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3 Ways Airlines Use Call Forwarding to Increase Sales

I published an article a few weeks back, ranking the top 10 budget airlines in Asia and how to reach them. I noticed a trend amongst best in Asia: 60% of these airlines offer international phone numbers. The trend continues even further to major global airlines like Qatar Airways and American Airlines!

In this post, we take a look at how airlines use call forwarding to increase sales.

examples of how airlines use call forwarding
3 Ways Airlines use Call Forwarding

It can be expensive and complicated to make international calls. Your customers don’t want to dial a long-distance phone number just to book their flight. Instead, they are almost 3x more likely to make free calls.

Due to the industry’s nature, the customer base of any travel company is typically spread across many countries. The AirAsia Group, for example, services affiliates in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thai, India, Japan and the Philippines. (Source: AirAsia Corporate Profile)

Smart airlines provide local phone numbers in their target markets and forward inbound calls internationally. For example, Air Asia offers a local contact number in 15+ countries. This enables their business to maximize its potential in Asia – Pacific markets.

Click here to see how AirAsia makes themselves more accessible to customers, or follow this link to see how Qatar Airways makes themselves more reachable.

3 ways airlines use local numbers as a marketing tool to increase sales:

Call forwarding is a cost-effective marketing tool used by top airlines across the globe to increase sales. Airlines that list local or free phone numbers as a call to action in advertisements are guaranteed to receive more calls. The calls can then be forwarded anywhere in the world.

Here are 3 ways airlines use local numbers as a marketing tool:

  1.        Mobile: booking hotline

A local phone number can be used as a reservations hotline to attract more traffic from any target country. Many airlines offer booking hotlines that direct customer inquiries to call centres or sales offices. 

  1.       Print advertisement: billboards, signs, kiosks

Print advertisements are still very efficient at reaching mobile consumers in 2017. Especially in Asia, airlines advertise their free phone number on public transportation, billboards, kiosks and signs. As you might see in the image, a free phone number is an effective call-to-action. 

Lion Air Sales Desk in Bangkok Thailand
Lion Air Sales Desk in Bangkok Thailand
  1.       B2B sales and customer support

Travel agencies and corporate customers shouldn’t have to pay to call you. A local direct line can have a tremendous impact on B2B sales and customer support. Business contacts prefer a phone number that is easy to call.

Local or toll free contact numbers can be advertised on the website to make an airline more accessible and provide better customer support.

Set up call forwarding in 3 steps:

Global Call Forwarding offers a 15-day free trial to corporate users, so they can test as many as three local or toll-free phone numbers risk-free. Here are 3 steps for airlines to consider when choosing a call forwarding service:

  1.       Identify target markets and view rates

Which countries do most of your passengers come from? Airlines should offer local contact numbers in at least their top 3-5 markets.

  1.        Choose the best call forwarding service provider.

The best providers offer free trials and a money-back guarantee. A call forwarding service provider will package the local/toll free number and forwarding service as one monthly fee.

  1.       Forward incoming calls

Forward incoming calls to any destination in the world – sales offices, call centers, cell phones or business headquarters. The potential is virtually unlimited.

 

Top Call Center Key Performance Indicators to Monitor and Watch for Success

International Call Forwarding Facilitates the Use of Call Centers around the Globe

Many businesses utilize call centers to minimize their customer service expenses. When their customers call a local or toll free number for questions, these calls are frequently forwarded to inbound call centers in other countries. This is accomplished via international call forwarding. Telemarketing, solicitations, and other customer contacts utilize outbound call centers for their calls. These outbound call centers may or may not rely on international call forwarding.

In 1998, Pramod Bhasin opened the first India call center. Since then, business outsourcing services—such as call centers—account for much of India’s economic growth by employing many of India’s educated, English speaking citizens. The India call centers employ several hundred thousand workers.

In recent years, the number of Philippines based call centers has been increasing to the extent that Philippines call centers employ more people than Indian call centers. This is because Filipinos have lightly accented English speech compared to the speech of Indians. Furthermore, many Filipinos are more familiar with American culture since the Philippines was a former US colony. Bangladesh and the West Indies are also active in the call center industry.

International call forwarding has driven the global expansion of the call center industry to countries with English speaking population and low wage structure.

Key Performance Indicators Are Business Specific

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are business specific. Select them wisely by considering the strategic interests of your business. There are four basic areas to consider:

  • Affordability and sustainability of the call center,
  • Maximizing your customers’ experience,
  • Improved business outcomes, and
  • Efficient use of your human resources.

Keep these in mind when selecting the KPIs that you monitor.

Call Center Standard KPIs

The following is a list of call center standard KPIs. The listing order is arbitrary and is not indicative of priority or importance. Your business goal should determine the priority and importance of the KPIs that you track.

Percentage of Calls Blocked

This is the percentage of incoming calls not connected to an agent. Either the agents were busy, or the call center software could not handle the call volume. Blocked calls lead to customer dissatisfaction and possible loss of future business.

Average Time in Queue

This KPI represents the total time callers wait to speak to an agent divided by the total number of calls fielded by the agents. Since customer frustration increases with increasing queue time, this gives the impression that your business has poor customer service.

Average Abandonment Rate

The call abandonment rate is a measure of customer hang-ups before reaching an agent. This has happened to all of us. Customers gravitate to companies that are easy to reach in a timely fashion.

Service Level or Response Time

Service level is the percentage of calls answered within a specified period. Call center managers often set a service level goal such as 90/30 (i.e., 90% of the calls are answered within 30 seconds). Some consider service level to be the most important KPI since customer service and service level are closely related.

Average Speed of Answer

This metric measures the sum of time in the queue and time waiting for the agent to answer their ring. It does not include the time the caller spends working with the interactive voice response system. The metric measures the efficiency and accessibility of the call center team.

Average Handle Time

The average handle time is calculated by adding the agents talk and hold time to the after call work time and dividing this sum by the number of calls handled by the agent. Managers trying to reduce the handle time must be careful in their approach as customer satisfaction could be affected. There are several steps to improve the average handle time:

  • Thorough training of agents,
  • Continuous monitoring of agents’ performance,
  • Recording of calls,
  • Effective coaching of agents,
  • Streamline agent workflow and processes,
  • Optimize call routing,
  • Use a knowledge base,
  • Utilize an internal communication system, and
  • Ensure customer information is current.

Average after Call Work Time

After a call is completed, agents complete tasks such as emails, updating databases, and contacting call center teammates. After call work time encompasses these tasks.

First Call Resolution

First call resolution occurs when a customer’s query is satisfied during their initial call, and follow-up is not necessary. Research suggests that this metric has a greater positive impact on customer satisfaction than any other KPI.

Customer Satisfaction

Companies use customer surveys to measure customer satisfaction.

Occupancy Rate

Occupancy rate measures the total time agents are on calls or completing other work related tasks divided by the total work time.

Agent Absenteeism

Human resource personnel routinely track the days lost from work for all call center employees. Effective call center operations minimize absenteeism.

Agent Turnover Rate

Agent turnover rate is the percentage of agents the quit their employment. Human resource personnel also track this KPI.