Category: Travel & Hospitality


Category: Travel & Hospitality
West Corporation

Posted on June 29, 2016 by West Corporation 


Cooking up Customer Loyalty

Picture this: you’re just getting home from a tasty meal at the pizza joint your friend has been pestering you to check out. The food was of high quality, the customer service was friendly and the entire experience came at a good value. Overall, you are a satisfied customer.

Unfortunately for the pizza shop, your satisfaction never materializes into loyalty. It was kind of a far drive, and honestly, you already have your go-to spot. Your split decision to likely never return is a prime example of the fact that customer satisfaction does not equal customer loyalty. Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on June 20, 2016 by West Corporation 


The Unique Recipe for a Connected Customer Experience

Dan Gordon, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Development at West tackles the most common customer experience shortcomings for brands in a recent guest blog for Loyalty360:

While many enterprises within these sectors have established multiple channels for customer interaction, far fewer have taken the necessary step of ensuring cross-channel and cross-functional visibility. By failing to integrate platforms, applications, and services in a comprehensive communication ecosystem, these industries deny their customers a seamless experience and, instead, risk burdening them with redundancy

Gordon highlights three big moves organizations can make to address this struggle:

  1. Evaluate where you are and where you want to be
  2. Identify gaps in communication between the two
  3. Prioritize next steps based on mutual value to the brand and customers

Click here to read the full article and dive into each step.

West Corporation

Posted on March 17, 2016 by West Corporation 


Frost & Sullivan Awards West for Proactive Notifications Product Leadership

West is a proud recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 North American Product Leadership Award in the Contact Center Outsourcing IndustryFrost & Sullivan AwardIn the wake of customers’ ever-increasing demand for self-service, mobility and an overall-outstanding customer experience, we are privileged to help brands deliver leading communication technology and winning engagement strategies.

Frost & Sullivan recognized West for innovative multi-channel notifications/alert solutions, clear commitment to building lasting partnerships, and accelerated client growth over the past two years. View the press release here.

They graded West’s overall performance based on a wide variety of criteria such as reliability, performance, design and positioning. West scored an overall rating of 9.00, with the closest competitor trailing at 7.75. Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on February 12, 2016 by West Corporation 


Roses are Red, the PC is Through?

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The time of year that masses of eligible singles sit at home with pints of ice cream on-hand, scrolling through nauseatingly romantic pictures in their Facebook and Instagram feeds. With each refresh comes a feeling of satisfied envy. Satisfied being the key word.

Not long ago, such Internet scrolling transitioned from mouse wheel to persistent thumb. Robert Cringley recently posted an article detailing this evolution and why a computer in our pocket trumps one at a desk.

Sitting at a desktop with Ben and Jerry’s just doesn’t paint the same picture of self-pity as a mobile device, a couch and Sleepless in Seattle in the background. It’s strangely satisfying self-pity because it’s where we want it and how we want it.

Our mobile devices are part of us; when we wear our hearts on our sleeves, smartphones are waiting in our palms to pick up the pieces. Like a best friend, they are there at all hours, ready to swoop in wherever help’s needed.

When the couch gets monotonous and a private Valentine’s Day getaway is in order, companies in every industry are fueling the peoples’ demand for mobility by: Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on January 22, 2016 by West Corporation 


Is Your IVR Out of Shape?

Voice self-service is a lynchpin for most companies’ customer service roadmaps. Optimization strategy can make it exceptional. Having seen the retail industry’s customer service influence across all verticals, we at West have witnessed the importance of evolution firsthand.

The consumer-driven world in which we live has spread the demand for accurate, immediate care when it comes to anything from pizza delivery, to air travel and even to choosing an insurance provider. Retail has set a standard that companies in every industry are being challenged to exceed.

While few would venture to argue against the need to drive an individualized customer experience, it is all-too-easy for brands to neglect helping voice solutions grow beyond their infancy stage.

Yes, we need to create a customer experience that evolves with our customer’s needs. But how does a company shift beyond stating the obvious to moving toward a more finite means of accomplishing customer satisfaction? Read More >

West Corporation

Posted on October 28, 2013 by West Corporation 


The Joys of Travel

Travel seemed so glamorous when I first started working. The chance to leave town for a couple of days, see a client or two and enjoy the time away from the office. “And wouldn’t international travel be even better?” I thought. Flying halfway around the globe to visit a client in another country. That would be cool.

I have been fortunate, or unfortunate depending on your view, to have this opportunity. Not long ago, I had a chance to go to the Philippines. I flew roughly 30 hours, one way, for a four-hour meeting, only to fly home the next day. Uh, maybe not so sexy.

