SINGAPORE, Nov. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Trip.com, the global travel agency, recently celebrated its 5th anniversary and to mark the occasion Grace Ding, Head of Trip.com Customer Service, sat down for an interview to share how the customer service teams have adapted to huge changes in order to give the very best in customer experience at all times. From implementing new technologies to always making sure the teams are fully equipped to successfully deliver the best experience, we also take a look at what’s next for Trip.com.
While the last five years have seen the team increase by almost sevenfold around the world, Grace Ding is equally as proud of the expansion of the teams across 19 languages and growing to 12 international locations.
The Edinburgh centre has been a longstanding pillar of Trip.com’s customer service, and has now been in operation for almost five years, enabling Trip.com to deliver exceptional service worldwide. Five years later, the Edinburgh centre’s 5th anniversary celebrations come with continued global expansion – notably the expansion of the Manila service centre.
Grace explains the Manila hub as ‘a great collection of talent, with more than 500 skilled individuals with fantastic passion who are available 24/7 as part of Trip.com’s global team’, and as Trip.com continues to grow, so does the team.
Recognition for these great achievements came in the form of the Best Contact Center of the Year award at the recent Asia Pacific Customer Service Consortium’s, 20th International Customer Relationship Excellence Awards.
Grace went on to express her thanks and explain that for the Customer Service team, this award recognises everybody’s efforts and will only encourage everyone to maintain a high-quality standard and effective delivery time for our global customers.
The Trip.com Team
As Trip.com celebrates its fifth anniversary, Grace reflects on her own history of working in a range of different roles and teams in Trip.com Group over 17 years. She has led the development of Trip.com’s customer service offering as it evolved out of its parent company Trip.com Group.
When asked by new members of the team about what keeps her motivated, Grace explains that it is important to always maintain a wider perspective on whatever role she is in. And when stepping up into new positions to ensure she always has a greater understanding of both the business and the needs of its customers.
‘One important area that makes Trip.com so different is that there is a lot of opportunity to grow,’ Grace explains. ‘Everyone wants to progress and develop their skill set. We always look to promote advisors, spotlighting success to ensure we continue to create great experiences for our customers.’
Creating a great internal culture while meeting the customer’s needs at all times is key across Trip.com, one focus for the team is HEAT – Trip.com’s customer service philosophy.
‘How we work and collaborate is all linked to HEAT, which stands for heartwarming, effortless, active and trustworthy. These four key words give us guidance on how we support the customer in the best way possible.’
As part of the HEAT initiative, Grace explains there are also eight further attributes created from global employee feedback, which are to be obsessed with customer experience, demonstrating integrity and fighting for excellence. It is also to makes actions meaningful, to take accountability, to stay curious, to stay positive and never give up. Finally, the last but not least, one is to embrace diversity.
Grace explains that ‘we have t-shirts with the different attributes on, and for me, at the beginning I chose to stay positive and never give up. But I love to stay curious, so we’re always changing what we’re striving for. At the moment my t-shirt says ‘make actions meaningful’ and I think this may be new favourite!’
While HEAT and the further eight attributes ensure the Trip.com group are always developing and striving to deliver the best possible experience for the customer, there have been many changes in the past five years. For Grace, having the ability to analyse data to inform the teams and to help serve the customers has been incredibly important.
As COVID-19 created an ever-changing situation across the world, the pandemic shifted how most businesses operated almost overnight, and undoubtedly changed how the Trip.com global teams worked together to deliver exceptional service and their customer-first approach.
‘We never expected this to happen, but it was our duty to solve customer queries while ensuring our teams stayed safe. Across multiple time zones and multiple languages, each team worked to support each other, that’s especially true of the great teamwork with the research and development department, and Product teams.’
With higher call volumes and enquiries largely focusing on refunds, changes were happening at speed. We worked around the clock, collaborating with the Research and Development and Product teams to create a new automatic function that allowed customers to have the right technology in place to solve their needs, rolling this functionality out in just three days.
Additionally, Trip.com were also able to introduce a new AI-powered chatbot to help customers. Already in the pipeline before 2020, the process was accelerated to meet growing demand, allowing customers to have their questions answered as quickly as possible during an unsettling and unprecedented time.
Raring for Recovery
As we emerge from the last few years, the Trip.com teams have implemented lessons from the pandemic to ensure their operations and service are at the highest levels possible. For Grace, it is also about developing the teams further, ensuring that each member of the team is empowered to deliver the best service across different cultures and being that travel expert the customer needs.
