FindHotel is in a constant mode of learning, and we are once again realizing that the more we learn, the more we need someone to teach us. This time, it’s about providing our customers with the best service possible.
At FindHotel, our mission is to GET EVERY TRAVELLER THE BEST ACCOMMODATION DEAL, WORLDWIDE and we already know that “best” has many elements - the best price, the best place to stay, the best cancellation terms, and more. As we expand our offering from pure meta-search to an intelligent booking platform, we understand that the BEST SERVICE must accompany the BEST DEAL.
The Road to Now
FindHotel started as a simple meta-search - surfacing hotel prices from other online travel websites to visitors who clicked and moved on to book on those websites. Such a short journey, search → compare → leave, has very low friction with visitors and therefore we never had to support them.
Early in 2019, we launched our hotel booking product, originally called “Book on FindHotel”. It was, and is, a fairly simplistic product that allows us to surface even better deals to our users (no longer just visitors). The beginning of 2019 was very interesting for us at FindHotel as we learned more about what users want, need and care about when making a booking. Naturally, our volumes were low, and the primary source of business was meta-search. Nonetheless, we hired a part-time customer support agent to assist in replying to the 3-5 ticket submissions we received daily, even though our booking partners were handling the vast majority of cases.
Our “break” came in the second half of 2019 - a combined effort across the company lead to a massive increase in the bookings on our platform. We soon realized that the increase in bookings also created an increase in the volume and complexity of support inquiries from customers (no longer just users).
We started talking about customers support, following metrics, writing protocols and collaborating more intensively with our partners to provide timely support.
Since then, we’ve hired more agents around the globe to increase our coverage and also to improve our internal knowledge of providing support. We established guidelines and policies and even started tagging tickets to follow trends. Working in collaboration with our partners, we have developed a much deeper understanding of how to best address and resolve customers’ cases. We have an SLA now!
We even started to move to the “big leagues” and adopted a best-in-class helpdesk solution to ensure we are using the right tool for the operational changes and scale we will anticipate for the future.
With all of those efforts, we still feel that, at best, we could rank our service as - reasonable.
We have many challenges to overcome: our coverage and response times need to improve significantly, we have yet to offer phone support - we rely on our partners, our internal knowledge and skills are still in their infancy, and we hacked a somewhat inefficient “back-office” system. (But hey, we managed to increase our online review score from 2.3 to 3.8!)
The fact that we can provide reasonable service in light of those limitations is due to the dedication of our team members on the front line and the understanding across the company that the BEST SERVICE must accompany the BEST DEAL.
From Now Onward
We know that our current level of service is not enough, and we know that the knowledge and skills we currently have at FindHotel are not enough. That is why we embarked on a journey to find a new Champion for our customers.
As we continue to grow and thrive amidst Covid-19, we need -
A champion who can build an operation that will not only deliver adequate service but will also delight and enrich our customers.
A champion who shares our belief that support is a value-generating operation, not a cost centre.
A champion who can control an operation of many agents, complex systems and numerous tickets, but at the same time feel empathy for every single customer that encounters an issue.
That champion should be a seasoned leader of support, that understands what it takes to deliver incredibly excellent service at scale, who is not afraid to roll up their sleeves and who is relentless about getting our customers what they deserve.
If you think you’re up for the challenge, apply on our website or reach out to any of us. We’d love to hear from you.