Excuse Me, Are You Real or Not? Travel Agents, OTAs and the Human Touch.... By Yeoh Siew Hoon Monday, 19th May 2014
Traditional travel agents have always claimed that their one advantage over online players is their level of customer service – that the human touch is still critical to travel transactions.
That is true of course as long as that “human touch” is well trained and knowledgeable but I think that gap is narrowing more and more.
As technology advances, online companies have become better and better at customer service, whether it’s holding your hand through a transaction or getting a refund for your product or answering your questions.
Recently, I decided to subscribe to the Strong VPN service on the recommendation of a friend. I went to their website and within seconds of me clicking in, a customer service window opened and someone named Alex asked if he could help.
I said I was thinking of subscribing and he asked what did I want to do. I liked that he didn’t immediately offer me a list of packages but instead asked what was my reason for subscribing.
I told him I wanted to stream movies and he immediately proposed a package. He told me their customer service was on 24x7 and if I ever needed anything, all I had to do was ask.
After the transaction – yes, I bought the package – it got me wondering was Alex a real person or was he a robotic help desk programmed to handle basic enquiries and if that got too complicated, then a human would take over?
On my second visit to VPN, the customer service was equally impressive. This time, I had more complicated questions and Kristine, the agent, was very patient with me and soon, she and I started having a chat about the challenges of technology – how nothing is never as easy as it sounds.
And she left me a smiley at the end of our chat, and again
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