Get insights from the Managing Director and Founder of Travel Support, George Zoet, on what it takes to grow a successful assistance provider network and discover what changes he’s seen in the industry over the past 10 years.
Q1. How does Travel Support achieve its vision?
George: We know that understanding the culture of the country where the traveller needs assistance is vital in providing a consistently reliable service. So, we partner with a wide network of experienced providers and suppliers in the countries in which we operate. This local knowledge and wealth of services allows us to act swiftly and assist people in the best possible way.
Q2. What is important for network providers to have?
George: It has to be an empathic approach towards the people who are in need of assistance. It is such an important quality to have in this industry. Sound experience and in-depth knowledge about the service being offered are also key.
Q3. How do you maintain relationships with the network?
George: Always acting professionally and keeping up-to-date with service providers. Sometimes with a personal call, as this helps maintain strong relationships.
We also follow developments in technology and the industry, and then work with our partners to create the most efficient assistance process. An example of this is now sending cases directly to a partner’s system, rather than by email or phone.
Q4. How do you ensure partners continue to offer a high standard of service?
George: Our operations team are in close contact with clients and partners so they know if service levels aren't up to our usual high standard. If they aren't, we discuss it internally and deal with it promptly.
This close contact also means we're aware of any new services or equipment that our providers can offer. An example of this is when our towing providers updated and improved their towing equipment.
Q5. How does the company manage the assistance process?
George: As soon as we receive a request from a client detailing the situation we act immediately. Our 24/7 operations team are highly experienced in understanding the needs of incoming requests. From what type of assistance is required, which partner can provide it, where to provide it and how to follow-up and close cases.
When new clients come onboard, we work with them to develop the smoothest assistance process and swift follow-up on cases. This includes factors like what information to provide, how much detail to provide and the best types and lines of communication.
It's this knowledge, together with solid communication with clients and providers, that gets the traveller back on track as quickly as possible.
Q6. How do you ensure you’re always available?
George: Our operations centre is open 24/7 all year round. We also have trained staff on stand-by to handle peak periods, such as in the summer months.
Q7. Are your services for European clients only?
George: No. We service clients from everywhere in the world and assist their customers in the countries that we cover. Many of our clients, such as insurance companies or logistics companies, are from both within and outside of Europe.
People may be visiting these countries for several reasons; vacation, study, work, to live, or even pass through as a truck driver. No matter what the circumstance, we understand how daunting it can be to end up in a situation requiring assistance, especially in a foreign country. Which is why we always try to comfort the person and get assistance to them as quickly as possible.
Q8. Have you noticed any significant changes in the industry over the last 10 years?
George: The biggest changes I have seen are mostly based on advancements in technology. For instance, improvements in digitalisation when sending requests over, so files can start faster. Or the requirement to track a fleet so you can get the nearest assistance to the client. Towing companies are also now better equipped and they adapt to the changing needs of the industry, like using specialist material to transport broken down electric cars.
We see all of this as a positive impact because it gets the traveller back on the road again, even quicker than before.
While these technical advancements bring great benefits, a personal approach is still highly appreciated. Something we feel is reflected in the positive feedback we receive from clients and the resulting increased demand for our assistance services.
Q9. Has there been any significant changes during the pandemic?
George: It’s no secret that the number of people travelling went down. But we didn’t actually see any impact on our transport cases. Especially cases relating to haulage vehicles, such as trucks used for deliveries. It’s unclear if this is an effect of Covid-19. It certainly feels like it is as online sales were higher than ever in 2020. Which meant more deliveries by road.
Q10. Do you think the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the industry?
George: Business travel may decrease, compared to prior to the pandemic. People are used to video calls and are more conscious about the environment now. But it could also be that people will catch up on what they haven’t been able to do for the last 18 months. Travel!!
Let’s hope, as shown in the past, that the travel industry bounces back even bigger then ever.
If you'd like to hear more about our services from George, get in touch and we can arrange a call.
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