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Customer service in an on-demand world

Sep 17, 2019

by Chris Knop, Customer Operations Director

 In the current digital landscape, travelers expect customer service to be quick and flexible. They want the ability to make and manage their bookings at their fingertips.

Offering effortless customer experiences saves you time and money, and results in high levels of customer satisfaction.


So why on-demand?

Just consider your own behavior and the world we now live in, we as customers have an expectation that companies are on the web, on mobile, that they’re digital, and that they offer self-service options. If you’re not in this space then it’s hard to survive as a business. Even interacting within our own companies and personal lives, we use chat apps and collaborative ways of communicating like social media. The amount of time we spend actually talk over the phone or email is reducing.

Think of the old song by the rock band Queen in the late 80s, 30 years on their words still ring true, “I want it all and I want it now!” These days we have so many more options. We don’t want to have to wait for anything anymore. Self-service channels provide the ability to access the ‘Now’.


Why provide self-service channels?

Self-service channels are great for customers, and they’re great for companies.

When done correctly, it can drive down cost per contact rates, deflect contacts from more costly voice or offline channels, and optimize resourcing requirements.

It also drives up customer loyalty and satisfaction levels when the experience is effortless.

Even in the offline world, examples like passport security checks and baggage drops, ATMs and fast food chains utilize self-service channels. There are many different types of self-service, and in one way or another, you’re probably already providing it. From online knowledge bases and FAQs to chatbots. These all give travelers the power to find their own answers, to plan their trips and truly customize their own experience. In fact, based on research, 67% of travelers said that they prefer self-service over calling 1. However, this is only effective if it all runs smoothly.

In most cases, if an issue is urgent and the traveler can’t find the answers online, then they’ll resort to calling. But by that stage, frustration may have already set in. So, it is important for businesses to recognize this and ensure that the self-service options you provide are as effortless as possible for travelers.


Achieving effortless customer experience in your service design

How easy is it to do business with your company? A useful method to answer this question is customer journey mapping. Take a step back and look at all your top contact reasons that are handled through your website and call centers. For travel, these can be anything from late check-in, extra bed requests, change of booking date, free amenities etc. Then look at how many touch points it takes to find those kinds of answers and for agents to resolve the issues. Once you’ve got a list of problem statements, you will be able to easily map them out. This will help you get to the root causes and design online service flows and products to resolve them.

To take it a step further, use the concept of ‘kaizen’, the Japanese word for ‘change for better’ or improvement. Test your new processes and ideas to get them off the ground even if they’re not 100% perfect. Then look to learn from the findings and keep improving what’s been implemented.

Effortless experiences are what customers want, simple ways of buying and managing your products that simply meet their needs.

You can also find out how we at EPS provide customer support.


More about customer support