Director, Customer Experience & Advocacy
When tour firm G Adventures became concerned that its focus on the customer experience was limited to only the booking process and the tour itself, its director of CX, Lyndon File decided to conduct extensive research to achieve a greater understanding of the broader customer journey and challenge its current thinking.
The company ran a series of four internal workshops, consisting of cross-functional members from seven global offices, and hosted customer focus group that surfaced a large amount of feedback in response to targeted questions. The research revealed six stages that customers typically go through on their journey and provided G Adventures with the first steps required to evolve its single-minded focus from inside-out to outside-in and customer-focused.
The work identified areas of the customer journey that were oft-neglected and in need of more attention, in particular the ‘preparing phase’ - the period after purchase but before travel, presenting new opportunities to reimagine how the business could better communicate with the travellers and set up their customers for a more successful and enjoyable experience. Exploratory work was also conducted into what technologies could support the CX, ensuring that before these were implemented the company benchmarked its present KPIs so that it could track the impact of its initiatives on customers and the business.
The result was the roll-out of a series of tools onto the company website to assist travellers with their plans. These included embedding a tool on the site that enabled users to understand if they required a visa to visit their country of choice, to save them having to find and connect with the relevant embassy or consulate. Other functionality was added to help the customer prepare including a currency converter, and user generated content providing tips on customs and behaviour in various destinations. A fun and informative video was also added to provide guidance on packing.
The company embedded a readiness survey into automated communications across the purchase-to-travel journey to gauge how prepared travellers were, which was designed to give G Adventures a picture of how successfully these innovations were preparing its customers for travel. Against a global average benchmark of 80% of travellers identifying themselves as being totally ready for travel 7 days prior to travel, the company saw a bump of 5% of travellers identifying themselves as totally ready. The impact of this has been seen downstream, with customers arriving with better expectations and being better prepared for their experience, resulting in a significant drop in complaints. NPS has also jumped up since the innovations.
Elsewhere, for the travellers who identify as being ' not totally ready' or 'somewhat ready', G Adventures has implemented an outbound call generated by its contact centre to help them become more ready and prepared, which has in turn resulted in an 8% bump in ancillary sales in insurance and pre-tour add-ons.
“After the customer experience work undertaken, our business culture has changed to be one of thinking about the total customer journey. Our thinking was largely inside-out, and is now turning toward outside-in.”