How to Offer a Frictionless Customer Experience

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June 16, 2022

6 min read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

A Guide to Frictionless Customer Experiences

Delivering an exceptional customer experience gives you delighted and loyal customers. And these happy customers will be excited to share good words about your tours and activities with their friends and families, driving higher conversions.

End-to-end experience is key to a customer journey, especially in today’s digital world.  Customers interact with many other online services and eCommerce sites daily, and they have set some high expectations regarding customer service.  

By now, you may know the importance of keeping a user-friendly website for your guests, who expect the site to perform the same way as all other eCommerce websites.

A mobile responsive, easy-to-navigate website is a great start. But, what else do you need to provide your guests with a remarkable customer experience? What do you have to do to keep up with the customer expectations and deliver guest satisfaction? Here are some tips.

Booking in a Few Clicks

Your customers spend a lot of time shopping online and enjoy the seamless checkout experiences those sites offer. They check for availability, add products to the cart, and make payments—everything in a few clicks. 

When they come to your website to book a tour or activity, they expect the same seamless experience.  Make it easier to find and choose available tours and activities on the website. Your ‘Book Now’ button should be visible to your website visitors on every page. Keep in mind that your guests may have researched your tours through blogs, DMO marketing, or even OTAs so when they come to your website, make sure your call to action buttons are visible throughout your website.

Customers are with different buying intentions. Some travellers might be looking for a specific activity for a particular day, while others in-destination travellers might be looking for any available activity for that day. Make it easy for them to browse tours and activities. 

For example, giving them a calendar view of tours available on a specific date makes a big difference. Instead of clicking through individual tours to check availability only to find that it’s sold out or not at a convenient time, a calendar view gives them a quick glance at availability. 

Here is an example from the Prince of Whales booking page, where the availability of different tours can be viewed with a single click on a date.

Calendar view of activies on Prince of Whales website powered by Zaui online booking system

Again, do not make the booking process lengthy. Always remember that the checkout experience can make or break your conversion rate. By the time one of your site visitors clicks a “book now” button, they are usually ready to buy, so speed-of-transaction is very important.

Instant response 

What’s one common characteristic of today’s customers? Digital impatience! (well, that’s true for most of us)!

The digital age has made access to information effortless. That’s why your guests turn to your website or social to get their queries answered quickly. 

Social media has now become a channel for customer care for your customers, so be quick to respond on social platforms. Sprout Social’s annual report on the top trends in social media says that consumers expect a response from the brands within 24 hours on social. When they don’t get a quick response, 36% of consumers will share that negative experience with friends and family, and another 31% won’t complete the purchase, and some will buy from a competitor. 

Set up an AI chatbot on your website to provide immediate customer service support and enhance customer experience.  AI chatbots on your website can answer questions from customers. Customers don’t have to go through the time-consuming calls or emails back and forth. 

Of course, there are different opinions on AI chatbots. Some of you may not be a great fan of chatbots. But that doesn’t mean that your customers hate it. 

We can give you an AI chatbot success story from ZipTrek Ecotours, a leading zipline tour provider based in Queenstown, New Zealand and a Zaui customer. They integrated their website and Zaui online booking system with Yonder, a marketing platform that includes an AI ChatBot. Zippy, its AI Chatbot, helps Zip Trek customers 24/7 by answering their queries about weight restrictions, the minimum age required, and cancellation policy, and can even lead customers directly to a booking page where they can finalize their reservation. ZipTrek testifies that Zippy increases conversion rates by helping people with their queries and guiding them to book. 

Payment Options

It is critical for tour and travel businesses to have a more effortless and smoother payment process for their customers. Besides enriching guest satisfaction, simple and seamless payment systems enforce trust and brand loyalty among customers.

Travel businesses are, in fact, no different from international businesses, where customers from all parts of the world make transactions in foreign currencies. You should offer an innovative, easy-to-use customer interface with the same flexibility and convenience they experience in eCommerce. Any glitches in the payment system may force them to abandon the booking process.