Explaining how she sees the teams developing, Grace likens them to being ‘bubbles next to each other. How you are going to grow and become a stronger bubble is determined by how your surrounding bubbles can grow too. We will grow by absorbing each other’s strengths, but also by sharing views to not only boost morale but become solutions-focused.’
Additionally, alongside system improvements and functionality, Grace notes that it is important to always ‘be ready’ and to foresee and consider everything from different angles, so that you can try to prepare a solution for any issue.
‘Other than that, it is all about developing talent globally. We can never have great service without talented people. That is so important for our teams.’
Finally, we discover the answer to the big question right now – how are Grace and the customer service teams celebrating the fifth anniversary?
‘We’ll be having a day to celebrate and there will be a larger celebration in Edinburgh as well. We’ll be celebrating as a whole team, that’s for sure!’
We can’t wait to hear more about the celebrations and cheers to the next five years!
Get to Know Arden Atienza, Operation Manager, CS Centre Manila
With a team that has overcome many challenges and quadrupled in just over 15 months, Operations Manager Arden has seen incredible growth and developments at our new Manila centre.
The new centre in the Philippines is focused on taking care of customers from the Global English Market, with Arden serving on the Inbound Flights team. Ensuring they receive excellent service for every flight booked via Trip.com, the new Manila centre is dedicated to giving the same exceptional service to customers as is seen globally with Trip.com.
In the last year, largely driven by the easing of restrictions and opening of borders worldwide, Trip.com’s customers were undoubtedly eager to travel once again. As airlines began to relaunch their most popular routes overseas and international travel was firmly back in people’s minds. This saw inbound calls grow rapidly in a short space of time and the teams prioritising the high standards of customer experience as the enquiries continued.
Arden notes how ‘speed without sacrificing quality’ was key for the teams to effectively serve customers and their needs. As the teams coached and developed new leaders and advisors to meet rising demand, technology such as the new AI chatbot also helped to ensure customer questions were resolved in record time and to the same exceptional levels of service.
With the full revival of travel being seen worldwide, Arden explains the new challenges as the Manila centre receives more customer enquiries.
‘Whether it’s via phone call, chat or email, there is always someone available to assist and the customers’ concerns will be handled to completion efficiently. No matter the challenges, we will work to provide the best service and to resolve our customers’ enquiries.’
As the Manila location grows, Arden explains that it is the magic of teamwork that has helped to not only grow the existing team but also to build new sets of teams who are fully committed to the very best in customer service and excellence.
We know he is looking forward to continuing to grow the team and helping customers around the world, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you, Arden!
Get to Know Ori Richter, EU Operations Manager, CS Centre Edinburgh
One team member who has seen this huge growth first-hand is Ori Richter, EU Operations Manager at the Edinburgh customer care centre. Taking the lead on European customer service, Ori oversees 18 teams who provide round-the-clock support spanning 3 continents and across 12 languages.
Joining the Trip.com team nearly five years ago as a customer service advisor, Ori progressed quickly and now leads European Operations. With a team comprising customer service advisors, team leaders and group leaders, his focus is on enabling great experiences to be delivered to Trip.com customers through world-class training, people management, quality recruitment, workforce management, data analysis and more.
When asked about his own experience at Trip.com, Ori notes that he is most proud of the company’s motto to ‘obsess with customer experience’. Not only describing the mindset of the team, this motto also encompasses how different teams across the business work to drive forward new technologies and guarantee that customers’ needs are always put first.
What’s the best way of measuring the success of this constant improvement? Ori notes that feedback from customers is always encouraged and shared to constantly improve and develop, with his role having direct involvement with the teams to accelerate any necessary and positive changes.
One period that saw exponential growth was during the pandemic, where Trip.com implemented new technologies swiftly to further service customers during a period of extreme uncertainty. Ori describes how the team ‘adapt to an ever-changing situation and ensure our customers would be supported throughout that period with no exception’, with additional support through self-service refunds and the AI chatbot helping to give customers control and assistance during an unsettling time.
The teams worked together to create full guidance and knowledge for advisors around the world, ensuring they could continue to deliver the very best service and support customers round-the-clock in any way possible, whether by phone, email or chat.
As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, Ori notes that his biggest achievement is ‘the level of involvement and engagement I have with my teams, listening to your teams is necessary to understand the operation fully’, which will certainly help as Trip.com continues to expand throughout Europe.