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Vegas.com Bets on IP Telephony, Hits Jackpot

 
"Our revenue per agent has increased over 300%, and we're handling twice as many interactions with 57% fewer agents on staff. All this, and we're probably using less than half the system's capacity." - Rob Cate, Director of Contact Center Operations, VEGAS.com
 
 
 

Overview

 
 
With nearly 2.5 million unique visitors per month, VEGAS.com is the largest city travel and tourism website in the world. The official Vegas travel site is a one-stop source for hotel reservations, vacation packages, tours, show tickets, restaurant reservations, car rentals, golf tee times and more. Unfortunately, several years ago VEGAS.com agents had an extraordinarily unreliable phone system.
 
 

Challenge

 
"More than 80,000 visitors a day plan or book their Las Vegas trips through VEGAS.com," says Rob Cate, VEGAS.com Director of Contact Center Operations. "Unfortunately, a few years back we were still missing out on as many as 2,000 calls a day. Each missed call was a missed revenue opportunity.

"We were also missing the business intelligence we needed in order to up-sell and cross-sell with customers. Who were our best customers? Where were they coming from? How much time were they spending with which agents? What did the interactions cost per agent?

"Also, we thought customers should be able to interact with us multiple ways, not just by phone - and we wanted to integrate all those interactions with a customer relationship management application. Our traditional way of handling customer interactions had to change."

One thing was certain - VEGAS.com didn't want to gamble with its customers' loyalty. VEGAS.com placed its bet on an upgrade of its contact center.
 
 

Solution

 
"In terms of the technology available, there is more than one way to get the result we needed. But often it takes a lot of boxes, different servers, and applications running on different operating systems. That creates a lot of hassles - and potentially a very high cost of ownership," says Cate.

SOS recommended a phased approach so VEGAS.com could get up and running with a reliable phone system and reporting, and then judge its efficiency. Phase two would allow VEGAS.com to integrate e-mail and web chat with its new phone system. Phase three would add the real-time business intelligence feature and call control through CTI (computer telephony integration).

"SOS offered us implementation of a unified platform from a single management console. They helped us implement the complete suite from Interactive Intelligence, and now our customers can now contact agents any way they want - through voice communication, fax, e-mail, voice messages, recordings and more, all through a single multimedia solution."
 
 

Results

 
"Now, before they even pick up a call, agents have customer information at their fingertips, including the name of the customer and purchase history. We've cut talk-interaction time and the number of agents by half. Yet customers are more satisfied than ever and our repeat business has soared. Revenue from the contact center has more than tripled -- a 347 percent increase in sales. The upgrade paid for itself within a few months," Cate adds.

The rest of the industry has taken note of VEGAS.com's success. The company won a silver medal in the Best Technology Innovation category at the 2007 Contact Center World Global 100 Conference, competing in a field of 600 from 61 nations. The win indicates that VEGAS.com ranks second in the world for a contact center's use of technology to enhance business performance and customer service.

"The intelligence we have now has also helped cut down on agent errors," Cate says. "Before the change over, the customers' word was the end all be all. If they said the agent booked the wrong date, we had no recourse. Now we can pull up the information immediately, see the interaction, and email an audio recording of the call to the customer. We've reduced our monthly agent errors by 90 percent.

"Also we can smoothly adjust to spikes in call volume now. Some agents are outfitted with laptops at home. In the event of an influx in calls, the system automatically notifies at-home agents to log in for an hour or two using SMS or Email. Then agents are earning overtime without driving to the office. In fact, we have begun handling incoming calls for nearby tourist attractions and for concierge desks at area hotels. Our agents just answer the calls with the name of the client, based on the incoming line."

Thriving businesses like VEGAS.com want to interact with customers in multiple ways and integrate with a customer relationship management application.

"Switching from a traditional phone system to unified communications with SOS can help any type of business, not just contact centers. Every business needs to optimize its workforce. By integrating common applications with our telephony system, we've enabled staff - wherever they are - to work smarter.

"All companies need to be accessible to their customers. With unified communications you get to set up your voice and data systems to do exactly what you want. The result is a better customer experience and increased capacity to grow," Cate says. "If you're considering a move to a new technology platform, you owe it to your company, your contact center, and your customers to sit down with SOS. Who you work with day to day to put in new technology makes all the difference."

See Rob Cate's Video discussing the changes in his contact center since Vegas.com adopted an all-in-one communications solution implemented by SOS. (Flash movie, 5 min)

Visit Rob Cate's Audio clip to hear Cate discuss his company's rollout of IP in a free, on-demand audio summary.
 
 

About VEGAS.com

 
VEGAS.com is the largest city destination travel website in the world with extensive, constantly updated information and a full range of travel products including hotel rooms, air-hotel packages, show tickets, tours and golf. A state-of-the-art contact center provides customer support, expert information and sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to complement the information on www.VEGAS.com and www.espanol.Vegas.com. VEGAS.com, through its Casino Travel & Tours unit, operates retail and concierge desks at more than 70 locations including the Palms, Paris, Bally's, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, New York-New York, Luxor and more. The company also offers a variety of excursions including city tours, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. VEGAS.com is a member of the Greenspun Family of Companies, privately owned and operating in Southern Nevada for more than 60 years.
 
 

About SOS

 
SOS helps organizations choose and use advanced communications technology to serve customers better, work smarter, and increase profits. SOS is a nationwide expert in voice and data solutions for business, including Voice over IP (VoIP). Since 1992, hundreds of businesses have chosen the SOS team for IP communications, call center technology, and managed IT services solutions. Clients can experience 100% return on investment in 6 to 36 months from SOS's simple, smart, secure technology solutions. Contact us at 916-577-1711 or etips@team-sos.com or visit www.teamsos.com
 
     
   

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