity's control (such as weather-delayed flights). "We're finding out new things we didn't think to ask, as well as what we did ask," Hill says.
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