Moving up to 500 people a day to and from New Zealand’s picturesque Tongariro Alpine Crossing generates a massive amount of emails and telephone calls from customers.
It was difficult to keep up with the volume of enquiries, and Tongariro Crossing Shuttles (TCS) owner, Andrea Messenger knew that unanswered phone calls and emails were costing bookings and impacting badly on customers’ experience of their service.
Importantly, she observed that many enquiries originated in the Northern hemisphere when their team were fast asleep, so there was no way the traditional customer service model was going to work.
Andrea had a lightbulb moment at a travel industry conference where a speaker was talking about the power of artificially intelligent chatbots to streamline customer service.
“I knew straight away that that’s what we needed,” says Andrea.
A bit of research, and recommendation from a colleague led her to the New Zealand designed and built Yonder chatbot, which features both automated responses and live chat capability.
500+ conversations per month in busy summer period
“Yonder has exceeded all of our expectations, especially around the time saved.
“Last month alone, Yonder saved us around 37 hours of staff time. That’s almost a week’s worth of time for one team member freed up to focus on other things!”
And that’s just the start: in the first six months of operation, TCS has saved a whopping five weeks of staff time (189 hours).
On top of that, there are up to 147 click throughs to the booking system each month in the busy summer period.
TCS offers several different shuttle services, each with various pick-up and drop off locations and departure times. The AI chatbot manages this complexity with ease, and is trained to help customers find the right option for their needs. It is these automated responses, tailored to TCS products, that is delivering the most powerful results.
Up to 75 percent of incoming enquiries are dealt with end-to-end by the chatbot with no staff intervention. And that’s not even the best bit (even though it is great) reckons Andrea.
Up to 75 percent of incoming enquiries are dealt with end-to-end by the chatbot
“We set out to provide better customer service, and to better support international enquirers when they were in the research phase of planning their trip. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
“The automated responses are worth their weight in gold for us, and are by far the feature we get the most value from,” says Andrea.
Now routine questions don’t have to wait until the next day for a response: real-time answers to those asking about bookings, checking departure times, pick-up locations and what the weather is up to, are available instantly.
Andrea was surprised at how affordable Yonder was, saying that TCS has been able to realise a return on their investment quickly.
“It was money worth spending for the results we’ve achieved. We couldn’t be happier.”
The chatbot was super-easy to set up on their website, and doing business with Yonder has been easy as well, according to Andrea.
“I wholly recommend Yonder. It’s a great solution at a great price. It’s been a wonderful addition to our customer service team.”
Tongariro Crossing Shuttles helps some of the estimated 125,000 hikers that visit New Zealand’s iconic Tongariro Alpine Crossing get the most out of their visit. Their comprehensive range of shuttle services from National Park Village to the Alpine National Park transport thousands of visitors each year.