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CTC Travel’s Award-winning Customer-Centric Initiatives Double Customer Advocacy Rates

  • First Travel Agency to Receive S-Class Certification
  • New Interactive Customer Service Toolkit for SMEs

1. Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development presented the Singapore Service Class certification to Commonwealth Travel Service Corporation (CTC Travel) today. The first company in the travel services sector to receive the award, CTC Travel hosted a Customer-Centric Initiative (CCI) Learning Journey graced by Minister Lim, Minister for Prime Minister’s Office and Mr Lee Yi Shyan. The travel agency showcased its service initiatives to an audience of service leaders from the travel services, retail and other service-related industries.

2. A new interactive customer service toolkit for SMEs within the service-related sectors was also announced. Developed by SPRING Singapore, the toolkit consists of a self-help portal, equipped with quizzes and simulated service scenarios to provide users with an easy-to-use and engaging learning experience.

3. Faced with multiple challenges such as global uncertainties, rising customer expectations and increasing competition from online travel agencies in recent years, travel agencies have had to differentiate themselves to win over customers. As a result, CTC Travel embarked on a 16-month CCI project in January last year to address service gaps and increase its overall service performance. Since then, it has achieved important service milestones by focusing on its 3Ps – Products, Processes and People.

4. Ms Alicia Seah, Senior Vice President (Marketing & PR) of CTC Travel said, “CCI has transformed our business model from simply offering service transactions to building lasting relationships with our customers. In today’s context of competition and saturation, we have to come up with the right package to reach out to each customer segment. At every touch point, we aim to delight the customers, be it young or old. More than just a travel agency, CTC Travel’s expertise in destination, international faring and our strategic mindsets has allowed us to leverage our strengths to provide the best possible travel options to our customers.”

5. After embarking on CCI, CTC Travel’s service initiatives have led to a 40% reduction in the time taken to resolve a customer’s needs, 33% reduction in time taken to answer phone calls and, impressively, have doubled the agency’s customer advocacy rate, where its customers actively promote CTC Travel’s services to family and friends. These have successfully resulted in shorter waiting time for customers, higher efficiency of staff through better workflow processes and an increased customer loyalty to the company.

Transforming Product – From Destination-based to Experience-based Packages

6. To set itself apart from its competitors, CTC Travel re-strategised its business model to deliver a total customer experience in its tour packages. Its business focus shifted from ticketing to customised packages designed based on group profiles and new customer trends. This includes packages for repeat travellers, private group tours for high net-worth individuals and niche holiday packages for the Muslim market.
 

Transforming Process – Attending to Customer Needs Immediately

7. One key service gap identified from its customer satisfaction surveys and customer focus groups was the service level, efficiency and product knowledge of its hotline staff. To improve the responsiveness of its hotline staff, CTC Travel invested in a new phone system that automatically diverts unanswered phone calls (after three rings) during peak periods to a team of tour administrators. A new database platform which provides tour consultants instant and real-time access to newly-uploaded information, as well as a 24-hour emergency hotline and crisis management team were also implemented.

Transforming People – Developing Brand Ambassadors

8. Another major challenge which CTC travel faced, prevalent within the industry, was the high staff turnover and difficulties in attracting new recruits into the agency. CTC Travel focused on improving the capabilities of its employees through developing a customised training curriculum targeted at all levels. A rebranding and redesigning of job scopes were done which allowed CTC Travel to employ older workers who had retired, and create brand ambassadors for the company.

Accolades

9. The achievements of CTC Travel can be attested by its numerous awards and accolades. This year, CTC Travel was awarded Readers’ Digest Most Trusted Brands 2012 for the “Travel Agent” category. In 2011, CTC Travel garnered the 2011 SUPERBRANDS award with its outstanding and consistent brand performance. It also achieved the ISO 9001 certification in 2010. This certification is testament to CTC Travel’s commitment to its customers through its streamlined and documented operational processes.

10. Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Co-Chairperson of the GEMS Up Committee and NTUC Director (Quality Worklife) commended CTC Travel for leveraging service excellence as a competitive advantage within the sector. He said, “Service is an essential component for the travel agencies. By adding value to their brand, they will generate more business through repeat customers and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. This will give them a competitive edge and provide a foundation for business sustainability in both good and challenging times.”

11. Ms Choy Sauw Kook, Co-Chairperson of the GEMS Up Committee and SPRING Assistant Chief Executive said, “We are encouraged that more travel agencies have embarked on service excellence projects. With rising customer expectations, it is essential for players within the sector to up their game and have more enticing product and service offerings. CTC Travel has been exemplary and shown a high commitment to its staff and processes.”

About the Customer-Centric Initiative (CCI)
The CCI is a multi-agency effort by SPRING Singapore, National Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Institute of Service Excellence at SMU (ISES). The CCI is part of the Go-the-Extra-Mile for Service (GEMS) Up movement to transform Singapore’s service quality in the retail, food and beverage, hospitality, healthcare, transport and travel sectors.

About the Singapore Service Class (S-Class)
The Singapore Service Class (S-Class) is the certification for the business excellence niche standard for service. The niche standard enables organisations to develop their service capabilities to enhance service leadership, service agility, customer delight, and customer experience. Based on the business excellence framework, it covers 6 categories namely, Leadership, Planning, Information, People, Customer and Results.