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Trends Contactless? Personal? Easy? When it comes to avoiding the window, don’t forget the OG.

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photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Jul 15, 2020

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in SAM‘s every other week Huddle. This round was about a lot of things but the focus was on giving folks a contactless way to buy their tickets. My role was to round everything up and give us a nice summary or conclusion at the end.

As I listened to each panelist and took notes, I started to notice something really interesting. The only two options anyone was talking about when it came to buying tickets were:

  • At the window
  • Online technology

Which surprised me, because if there’s ever a time we shouldn’t forget the other tech – the original tech – it’s now.

Complexity

There’s an interesting thing that happens as the complexity of a resort transaction increases. When you go from, say, selling a lift ticket to selling a lift ticket and rental. Or from just lodging to both a room and a spa treatment. Or all of the above.

As the complexity of a transaction increases, the shopper becomes increasingly likely to pick up the phone and call if given the option.

No matter how clear your policies are, no matter how smooth the shopping experience, every little bit of complexity will lead some extra percentage of people to want to talk to a human to be sure they get it right.

The Data

For example, let’s look at a small sample of resorts who prominently feature a phone number on their website and in their ecommerce store. When given the option, only 15% of folks buying one product type will call. But when they’re buying two different types of products? That number jumps to 36%.

chart showing channel used to place order versus quantity

When you get to even more complex reservations? I’ve seen the number of phone transactions rise well north of 50%.

So what happens to all those potential buyers who lack the confidence to make a purchase online without some help? Yes, some will figure it out anyway. But many won’t.

Remember, the choice isn’t between online and the phone. The choice is between buying and not buying.

Or buy one thing instead of a lot of things.

2020 & Complexity

This becomes increasingly important this year as we introduce a long list of changes to the experience past guests are familiar with.

  • New policies
  • New limits
  • New regulations
  • New products
  • New processes

From the purchasing process to the experience, everything is going to be a little bit trickier – and more complex – than usual.

Listen, we love ecommerce as much as anyone. It’s a huge part of our business. It is THE reason dozens of resorts use our platform. But because we’ve always had a call center application as well, we know just how important those agents remain in an ecommerce world.

And we don’t just talk the talk.

Firsthand Experience

When we started working with Mountain Collective, we also began acting as their call center using our Agentopia system to take orders over the phone. One of the people taking those calls, Jesse George, noticed how important those calls were to a huge number of people.

“The state of uncertainty within the world and our industry is really bringing to light the value of reassurance. We are noticing that the simple act of speaking to a guest and fielding specific questions is allowing them to feel comfort and security as they pursue their respective purchase. Without the ability to call, many of these people would not buy. It’s that simple.”

In other words, as complexity goes up, so does the need of folks who need some help to get it right. If they get help, they’ll buy. If they don’t, they won’t.

Sexy? No. Important? Absolutely.

Some ecommerce platforms love to pooh-pooh call centers because they’re not sexy. Or, more likely, they don’t have a solution for them.

You’ve gotta be really, really careful about that way of thinking.

Yes, push for a contactless experience for your guests. And, yes, make ecommerce a focus of those efforts. But don’t forget the original contactless technology and just how many of your guests – faced with so many new questions and concerns – may just need to pick up the phone and talk to someone.


If you’d like a quick demo of our call center application – Agentopia – use this form to reach out. We’d love to show you how it works.

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