Magazine Article | April 1, 2003

Abandoned Calls Mean Lost Sales

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

Air Jamaica Vacations faced losing $6 million a day due to abandoned calls. IVR (interactive voice response) eliminated that threat, and now bookings are up 50%.

Integrated Solutions, April 2003

A large portion of Air Jamaica Vacations' (Miami) business depends on the phone calls it receives from vacationers calling to book trips to places like Jamaica, Barbados, and Grand Cayman. The company's call volume was always healthy, but managing those calls efficiently was a problem. The company risked losing millions of dollars. So, Air Jamaica Vacations sought a CRM (customer relationship management) solution that would keep customers on the phone.

Air Jamaica Vacations invests a great deal of time and money into the education of its agents so they are better able to assist customers. All agents must travel to research destinations before they ever take a customer's call. Three years ago, if a traveler called to make travel plans, 80% of the time they were transferred to several different agents before reaching the expert agent for their travel destination. During these transfers, customers would often have to repeat the same information to several agents. This process resulted in customer frustration and lost money for Air Jamaica Vacations because of hang-ups. This is a real problem because an average sale for the company is $3,200, and during Air Jamaica Vacations' peak travel season it receives 8,000 calls a day. "For a couple months out of the year, we were losing 25% of incoming calls," explained Senior Vice President of Air Jamaica Vacations Carlisle Vason. "We had generated demand for it and established a brand people wanted, and we just couldn't service the calls." The result was a loss of 2,000 calls a day during peak season. That's a potential loss of $6 million a day 3 months out of the year.

Embracing Updated Technology
Air Jamaica Vacations needed a contact center solution that would enable the company to route calls to the correct agents on the first attempt. Furthermore, the travel company desired to make the time a customer was on hold more enjoyable, or, at least, tolerable enough for the customer to stay on the line. In order to upgrade its legacy PBX (private branch exchange)/ACD (automatic call distribution) systems, the company would have to purchase hardware from a number of vendors.

At this same time, Air Jamaica Vacations was expanding, and it needed a system with more capacity and the ability to grow with the company. This led Air Jamaica Vacations to Concerto Software's ContactPro. "We were happy with our former equipment, but we were at the point where, because of the expansion, we would have to put a lot of money into the PBX system," Vason said. "When we took a closer look, we realized we needed IVR [interactive voice response], a recording mechanism for quality control, and ACD. We had a choice to make - we could put a lot of money into our existing technology, or we could install 21st century technology."

CRM Drives Call Volume, Revenue
Installation of the software was complete in about two weeks, and agents were able to use the software on the final day. The process required Air Jamaica Vacations to rebuild its servers to comply with the ContactPro system.

The company is now able to use IVR, which immediately eliminated the endless call transfer cycle. With this application, customers are directly transferred to a specialized agent. If there is any wait time, the system sends out attention-keepers based on a customer's destination. For example, a customer traveling to Jamaica hears reggae music and facts about the island. "Using ContactPro's IVR application, we are able to determine where the person wants to travel. Then the system's routing application transfers the call to the destination specialist," Vason said. "That's a huge part of our business - just getting the call to the right person in a timely fashion."

With this software, queues can be modified in a matter of seconds. With the click of a mouse, the music, the information, and the messages customers hear can be changed.

Since the installation of the software, Air Jamaica Vacations' call volume has doubled and so have the company's bookings. Before this installation, during peak times of the year callers would wait up to 18 minutes to be assisted. Regardless of the fact that call volume is up, the wait time is now nine minutes.

Air Jamaica Vacations is currently looking into ContactPro's automatic e-mail distribution (AED), fax management, and Web chat.