Company: Akio SolutionsCustomer: degriftour.comSubmitted by: Akio SolutionsTo offer the earliest flights, and successful weekend getaways, only same-day answers will do! “Failing to answer an e-mail within 48 hours would be contrary to the very essence of the e-mail capability”.It was this belief in quality policy and these demanding standards that prompted the, a member of the group, to introduce e-mail management for prospective customers, built around AkioTM Mail Center.

Speed of response: top priority for Customer Quality

degriftour.comEvery year, more than 250,000 customers visit the Web site. There is little doubt then that the site’s flexibility and speed of response to enquiries have impressed. This is a promise that has had to live up to despite its success and the inevitable growth in e-mail correspondence: over 400 incoming e-mails daily during periods of peak demand.

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AkioTM Mail Center, the solution

An active player in the tourist industry for nearly ten years, regularly has to face up to peak demand as each holiday period draws near. In June 2000, it became clear that the surge in e-mail during the pre-summer holiday period could not be satisfactorily processed with the existing organisation, particularly because a large-scale marketing operation had stimulated the market and drawn in an additional flow of enquiries to This made it vital to find a tool capable of automatically managing e-mails in the shortest possible time.Speed of response is the hallmark of and is illustrated by the company’s quick decision to go for AkioTM Mail Center. The critical factor was the ability to get a user-friendly solution on-line as soon as possible. In fact AkioTM Mail Center was up and running, exactly according to the customer’s specifications, in just three weeks.

Milestones, some key facts and figures is a member of the Lastminute Group, European leader in last minute booking services, and European no.

1 in the on-line tourism and leisure market.The Group is known for its offerings in package holidays, flights, hotels ; holiday rentals, catering ; haute cuisine, as well as gifts, live entertainment bookings, Web auctions, etc.To date,

  • Is visited by 250,000 customers each year, for a total of over 100,000 processed sales
  • Generated 600 MF (£60M) revenue in 1999
  • Has a workforce of around 300 in France
  • Receives between 200 and 400 e-mail messages daily
  • Has 15 workstations running AkioTM Mail Center

Prospects get the attention they deserve

Internet or by telephone, via the travel consultants at our call center. Some do not have the time or the opportunity to log into our site or call us by phone.

This is why the e-mail is becoming a preferred means of communication with People who send us an e-mail enquiry expect a quick and accurate answer”, explains Pascale Couderc, Sales Director.In fact a wide variety of enquiries are received by e-mail. “When are your next departures for Morocco?”, “What credit cards do you take?”, “How is the trip organised?”, “Is this an all-inclusive package?” Our priority is to reassure our customers and provide answers that are really relevant to their enquiry.

This is why AkioTM Mail Center sends an automatic message of receipt that can be customised according to the recipient, acknowledging that the query is being processed. Then a booking agent prepares the answer, with the help of AkioTM Mail Center which proposes a choice of pre-formatted templates with standard texts.This cuts out the risk of grammatical or spelling mistakes, repetition, late answers or mail being ignored. In fact, all the slips that creep in when you are trying to deal with mail under pressure, and that have a negative impact on corporate image.The tool also helps to keep track of the customer’s enquiry history, and this is particularly helpful in any strategy aimed at fostering brand loyalty.

The booking agent, instead of sending an e-mail, can also phone the customer directly for more details, offer advice, take a booking or even register an order directly. In addition to the service quality that each prospect is entitled to, there is a commercial imperative: any e-mail that is processed quickly and correctly can directly generate an order.

The ability to adjust quickly and flexibly

The volume of incoming mail is variable. It can speed up or slow down from one hour to the next. “AkioTM Mail Center is also very helpful to us because it allows the supervisor, in charge of the Call Center, to check the number of e-mail messages pending.

Depending on timing imperatives, he can reallocate mails to optimise the workload distribution between booking agents. He can also monitor the response times recorded by AkioTM Mail Center. If we see that something is going wrong, we can identify and address the areas where we may be encountering difficulties”, says Pascale Couderc. So AkioTM Mail Center is a great tool for external quality, but it can also help to gauge and enhance performance in-house.

Towards a global CRM capability

After just a few weeks in service, we realised that we had reached our quality and organisational goals. The next step for AkioTM Mail Center will be to fine-tune our incoming query profiles and rate of recurrence statistics.

This will enable us, on one hand, to step up the standardisation of the answers, and, at the same time, learn more about what our customers expect from us. This is because’s ambition is to develop a global approach to Customer Relations Management that will enable us to get a more accurate picture of our customers every month. Ultimately, is looking for a way to centralise the information that it receives from its different “sources of input”, not just e-mails but also telephone and fax contacts, customer histories, and centres of interest, to integrate them into a complete CRM solution. This will be the next challenge for AkioTM Mail Center.

Akio Solutions has longstanding experience in developing Internet, Intranet and Extranet applications. Akio Solutions is a pioneer in Internet solution development for corporate e-mail management. Companies such as Ibazar, Multimania, Selftrade and chose AkioTM Mail Center to derive significant benefit from the customer loyalty possibilities offered by Internet and efficient e-mail management.