Orbitz serves as a central online hub allowing worldwide consumers to research, plan and book travel.

Orbitz was launching in 9 months and needed both customer experience design and implementation expertise for inbound and outbound customer interaction infrastructure.

Prior to the website’s successful June 2001 launch, The Customer Group (TCG) was selected by Orbitz management and partners to design, develop and implement the customer service and ticketing operation and infrastructure rapidly and in response to overwhelming sales volume resulting from the large scale size of the website’s launch.

Challenge

The initial challenge was to provide high-quality customer service with a lower cost structure than its competitors, in a hyper-accelerated period of growth and change.

Upon launching the site, Orbitz was overwhelmed by both sales volume and the corresponding contact volumes, each of which significantly exceeded projections. The Customer Group was deployed to assist in the rapid ramp-up of the customer service and ticketing operations.

Solution

The Customer Group was engaged over an 18-month period to assist in the design, development, implementation and oversight of the customer service operations and infrastructure, including identification and contract negotiation with all outsourced component providers. The Customer Group worked with Orbitz to define their technological needs, including telecommunications, customer service and ticketing. The Customer Group rigorously screened vendors who could supply these needs and assisted in the negotiation of contractual arrangements to ensure the optimal cost structure for the service provided. Once vendors were secured, The Customer Group continued to manage their operational performance in order to ensure that Orbitz’s interests and needs were being fulfilled.

The Customer Group also led the internal development of Orbitz’s Traveler Care Center, which monitors flights and proactively notifies customers with flight status updates (on-time, delayed, or canceled status). The Care Center is staffed with former FAA/Air Traffic Control Specialists and other travel experts to provide real-time travel alerts to travelers affected by ATC delay programs, severe weather, or other unanticipated events. A cost analysis was performed to ensure maximum ROI for Orbitz’s investment in the necessary staffing and technology to operationalize the Care Center.

Top Rated Customer Service

The Customer Group remained at Orbitz supporting various customer service and traveler care initiatives, as Orbitz became a formidable player in the online travel market. Shortly after launch, Orbitz was already being recognized as delivering top-rated customer service and remains a leader in the online travel business today.

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