After being cramped up on a plane in a coach seat for roughly 60 hours back and forth, I tried to use my credit card in the San Francisco airport, only to have it denied. I had no food or water in my travel case, hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, and was fairly miserable after being up for more than 24 hours. When I landed in Chicago, I called the bank to find out why my credit card would not work.

My experience went something like this: I called the bank’s 800 number, and listened to the IVR for 30 seconds as I walked through O’Hare carrying my bag and briefcase. “How can I help you?” the IVR asked.  Since I knew the IVR would not understand, “Make my card work!” I navigated the IVR, input my card number, gave the IVR my name — all of the usual information to identify me as a cardholder, only to find out the IVR couldn’t help me.

Because I am in the call center business, I said, “agent,” trying to effectively bypass the remaining the IVR prompts and applications. If you have never traveled through O’Hare, just let me tell you it is not the quietest place in the world. I found myself yelling, “AGENT!” at my phone as travelers looked at me.

When that didn’t work, I hit “0” a bunch of times … maybe 50. Or it felt that way.

After this mess, I finally landed with an agent. Her first question was, “Can I have your card number?” You gotta be kidding me. I just spent five minutes in the IVR giving it to the automated system. The IVR didn’t collect and pass that information to the agent, and subsequently the agent didn’t recognize me, even though I had a credit card, mortgage, savings account and investments with the bank.

After giving the agent all of the information I had just provided to the IVR, she proceeded to tell me that since I had not told the bank that I would be traveling internationally, they canceled my credit card. No warning. No text message. No phone call asking if I was out of the country using the card. No email to either my work account or home account. Nope. They just canceled it. And by the way, for my convenience, they would issue me a new one. In 10 days. 10 DAYS!? Really?

I found myself in a heated discussion with the agent about the available technology for the bank to call me, text me or email me immediately about suspected fraud. None of this widely available technology was being used by the bank. Ugh.

One last thing: I had no idea how I was going to get my car out of the parking garage without a credit card.

Needless to say, this experience caused quite a bit of friction between the bank and me. It could have been avoided. The bank could have reduced my frustration (and likely many others) had it tracked various customer journeys and implemented various technologies that enable data to transverse the various IVR, Web and agent channels and applications.

I am no longer a multiple account holder at that particular bank. And I wonder how many other people the bank has lost due to its inability to leverage technology that persists data across channels and applications across its customers’ journeys.

West Corporation

Posted on August 19, 2013 by West Corporation 


Exercise Communication Strategies When Bad Things Happen

Recently while returning from vacation, I spent way too much time waiting in a long line filled with grumbling airline customers — myself included. As my wait grew past 90 minutes, I distracted myself by playing the mental game of how the airline could improve the situation. Since this was a delay caused by weather, it really wasn’t the fault of the airline. However, in my opinion, they could have scored points with dissatisfied and angry customers with better communication. Communication is often the most important factor when bad things happen to relatively good companies. When communication is handled well, it can be the differentiator in how a customer remembers the event.

In my opinion, a well-executed incident communication plan has five fundamental elements:

1.       Acknowledge and reassure.
Don’t shy away from communication because you don’t have all the details at first.  Let the customer know as quickly as possible what you do know and what you are doing about it. Reassure them that the right people are engaged and resolution is their top priority

2.       Establish expectations.
Some customers only want updates when a situation is resolved; others prefer updates at a stated frequency. Find out which approach works best for your customers, as that helps them feel in control. Don’t forget to set expectations for your internal groups working toward resolution of the issue. They need to know what update frequency they need to deliver to you.

3.       Keep your word.
Whether you have something new to report or not, meet your commitment to deliver updates. Nothing can turn a situation from bad to worse faster than avoiding conversation simply because you have nothing new to report.

4.       Deliver updates that are simple, easy to understand and honest.
Don’t sugarcoat the situation or bury a customer in lengthy, overly complicated details. If you are still diagnosing the problem, don’t fake it. If you are contemplating various alternatives, share enough of the details if possible so the customer knows that multiple options are being explored to resolve the issue.

5.       Make it right when it’s over.
That may be as simple as an apology and a statement regarding what you are putting in place to avoid the situation in the future. Closing the loop on the situation gives you one last opportunity to differentiate yourself during a challenge.

A customer once said to me in a difficult situation, “I’m not a mushroom. I don’t like being kept in the dark.” That quote has always stuck with me and validates the value of the five-step approach.

So, how did the airline delay turn out? I missed my connecting leg and was offered a flight two days later. So, I took the situation into my own hands and rented a car then drove 10 hours to my final destination. It was not a good travel experience but it was a good reminder to me as a service provider.


West Corporation

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