ChallengeKey Travel needed a reliable and flexible communications solution to deliver an omnichannel experience for humanitarian travelers around the world.
SolutionVonage Contact Center
Results100% reliability with zero downtime; flexibility to quickly scale up or down; automated call features that improve efficiency; omnichannel customer experience; technology partner with industry expertise and operational insights.
As the world's largest travel agency focused exclusively on nonprofits, Key Travel helps humanitarian, academic, and faith-based organizations get where they need to go as quickly, safely, and sustainably as possible. With offices in the U.S., Canada, UK, Europe, and Africa, Key Travel books flights, hotels, and transportation all over the world. Customers can also use Key Travel's state-of-the-art digital tools to book cost-effective and eco-friendly travel and to access 24/7 service through the brand-new Global Travel Hub — powered by Vonage Contact Center.
"We need to make sure that we're always delivering the highest quality possible," said Daniel Morris, group IT director for Key Travel. "Our service impacts people's lives. Many of our customers are dealing with poverty-stricken or war-torn regions of the world. When COVID-19 started closing down travel routes, we had doctors, nurses, and scientists who were key to the pandemic response, stranded in parts of the world."
Clear and timely omnichannel communication was the key to getting these folks home safe and providing the exceptional customer experience that Key Travel is known for. To stay connected to the people who rely on its business, Key Travel relies on Vonage.
Communication is key in any business, but it's particularly important for a humanitarian travel agency. Customers need the ability to book trips and accommodations on the fly, and they need to be able to connect with an agent if something goes wrong or their plans change quickly. Because Key Travel's customers travel globally, and their travel agents and supervisors work globally, the organization needed a contact center solution that works from anywhere.
Until recently, Key Travel used a different unified communications system run by a third-party managed service partner. But the technology wasn't always reliable, so in 2018 they started looking for a new vendor. It took 18 months for Morris and his team to narrow the list of 24 potential vendors to one.
"The selection of Vonage was absolutely a core part of our strategy," said Morris. "If we didn't get our selection of a reliable omnichannel communications provider right, the rest of our strategy would have been seriously flawed. Failing our customers means people who save lives cannot get where they need to go. Putting Vonage in place not only allowed us to provide great customer experience, but also made a material difference for our customers and the people they serve."
Flexibility to Scale
Key Travel's old system was outdated, expensive to maintain, and even more expensive to update. Enabling new functionality was typically a six-month project, and even adding new licenses and services was time-consuming and costly.
Vonage provides Key Travel with a range of services and functionality that can be enabled or disabled at a moment's notice.
"That flexibility, particularly in the middle of a crisis like we are now, is invaluable," Morris said. "It's game-changing for the organization because it lets us balance customer demand and the need to scale up with commercial pressures and the need to manage our costs. With Vonage, the flexibility to just switch the capabilities on and off — and to activate and deactivate modules — has given us a wealth of opportunities."
Seamless Omnichannel Experience for Customers
Using Vonage Contact Center, Key Travel agents and customers can connect via phone, video, chat, and SMS. Thanks to native Salesforce integration, the system recognizes customers regardless of how they reach out.
"The range of communications that you need these days as a humanitarian travel provider is vast," said Morris. "You need to have the full multichannel capabilities, and also the ability to deliver an omnichannel customer experience. No matter how that customer reaches you, the experience needs to be seamless across channels. And it needs to be something which is uniquely Key Travel."
Call routing is an essential part of that seamless experience. Because the system recognizes incoming callers, it can route them to an agent with the right expertise who speaks the right language. This was particularly important early on in the pandemic, when agents were racing to get customers on flights before lockdowns began.
"We literally were getting people out on the last flights from certain countries because Vonage let us route callers to agents who can deal with their issues almost immediately and have all the information at their fingertips," Morris said. "And it brought us together as a global organization. No longer were we eight or nine disconnected contact centers. We were one contact center offering a seamless experience."
Automation and Insights That Improve Efficiency
Key Travel prides itself on delivering personalized service, but when customers have a quick question or when call volume spikes, digital tools like interactive voice response (IVR) and callback capability help to efficiently manage queries.
"With IVR, we don't need the customer to wait for an agent to answer a question, and the callback capabilities were vital early in the pandemic — just being able to update our messaging to say, 'Yes, there is a high demand, but we're dealing with your query.' That ability to quickly respond paid back dividends with our customers," Morris said. "Without Vonage service in place, we would have seriously failed our customers."
Artificial intelligence (AI)–based insights from Vonage also helped Key Travel shore up operational inefficiencies. "We had over 150 call plans in place, far too much for an organization of our size. We now have under 20 call plans, which simplifies the whole process. We can ensure agents are cross-trained and serve more than one customer now. Vonage also helped us quickly identify a need for 24/7 capability, and we built that out," said Morris.
"With Vonage, the value is not just day-to-day operational service; it's the data. It's the understanding of how our customers engage with us, which has been game-changing because now we can determine where we're offering great service and where we can improve. As a result, we now have a more comprehensive, more compelling service."
Happy Employees, Healthy Business
Throughout his 15-year career, Morris has deployed plenty of software solutions. Only twice have employees been happy with the new technology from day one.
"The go-live day is usually very tense and angst-driven," Morris explained. "But agents were coming up to me, shaking my hand, and saying, 'This is fantastic. This is amazing. We've been waiting for this for years. We can now actually serve our customers better.' That was unusual. Any technological change usually causes problems. Vonage was a success from day one."
Not only was the go-live day a breeze, but so was the go-home day. When the pandemic first began, Key Travel transitioned more than 600 contact center agents worldwide into remote workers without missing a single customer call. With the cloud-based communication solution, all they needed was an internet connection to access the exact same tools and interface they used every day at work from home. Key Travel's customer experience remained seamless, while agents were safe at home with their families.
An Expert Partner
Morris values Vonage's technology as well as the partnership and industry expertise.
"More than any other vendor we considered, Vonage immediately understood how to set up a contact center that worked with our workflow and how to optimize contact centers to deliver the best customer service. Vonage is the best example I've ever seen of a partner stepping forward, recognizing our business challenges, and doing everything they can to improve the solution. The investment that Vonage was making in their technology was astounding, but more importantly, I knew they had our best interests at heart. They understood we could not have any second of service outage, and they've stood up to that."