Call Centers - Hospitality

 

Integrating and Enhancing the Call Center Environment:

The Key to Better Customer Service and Cost Reductions

A significant amount of employee training on character-based legacy systems often takes place before a sales reservation agent can begin to be fully productive in a hospitality reservation call center environment. The employee invariably learns the art of navigating a multitude of character-based screens to perform tasks as simple as rescheduling a customer appointment or service activation. Even with training, experienced employees can, and do, make mistakes, which add to the frustration of the customer and employee alike. In addition, the time it takes to navigate these screens also adds to the perceived impact of efficiency by the customer. In addition, agents who are preoccupied with navigating cumbersome character-based screens during their phone interaction with customers cannot spend time to better understand the individual products they sell nor the guests they serve.

Case-in-Point: Holiday Inn Worldwide

Summary: Holiday Inn Worldwide, owned by Bass PLC (UK), operates or franchises more than 2,000 hotels and nearly 370,000 guest rooms in more than 60 countries and territories. Holiday Inn is the world's largest single hotel brand with twice the call volume and gross revenue productivity than that of any other single brand - it is also
the recognized leader in reservation processing.

Integration Challenge

Holiday Inn had a solid, reliable mainframe but needed a new graphical user interface (GUI) to enhance the sales process and reservation productivity. Holiday Inn established two key criteria for the new GUI front end application. First, it would require real-time, read/write access to the Holidex legacy system, and second, the company did not want any TPF programming modifications of the Holidex system.

Solution

Holiday Inn selected MITEM's non-invasive legacy integration engine to improve the reservation sales agents (RSA) workflow by collapsing multiple mainframe screens and complex key sequences into a few graphical forms and easy-to-use icons and buttons. No software was installed on the mainframe and no modifications were made to the Holidex legacy system. MITEM's patented integration engine provided a communications framework that greatly reduced the effort and complexity to build the new composite application for Holiday Inn.

Results

With the new MITEM solution, RSAs no longer have to memorize in excess of 12,000 different three, four, and five-letter command codes. Instead, they learn three screens and practice the art of 'point-and-click.' Turnover of RSAs have decreased dramatically. Because of the GUI, the amount of training time devoted to learning the technology has been cut by more than 60 percent. This newly created 'free time' is now spent helping the agent to better understand the individual products they sell and the guests they serve. The results are dramatic. On average calls take 10 to 20 seconds less and individual confirmation rates have increased by as by much as 5 to 10 percent, and revenue sold per-agent hour paid has increased by as much as 15 to 20 percent.



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