The iconic travel operator Thomas Cook is enjoying a new lease of life as an online travel agency, having been bought by former employees. The company is being supported in its new incarnation by the Freshworks solutions Freshdesk. Freshdesk is powering the omnichannel support service that Thomas Cook now offers customers.
The still-loved and trusted brand relaunched in November 2019 and built a website that lets holidaymakers customise their vacation. Since its relaunch amid COVID, the company has rapidly become one of the biggest-selling travel brands again. The customer support team of only 80 people were inundated with questions and struggled to respond promptly. To help address this, the company implemented Freshdesk. This helped to automate many of the processes and enabled the company to fulfil its goal of becoming a virtual; travel buddy to its customer base. The team can now provide a rapid, reliable and trusted service.
Automation was key, and while the platform provided chat and email channels support, it was the chatbot that made a huge difference. Integrated with the Freshworks FAQ module, Thomas Cook can match an initial query with the appropriate knowledge base article. This lightened the load on agents while still allowing customers to access them quickly if the prepared response did not address their initial query.
Simon Johnson, Vice President of Sales and General Manager of the UK and Ireland at Freshworks, commented: “With the rise of international travel, companies like Thomas Cook need to be able to scale efficiently to deal with the sudden increase and range in customer questions. Freshdesk enables support agents to delegate customer queries to be answered automatically, with self-service, or with direct contact in an accelerated way.”
Chatbots make a real difference
The implementation was quick, simple and effective. Support staff in the UK, Netherlands, and Bulgaria went live almost overnight. The implementation was further supported by the support staff having access to the Freshworks Academy, allowing them to learn their new systems before using them. This was at a time convenient to them and, presumably, immediately before the live data, so the training wasn’t forgotten.
Once the chatbot was installed, it collected basic information such as names and email addresses from customers, populating the ticket and ensuring that agents can spend time addressing the real reason for the call.
Hayley Chambers, Head of Customer Operations at Thomas Cook, commented: “The fact that the project was managed with very little resource, and alongside all other work at the time, demonstrated the ease of working with Freshworks. The solution is so easy to use, we were up and running quickly without the additional need for, or cost of an external project team.”
The statistics speak for themselves
- 100s of questions answered by the chatbot
- One automation alone has answered 5,617 tickets
- FAQs have extended from 21 to 99 since the implementation
- Average ticket resolution per agent is up 55.5%
For the service managers, it has also meant greater visibility for the operations. They can now see how many tickets are queued for each type of question. That information helps them rapidly identify whether there is an issue upstream on the website or whether there is a training requirement for specific information. The team also has visibility of these questions, which enables them to self-manage the workload and answer those questions where they have greater expertise.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Thomas Cook is reborn as a modern travel agent using the latest technology to drive customer experience and satisfaction. It is a far cry from the travel agent it once was, but it is building up to be the most loved name in travel.
The deployment by Freshworks shows what can be accomplished by a forward-thinking platform. With a rapidly growing customer base, the challenges at Thomas Cook were significant. Freshworks appears to have risen to the occasion and is now enabling Thomas Cook to scale quickly. Currently, whether the company will extend its channels to other social media is missing. In a few months, it will be interesting to see how Thomas Cook has developed its operation with the support from Freshdesk.