The BTN interview: RightNow Technologies

The BTN interview: RightNow Technologies

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the latest travel brand to sign up with RightNow in a bid to enhance the level of customer support of their mobile website.

BTN speaks to Ian Tickle, who was recently appointed as vice president, EMEA, RightNow, to find out some of the latest challenges and trends for travel organisations looking to boost their mobile web presence.

BTN: KLM recently announced that they have extended their partnership with RightNow CX to deliver support on their mobile website. What types of functionality and service enhancements can RightNow CX offer?

IT: RightNow CX is a cloud based technology platform that empowers businesses to engage directly with their customers through great social, web and contact centre experiences.

We also support targeted marketing and integrated analytics via RightNow Engage. The technology enhances the customer experience by delivering proactive, highly personalised communications, while providing brands with real-time actionable insights to build loyalty and drive revenue.

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In short, RightNow CX is aimed at supporting superb customer experiences, giving that personal touch to each and every one of our clients’ customers. 

BTN:  What are the benefits of language search technology?

IT: Natural Language works out intent. It is a home page search engine with unparalleled semantic search capabilities to encourage relevant and meaningful search experiences across multiple channels and languages.

As a travel company you can boost ancillary revenue by adding direct links to upgrade pages, so customers can immediately change seat if they feel they don’t have enough leg room and by presenting customers with ‘contextual’ offers. With Intent Guide it’s possible to link the offers presented directly to the customer intent, the can also be personalised.

BTN:  What benefits can RightNow CX bring for the travel & tourism industry?

IT: The travel industry is highly competitive and different holiday providers are just one click away, while resources like Trip Advisor mean that travellers are able to socially share peer-to-peer recommendations, consumers are so highly empowered by the internet that delivering exceptional customer experiences is a business imperative if a company is to secure repeat bookings and recommendations RightNow CX helps support an increase in conversion rates and loyalty by improving the customer experience, as a result we have helped our customers to not only provide a better customer service but also turn ‘lookers to bookers.’

BTN: You have a number of travel clients including BA, Thomas Cook, United Airlines, Lastminute.com/Travelocity, Lufthansa and Trainline.com. Which other sectors of travel & tourism do you hope to tap into?

IT: From my perspective, it’s more about constantly seeking to add value to our existing customers as well as demonstrating our innovation in order to attract new ones. A few years ago we added social to our offering via an acquisition. Among other things, that allows companies to monitor conversations taking place on the social web as well as treat issues raised on places like Twitter and Facebook as service incidents by integrating them with the contact centre.

Intent Guide is another perfect example of how we’re broadening our appeal. By acquiring Q-go in January, we’re able to bring to market yet another genius customer experience application that helps companies fight-the-good-fight of managing services costs while boosting revenue. It’s a great tool for the broad gamut of travel-related organisations out there. Add to that our massive language capability of 33 languages, and we really are the most compelling customer experience option out there – regardless of what industry you operate in.

BTN: Why is it so important for travel companies to have a strong mobile presence? How do you see the mobile technology evolving in coming years?

IT: Mobile is huge. By definition, travellers are mobile and unsurprisingly expect the same service that they get from accessing the travel organisation’s website on their laptop as they do via their Smartphone. According to analyst Gartner, by 2014 more customer transactions will take place on dedicated mobile sites than on regular websites so travelling companies really need to start taking the mobile channel seriously integrating it into their customer care programmes.

BTN: Is the travel & tourism industry fully embracing the world-wide web and mobile technology?

IT: The travel and tourism industry has certainly embraced the world-wide web and is starting to embrace mobile. From the web perspective, some travel companies still have improvements they can make to support the customer experience.  With regards to mobile, travel companies are just starting to use this technology to benefit their customers but there is still a long way to go.

BTN: What are your predictions for social media in coming months?

IT: Social media is extremely important when it comes to customer experience and, as we have seen in the past, it can have a detrimental effect on a brand within a very short period of time. We know that the majority of travel brands understand the importance and are ‘listening’ to their customers on social media sites but there is still a gap when integrating the channel with their customer care strategy. An example would be companies who set up a Facebook page and deal with the interactions on the social media site separately, with RightNow CX for Facebook organisations can offer the same customer care and experience across all channels ensuring a consistent and personal service.

BTN: What are the main priorities for RightNow in the next 12 months?

IT: I joined RightNow earlier this year and my main responsibility is to continue the growth across the EMEA region. As a company we want to continue to empower organisations to provide superb customer experiences via all customer interaction points; including the web, social, phone and mobile.

BTN: What are the main challenges for RightNow in the current climate?

IT: At the moment business is brutal for most industries but the need for companies to operate efficiently is certainly playing to our strengths. There are four main external trends that are driving the importance of the customer experience: The growing empowerment of the customer, the increasing acceptance of cloud-based solutions, the rise in the number of consumer interactions that happen on the internet, social networks and mobile devices; and the wave of contact centre replacements that’s occurring in large enterprises as they recognise their legacy call centre solutions just can’t handle their current needs.

It’s all about the need to use top quality customer experience as a brand differentiator against the competition, which is why brands that are embracing customer experience as a board level issue are turning to RightNow for support.