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BUSINESS NEWS


Katie McAlister, Tui, and Ian Leonard, IBM


‘Tech will help agents do their job, not vice versa’


Executives from travel firms and IBM discuss customer service and innovation at a Travel Weekly Business Breakfast hosted by Disney. Lee Hayhurst reports


People remain at the heart of great customer service in travel, despite the increasing influence of technology, delegates at a Travel Weekly Business Breakfast heard. Panellists from Tui, Virgin


Atlantic, destination specialist Ocean Holidays and technology giant IBM agreed that while technology is more important than ever, it should be used to allow their experts to understand customers’ needs and deliver the best experience. Katie McAlister, chief marketing


72 30 MAY 2019


officer at Tui UK and Ireland, said: “You have to have good product, but customer service is that big wraparound and the thing you can become super-famous for. “Digital is transforming and


expanding customers’ expectations all the time, particularly around ease and speed and the findability of things. “But, actually, when really


amazing moments happen, it’s about human interaction. Tat’s how you build intimacy with your customers. “We believe it’s the combination


of human interaction – our colleagues and our people – with digital that’s really going to drive things forward over time.” Daniel Kerzner, Virgin Atlantic’s


vice-president for customer service, said: “Customer experience is who we are and it’s why we get out of bed in the morning. When Richard Branson created Virgin he created it to give people a beter way to travel.


Continued on page 70 travelweekly.co.uk


BUSINESS NEWS


PICTURES: Sarah Lucy Brown


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