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Sky’s the limit: How Corporate Traveler uses Gong to refine their customer journey

Headquarters

New York, NY

Founded

1993

Company size

201-500

Industry

Travel Agencies & Services

20%

Increase in sales efficiency

2x

Amount of calls reviewed

The challenge

Customers are handed over not once, but twice in Corporate Traveler’s workflow, and a lot of crucial information was previously lost in that process. Moving clients between agents meant that customers often had to repeat their stories, and agents had less time for up-selling or cross-selling.

The outcome

Implementing Gong has made Corporate Traveler’s customer experience seamless. With visibility into all previously recorded calls, frontline reps can now access relevant customer interactions. That means they can quickly root out and analyze pain points to provide a greatly improved customer experience. It has also fundamentally improved the relationship between Corporate Traveler’s CS team and other areas of the company. Gong has helped to contribute to a 20% increase in sales efficiency.

It's vital that the customer is heard and not just talked to. We realized that by listening better and providing smooth customer handoffs, we'd be able to increase adoption and retention rates among our customer base.

Ben Hobbs VP of Customer Success @ Corporate Traveler

Kick off customer success with the customer

Corporate Traveler and it’s online booking platform, melon, are 100% focused on customer experiences. From finding great deals to integrating with corporate expense systems, the customer journey is — literally — their focus. 

Despite that (and a great tech stack on the sales team’s side), the CS team worked mostly in Excel. (Don’t worry, there are great solutions ahead.) 

Corporate Traveler realized that in order to truly provide a customer experience worth repeating, the team needed a platform that would help them provide five-star service. That’s when they implemented Gong.

Perfect your customer onboarding

The Corporate Traveler team initially used Gong to improve the customer onboarding process, leveraging it to create a single source of truth, and help CSMs build rapport with customers. 

At the time, the customer onboarding process was brand new and there was a lack of transparency in the process for other teams and agents. As a result, it was hard to train new hires with messaging that was aligned. “Gong really helped us with this venture by giving us visibility into the team’s performance and potential efficiencies in the process, with an eye to increasing customer satisfaction scores,” says Ben.

Another important aspect of retaining customers is providing a single source of truth on the history of their interactions with the company. Selective memory and a lack of key information can contribute to miscommunication — an issue the Gong platform has nearly eliminated. 

“Gong enables smoother handovers from sales to CS, and gives us the ability to refer back to the sales process so we can validate what was agreed upon by both parties,” says Ben. 

That enables near-immediate validation, and also allows the customer onboarding team to highlight areas of opportunity where the sales team can tighten their talk tracks. It also means the customer onboarding team can easily refer back to earlier calls so customers don’t waste time repeating themselves. 

Given the importance of rapport in evolving customer relationships, listening carefully to customers during calls is key. Using Gong means that CSMs don’t have to take notes. They can be more engaged with customers, focusing on listening and learning what’s really important to customers. 

Create seamless handovers

As part of improving the overall customer journey, Corporate Traveler analyzed how its staff complete handovers. Customers experience not one, but two handovers in their journey — the first, from sales to customer onboarding, then another from onboarding to a permanent CSM. Without the right tools in place, multiple transitions meant opportunities for gaps in knowledge and information loss. 

“Gong’s transcribing, keyword search, and categorization have been essential to creating a smooth handover process, so the customer never has to repeat their story,” says Oli Richardson, Corporate Traveler’s Senior Director of Customer Success.  

In trying to foster longer-lasting, more harmonious relationships, information must be shared across teams at all points in the process. When leaders and team members are both able to review calls and gauge customer reactions, the team as a whole can better tailor and align their approaches. 

“Using Gong showed us where there were opportunities to really take customer relationships beyond the initial expectations set by sales and our customer onboarding team,” says Oli. 

Focus on the voice of the customer

Better customer experiences should be driven by the voice of the customer. This means using tools that make listening to that voice easier

“With recorded and transcribed calls, we can search keywords or overall sentiment using Gong ‘trackers’ that we’ve set up. Now that we have Gong, changes to our process are guided by the actual voice of our customer,” says Oli. “Hearing a recording of their feedback — in their own voice — has been so important.”

So much can be gleaned from direct conversations with customers. Capturing their ideas and sentiments in one place means being able to problem solve faster and more effectively. “We can now, with ease, get this information into the hands of the right people by tagging relevant comments. That helps us expedite any actions or development that’s required as a result of customer feedback.” 

Corporate Traveler has also started using call statistics best practices, provided by Gong. In particular, they’re paying attention to talk ratios. That’s the percentage of the call for which a team member (versus a customer) speaks. The best practice recommendation for Corporate Traveler is that agents speak no more than 65% of the time, which reinforces a customer-centric approach. When agents and leaders can see those stats visualized, it’s easier to see that an improvement is needed and adjust accordingly.

Enable peer-to-peer learning

With everyone working towards the same CS goals, sharing knowledge became a key propellant of growth. “Using talk tracks from our most successful CSMs’ calls and making them available to our whole team, on-demand, was a huge part of improving everyone’s product talk tracks, renewal language, and issue resolution,” says Oli.  

When CSMs are able to share knowledge with ease, every agent has the information they need to perform as well as the best reps. This kind of instruction isn’t just beneficial between team members, it also connects the CS team to the rest of the business. 

“Gong allows us to more easily share what we’ve learned with other teams. It removed the previous barriers to access,” says Oli. “This has really improved the relationships between CS and other teams, and allowed us to make our talk tracks even more accurate.”

Now that 100% of Corporate Traveler’s CSMs use Gong, the average number of calls they review each month has more than doubled. What’s more, every lesson learned can easily be shared with others to keep the team(s) aligned. 

Since adopting Gong, instead of working on customer service after implementing a new product or process, the CS team now integrates what they’ve learned about the customer journey earlier on. The CS team has been able to increase the efficiency of the sales team by 20%, thanks in part to the alignment Gong has enabled. Today, Corporate Traveler’s reps do more than provide support — they provide deep value to customers on every journey.

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