How Thomas Cook has accelerated their CX strategy through VOC




Thomas Cook Group is a multinational holiday company comprised of tour operators, hotels and airlines operating in different countries across Europe and China.

For this case study, the Group Customer Experience Director discusses how they capture the voice of the customer (VoC). She highlights different changes and innovations Thomas Cook have implemented on the back of customer feedback; from their 24-hour promise through to allowing customers to choose their hotel room before arriving in their destination.

Download the agenda for Customer Experience Transformation: Nordics

The evolution of Thomas Cook’s VoC strategy

We started and still do capture feedback within one to two days after customers return from their holiday destination through a customer satisfaction survey. This survey includes detailed questions across the whole customer journey, such as the booking and planning experience, flights and the holiday and hotel experience. We also ask the NPS question in this survey. During the development of our VoC programme, we decided to also survey our customers at additional touch points directly after that specific part of the journey has taken place to allow us to react more quickly to any customer queries.

One of the additional touch-points we launched is the in-destination survey as part of our 24-hour promise service. Once a customer has arrived at their destination, we send a message to ask if everything is as expected or if there’s something we can do to help. If the customer has an issue, we also ask them whether they want to be contacted. In such a case we promise to solve the issue within 24 hours.

 If it cannot be solved within this time, the customer will get a voucher for 25 per cent of the cost of their current holiday to spend on their next one or the opportunity to fly home on the next available flight. With this we make sure that we address any unhappiness right at the start of the holiday to make sure we can do whatever is possible to offer customers an excellent holiday experience.

While only a few vouchers have been given out thus far, our 24-hour promise allows us to be more pro-active and respond immediately to customer feedback. We know it has made a huge difference to customers as the NPS has risen after the implementation of the promise.

Creating cross-market consistency

Thomas Cook operates in 17 markets. We have worked across those markets to align not only on the survey questions but also on the touchpoints where we ask our customers for feedback. This has been a challenge. At the moment some surveys and touch-points are aligned across all markets, and we are slowly implementing feedback at other touchpoints across the rest of the markets. From a group perspective we provide guidance on this for all markets.

We’ve come from a highly fragmented set-up when it comes to technology and questionnaires across the organisation. Two years ago we aligned survey time, touch-point and questions across the group so the insights are usable from a group perspective. To make this happen we conducted many meetings and workshops with the teams responsible for different markets to make sure we fulfilled requirements of each market and from the group perspective.

Just recently we have introduced a new system called InMoment, which is our surveying and analytics tool across the organisation. With this technology we receive real-time feedback from our customers and can act on it very quickly with clear responsibilities across the organisation. This tool has automated text analytics, an automated correlation analysis and makes working with customer feedback much easier than it has been before.

We are able to slice and dice the data on journey parts, destination, hotel and flight route level in order to have insights that are actionable and without any further delay by the respective teams.

Making customer feedback actionable

Three years ago we introduced the net promoter score (NPS) as our main customer KPI. We measure the NPS on holiday company, hotel and airline level. This KPI is also of great relevance for bonus payments.

NPS is at the top of our KPI pyramid and everyone is measured on it. This pyramid is then broken down into more detailed operational KPIs for colleagues in all areas of the customer journey. But they all link back to the overall NPS.

 Over the last three years we have delivered a huge increase on the tour operator NPS. During that time we continuously identified pain points and negative NPS drivers and tried to fix or reduce them by, for example, removing hotels that had a low NPS. Another action on the back of customer feedback has been the launch of the 24-hour promise. With InMoment, our insights will become even more actionable.

See also: The customer experience 30 under 30

 The future of VOC at Thomas Cook

We’re looking to link feedback to our customer database. To do this we’re introducing Microsoft Dynamics as our main CRM system alongside InMoment to be able to capture customer information about an individual. With this we are able to service our customers much more exclusively and in a customised manner, be it in person or on the web.

With this, we will lay the foundation to introduce the technology across the group and may hopefully say goodbye to a fragmented system landscape. It’s a roadmap of two to three years that we’ve currently launched to a small part of the business.

Download the full report: Market report: Capturing feedback for a 360° customer view