Who can forget January 2010? Across the UK, companies closed their doors as blizzards and gridlocked roads forced workers to stay at home. But for cruise specialist retailer Cruise118 it was business as usual.
Thanks to NewVoiceMedia’s contact centre telephony solution ContactWorld, Cruise118’s 30 homeworkers simply logged onto their laptops, opened their web browsers, answered calls, and continued to deliver a first class personalised customer service.
“It was critical that we had no disruption to operations,” says Mal Barritt, Managing Director at Cruise118. “And NewVoiceMedia really delivered. We were able to manage our entire operation remotely. With calls re-routed to their homes, our call agents achieved all service levels and output throughout the company’s peak trading period.”
Formed in 2008, Cruise118 aims to become the leading niche cruise specialist retailer in the rapidly growing cruise market, predicted to grow to 3 million people by volume in 2020, according to The Passenger Shipping Association.
The key to Cruise118’s success lies in providing exceptional service as standard. Hence the concept of a Cruise Concierge – a person who provides the same red carpet treatment a customer would experience on a cruise ship itself, and extends that treatment to the retail experience, from the point of initial enquiry, up to pre-departure, and afterwards on their return home.
Cruise 118’s concierge strategy deliver benefits to the company’s bottom line too. By employing homeworkers the company is able to broaden their recruitment net. They secure staff across all their trading hours, save on office rental costs, and reduce their carbon footprint.
“As a start-up company we wanted to control costs and minimise risks. We wanted to grow quickly with no system barriers to hinder that growth. We also wanted to forge 3rd party relationships and become an exclusive provider of cruises to particular organisations,” adds Mal Barritt.
Cruise118 wanted a contact centre telephony system that would complement the concierge service. They wanted a solution with low start-up and running costs. It had to be scalable to quickly and easily grow, but also scale back to allow for the seasonality of the travel sector. The company also wanted the system to work in any location, and finally it had to integrate with other 3rd party applications.
Cruise118 investigated both in-house and cloud solutions. They decided the cloud solution offered clear advantages to their business: easy to deploy; no requirements for additional IT or infrastructure costs, and no maintenance or upgrade costs.
And how did NewVoiceMedia meet their requirements?
“We researched various providers, and crucially, the NewVoiceMedia system fitted our business strategy, rather than the strategy fitting their system,” says Mal Barritt.
Guarantees low start-up costs
ContactWorld offers a one-stop shop for all Cruise118’s telephony requirements, including skills-based routing to its call agents. The system is “pay as you go,” so Cruise118 avoids the overhead associated with conventional software implementations.
“Implementation is quick too,” says Mal Barritt. “NewVoiceMedia delivered an Application Design workshop at the start, and during the 2-day exercise they worked with us to implement the solution from start to finish.”
Responds quickly to changes in the business
Since going live in May 2008, Cruise118 have begun reaping the rewards. Because the system is scalable, up and down, the company can respond fast to changes in the business. They can make changes to call plans and set up new agents themselves. Agents can change location quickly, and it’s easy to re-route calls.
“We can amend call plans quickly and add new agents whenever we need them,” says Mal Barritt.” We can manage our operation remotely and our agents have the flexibility to work from the office or home.”
Never lose a call, never lose a customer
ContactWorld integrates easily with the company’s CRM system, 3SLive, and screen-popping 360 system so agents get a complete view of a caller’s contact record as soon as the call connects.
“It means we don’t lose calls, because they’re routed to the agent that specialises in what the caller is looking for,” says Mal Barritt. “We can also identify the call by brand, using audio whispers and visual screenpops through integration with our CRM system.”
ContactWorld records all calls, which helps with agent coaching, dispute resolution, and regulatory compliance. And the system also captures voicemails and the telephone number of a caller who hangs up.
With flexible performance management metrics to hand at all times, Cruise118 can also closely monitor their agent activity in real-time, and schedule reporting.
“Cruise is an exciting place to be and we hope to exploit the many opportunities to build a bigger and stronger business,” says Mal Barritt.
“We’ve increased booking conversion by 2% over a 12 -month period, and NVM has helped here in two ways. Firstly, through skills-based routing of calls, enabling us to control which agent particular types of calls go to. Secondly, by us using the call recording archive to assist with the coaching of agents to improve their performance. We’ve reduced customer service costs by 23% year on year as a result of using the call recording archive for dispute resolution purposes.”
In 2009 the company began working with travelsupermarket.com as their exclusive provider of Cruise. And they are in now discussions with other organisations with a view to growing their third-party relationship business.
The company sees organic growth through additional niche cruise brands and has plans in place to add a further two this year, adding to its crop of sailfromuk.com, alaskaonly.com and sixstarcruises.co.uk brand websites.
“We intend to grow with NewVoiceMedia because they are a valued partner and we are excited about their own plans for the future too,” adds Mal Barritt.