A traveller using the payment gateway offered by a tour operator to book their tours and activities online

A robust gateway platform can streamline purchases, provide flawless checkout processes on all devices, and accept various payments, such as credit cards, debit cards, and digital payments. 

With a proper payment gateway in place, your staff doesn’t have to worry about currency transactions, which is not their area of expertise. Instead, they can do what they do best—guest services. And that is of paramount importance to get repeat customers and referrals.

Here is a good read if you are looking for more information on payment gateways. A Guide to Payment Gateways for Tour Operators.

Digital Waivers

Do you ask your guests to sign paper waivers at the last minute when they are pumped up for their activity? Reading through liability waivers, filling in details and signing them when they are excitedly waiting for an experience is a total buzzkill!

The long waiting line caused by the last-minute waiver completion process creates an unpleasant check-in process for your guests.

Tour and activity operators can avoid this scenario by switching to easy-to-share digital waivers. The guests can sign electronic waivers during the booking process, or operators can send them via email days, or even hours, before the tour. Guests can read and sign it at home or on the go from their devices. It removes this unnecessary delay in the check-in process. 

Again, digital liability waivers help you keep up with the digital expectations of your tech-savvy guests who prefer ease of use and convenience. Evolving in line with the technology needs of your customers and going paperless makes you stand out from competitors. 

Best of all, you relieve your staff of paperwork hassle and help them focus on delivering a superior guest experience.

Guest Communications

Once customers make a booking with you, keeping them in the loop about anything and everything that happens with their booking is essential. Also, there should be consistency in the message your guests receive. Your front desk and the tour guide should not be sending different answers to customers’ queries.

Here are some guest communications tour and activity operators should send to nurture guest relationships.

📌 Booking Confirmation: Send them a booking confirmation email immediately after they book. The booking confirmation also helps guests and operators ensure that the booking details—guest information, date, time, activity type and location—are accurate.

📌 Cancellation and Refund Policy: Inform them of the cancellation and refund policies. You can add these details along with the booking confirmation email. 

📌 Cart Abandonment: Perhaps a customer got to the checkout page, entered some information, and then abandoned their cart for some reason. As long as they entered their email address, you can now send marketing emails and even suggest discounts to abandoned carts. Through CartStack’s integration with Zaui’s booking engine, you can automate these emails to recover customers who might have left the checkout process before finalizing.

📌Reminder with Preparation Tips: Days before the trip, send them a tour reminder email along with booking details, what to expect on the day and any preparation tips. This email can be a valuable, centralized resource for the guests to refer back to while on the go.

📌 Any schedule change: Keep your guests informed of any disruption, delay, or cancellation.

📌 Pre-arrival Upsells: Perhaps you offer multiple activities that your guest might be interested in. If they already purchased one tour from you, you can create a notification that suggests related activities that might be interesting to them. 

📌 Reviews and Post-Travel Communication: It’s always nice to know how well you are performing, so sending an email after the travel date to check in with the guest and ask for a review of their experience is a great tool to learn valuable insight into your business.

Emails and SMS can be effective tools for guest communications. And the good news? Many of these emails can be automated in an online booking system. 

Thank You Note

An image of a thank you note for travellers.

Send a thank-you note to your guests after the trip is over. It is always appreciated, and it reinforces the bonding with your guests.

Instead of a generic email, personalize it, addressing them directly and mentioning the tours or activities they experienced. It will make them feel valued. You can also think of adding promo codes or special offers to show your gratitude.

💡An online booking system can help you automate thank you emails!

Final Word

A great customer experience builds your reputation, revenue, and referrals—it’s the golden rule that you can’t afford to ignore. Bad experiences always drive customers away. 

One in three consumers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. From the moment they find you online to booking your tours to enjoying the experience, your guests have a baseline expectation. Consistently providing an excellent guest experience with minimum friction can get you more bookings and supercharge your revenue.

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