Outlook Mobile Service - Case study 5: Travel agency
Trend Travel, a travel agency in Oslo had 120 customers spread over Europe when the airspace over Europe was closed due to Eyjafjallajökulls ash cloud. They all got stuck where they were.
Olof Hellqvist runs the travel agency together with his wife Ann-Sophie. The day it was clear that no planes would fly for an unknown period of time. The phones at the agency ran hot and the Hellqvists permanently had to answer the same questions over and over again. They needed a way to inform their customers in a proactive and cheap way.
The Outlook Mobile Service is the perfect tool for this purpose. The customers contact data was managed in Outlook already. They only had to set up an ASPSMS Account and order a Global Two-Way Number as return channel.
Fact: Short Message is the ideal channel to communicate with single persons or groups of variable size and locations.
As main instrument of communication, the Outlook Mobile Service is used in combination with a Global Two-Way number (e.g. +447624000000).
Outlook Mobile Service is a new feature in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 that you use to create and send text messages to a mobile device. From within Outlook you send text messages in a manner similar to e-mail messages.
By using Outlook Mobile Service, you can send a message both as an e-mail message and as a mobile message to multiple contacts at the same time. You can stay informed when you are away from the office because Outlook Mobile Service can forward favoured e-mail messages and calendar appointments directly to your mobile phone.
Trend Travel sends all Short Messages with their Global Two-Way Number (e.g. +447624000000) as originator.
All answer SMS will be sent to the Outlook Inbox.
The Hellqvists inform their customers about the status quo and the available possibilities in a proactive way - by short messages. First they set up recipient groups in Outlook that should get the same information.
SMS-OUT (to all customers): Dear customers, airspace over Europe has been closed due to the ash cloud. We will inform the customers concerned and keep you up to date. Your Trend Travel Team
Shortly after this message the number of phone calls decreased dramatically.
SMS-OUT (to all customers who return to Oslo by plane this day): Dear customers, your return flight has been cancelled due to the closing of the European airspace. We publish relevant information about returning alternatives on www.trendtravel.no Don't hesitate to send an SMS to this Number for further information or call us at 0047 41 00xxxx
SMS-OUT (to all customers who are flying from Oslo this day): Dear customers, your return flight has been cancelled due to the closing of the European airspace. We publish relevant information about returning alternatives on www.trendtravel.no In case you have to cancel your journey you find information about the travel cancellation insurance in the documents sent to you with the plane tickets. Don't hesitate to send an SMS to this Number for further information or call us at 0047 41 00xxxx
A couple of minutes after the message was sent, the first answers arrived at the Global Two-Way Inbox from Trend Travel.
SMS-IN: I'm stuck in Stockholm and have to get back to Oslo! Walter Oster customer no. 325324-4.
SMS-OUT: Dear Mr. Oster, we made a temporary reservation for the extra train tonight. Departure 22:30 Stockholm Central Station. Duration 7:25h. Cost 350.- Euro. It's the quickest and also cheepest way to return to oslo today. Please confirm the reservation so we can definitely book your seat.
SMS-IN: We're on the streets of Split and can't fly home. Our hotel is fully booked. Could you please organize a place to stay for the night? Maja Nilsson
SMS-OUT: Dear Mrs. Nilsson, we will inform you as soon as we have found a hotel for you and your family.
A couple of minutes later Mr. Hellqvist found a hotel nearby.
SMS-OUT: Dear Mrs. Nilsson, we have reserved two rooms for you and your family at hotel Marmara on Kastelnova 213. Same conditions as the one you have stayed in before. Please acknowledge this reservation personally at the reception until 4pm.
Other Trend Travel customers are waiting for information in Prag, Barcelona, on Krim and other places all over Europe. The messages reach them at the beach, in historic city centers or restaurants and the customers were able to enjoy some additional holyday days.
And that's how it works: