In recent years, the Internet has transformed the travel
industry and radically changed the way that customers search
for, book and pay for their holidays.
Online options have boosted consumer choice and given today's
holiday-makers instant access, round-the-clock, to a virtually
unlimited number of travel packages and pricing options without
having to step outside their front door.
In addition to promoting healthy competition in the industry,
new buying patterns and a reliance on electronic communication
have increased the requirement for automated technology.
According to Jessica Baker, Operations Analyst at
"As call volumes increased to the Virgin Service Center they
had to find new and smarter ways to handle payment transactions
swiftly and securely.
"At Virgin Holidays, we take client confidentially very
seriously and customers can trust us to keep their data safe
when paying for tickets, weekend breaks or all-inclusive
holidays, online or over the phone. That is why we invested in
the latest Interactive Voice Response (IVR) payment solutions
from Encoded to give the team and their customers complete peace
Smarter and More Cost-effective Payment Option
Virgin Holiday's busy Customer Service Department operates seven
days a week. It is open from 9am-9pm Monday to Friday, from
9am-7pm on Saturday and from 10am-6pm every Sunday. Customer
service representatives handle a wide variety of enquiries
ranging from adding excursions to a booking, making a payment to
requesting an invoice.
Traditionally Service Center agents dealt with payments
themselves recording customer details in a central system. As
the business grew, Virgin Holidays needed a more efficient way
to manage customer payments and reduce the high cost associated
with handling large volumes of credit and debit card payments
manually in the Service Center. The time had come to overhaul
this costly and time-consuming system and replace it with a
fully automated end-to-end payment process.
Security, scalability and ease of use were top priorities for
Virgin Holidays when selecting a new solution and, after
conducting a thorough evaluation of the marketplace, Virgin
Holidays named Encoded, specialists in interactive voice
response and automated payments, as the company's supplier of
choice. Encoded is also Payment Card Industry Data Security
Standard (PCI DSS) compliant.
"The automated payment solution from Encoded offers the high
level of sophistication necessary to authenticate the caller,
inform them of their outstanding balance and accept full or part
payment without the need for agent intervention.
"What is more, the people at Encoded blended well with our own
team and understood our culture perfectly. Fundamentally, they
appreciated our requirement for a user-friendly solution that
reflected Virgin's own unique sense of style."
Automation - Key to Secure Payments
Encoded designed and implemented a totally new customer payment
solution capable of handling large call volumes and enabling
Virgin Holidays customers to self service their payment
requirements at any time from any place. The company built a brand
new framework that could automatically process customer payments
and reconcile important client data in real-time.
Encoded also provided an easy-to-use service that could be
updated by Virgin Holidays remotely, providing the agility and
flexibility need to make changes quickly and cost-effectively.
Furthermore, the new Encoded solution had the power to integrate
seamlessly with Virgin Holidays? multiple corporate systems,
further boosting efficiencies and consistencies across different
parts of the organisation.
Flexibility Boosts Productivity and Planning
Since deploying IVR automated payments Virgin Holidays has
noticed a series of benefits not least the business advantage of
a cost-effective solution with zero impact on the existing
infrastructure and a very positive impact on customer service.
The introduction of Encoded's automated payment functionality
has driven down the number of calls coming into the Service
Center requiring agent assistance therefore reducing costs. It
also means that agents can devote more time to non-payment
related issues, saving time and improving customer service.
Today, customers have 24-hour access to account balance
information that is accurate and complete at all times. They can
also take advantage of the new self-service payment option. An
automated menu guides them through a step-by-step process to
settle their outstanding balance and even spread payments across
multiple cards during a single call.
One of the biggest benefits is the strategic value of Encoded.
"Encoded has been hugely beneficial to workload planning. It
has improved visibility with an instant snapshot of all payment
data from when payments are being made to statistics that help
us identify payment trends. At a glance, we know when to scale
our team up or down which eliminates waiting times, keeps
customers happy and maximises our resources."
Compliance With Latest Standards Boost staff and Customer
Virgin Holidays has been particularly impressed by the high
level of supported provided by Encoded and its constant
commitment to innovation. Most recently, the company has reached
a significant milestone, becoming one of the few IVR providers
in the country to achieve Payment Card Industry Data Security
Standard (PCI DSS) compliance.
"In an age where credit card fraud and identify theft pose a
constant threat to our sense of security, our customers can
trust Virgin Holidays to protect their personal and financial
details. Encoded's tried and test technology guarantees the
highest levels of security and customer service essential in the