Customer relations specialist, TravelAssist.io recently launched GeniusTravel.io, its personal assistant dedicated to travel agencies. The opportunity to interview Tristan Daube, CEO of the company, to find out his vision of customer relations in the tourism sector.
There are two types of customer relationship approaches today, human -supported chatbots and technology -enhanced human -to -human advisors. Where are you on the side?
We are between the two because we offer a hybrid service. We rely on people who are knowledgeable in their subject, but use technological tools that allow them to be more effective. My axis is always to add man. We are experts in customer relations first and foremost and we support travelers during their stay. We are their safety net.
How do you support travelers in practice?
The traveler will receive an e-mail inviting him or her to download the GeniusTravel application. Once he is connected, he will be able to access all the information relevant to his next trip in the agency universe of which he is a client. The conversation starts the day before departure and the traveler can send a message if there are any questions or problems. This message has become a ticket recognized by our technology. The prioritization of this ticket is determined according to the tags attached to it. We use Pareto’s universal law which states that 20% of factors produce 80% of effects. In other words, we always answer the same questions often. When the traveler misses their flight, there are a series of immediate effects. This is when our concierge team arrives. We can handle most situations and if necessary, when it is necessary to issue a plane ticket for example, we turn to the travel agency.
How big are your mentors?
Our teams have a fairly simple tool. When a concierge processes a ticket, he or she knows where the person in question is located, what time, what time it is there and what frequently asked questions are related to this destination. Technology searches for information as exchanges evolve and evolve thanks to machine learning. The concierge selected several solutions proposed by the machine, validating it for subsequent recommendations. We have a sort of internal Google that allows concierges to answer the most frequently asked questions. We don’t want to replace recipients, but be the traveler’s point of contact. We work in the laboratory of Hubert Curien in Saint Etienne and the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Lyon on all of these topics.
Are tourism professionals new in terms of customer relations?
What bothered me was that everything was done for the crucial moment which was the act of buying, but not during the trip. However, this time we need to be most careful. The traveler doesn’t have to be a hot potato thrown by the different protagonists at each other until the end of the stay. Not all companies call themselves Voyageurs du Monde and there is no way to keep track of everyone who travels. But there is no real interaction between the brand and the traveler today.
In the future, will this customer relationship become more automated?
Technology will improve but it will all be a question of posture. I always believe in the person because a relationship needs to be established between the two interlocutors. If you travel, you want to get out of your comfortable place, but you also want to be peaceful. It’s important to know that you can trust someone. It comes at a cost, of course, but it enhances a brand while reassuring the traveler.