During 2006-2007, the global travel industry was experiencing significant growth. With the industry growing at over five percent per annum, managing growth while reducing operational costs was an imperative for the travel industry.

Acquired by Travelocity in 2007, lastminute.com, the leading Internet-based travel and leisure retailer, was undergoing a metamorphosis. lastminute.com was transforming itself from a provider of holiday information to an ‘enabler,’ helping customers to visualize and realize their dream holidays.

The Challenge

lastminute.com's challenge was to manage its sales operations more efficiently in a growth environment in order to increase revenues. Although it was partnering with two onshore contact center partners to deliver its customer care services, lastminute.com wanted to improve the productivity of these processes. The goal was to achieve a higher rate of conversion while reducing the cost of customer care. lastminute.com decided to transfer the contact center processes from these two onshore providers to WNS.

The WNS Solution

The engagement with lastminute.com began with a pilot project focused on managing the contact center for Europe-centric airlines business. Given the success of the pilot project, the WNS team was given the contract to manage 28 lines of business across lastminute.com's four business verticals i.e., airlines, hotels, dynamic packages and lifestyle experiences.

Key features of the WNS solution

  • Flexible pricing model – The partnership commenced with a Full Time Employee (FTE) pricing model and gradually move to a Unit Transaction Pricing (UTP) model. This allows for greater flexibility for the client as its business volumes fluctuate; for example, volumes can surge by as much as 30 to 40 percent during the holiday season. This requires meticulous planning between both the client and the WNS team to manage fluctuating volumes

  • Delivering continuous improvement – WNS implements Six Sigma and Kaizen projects to boost agent productivity. The WNS team identifies opportunities to embed process efficiencies in order to focus on up-sell and cross-sell of products

  • Deploying high quality talent – The WNS team developed sales training modules to create a compelling, relevant and customized training program. This includes an intensive 13 week online training program.

Extending Your Enterprise

The lastminute.com team at WNS has helped lastminute.com significantly reduce its operational costs by delivering process efficiencies while handling larger volumes of customer inquiries and increasing sales by enhancing conversion rates.

According to Rob Hartley, senior sales and customer service manager, lastminute.com said, “You are delivering sensational customer care.”

Benefits delivered by the WNS team

  • Increased conversion rates

    • For airlines from 12 to 20 percent

    • For hotels from 20 to 30 percent

    • For dynamic packages from 20 to over 22 percent

    • For lifestyle bookings from 20 to over 24 percent

  • Increased revenues from GBP 0.8 million in Q2 2007 to an estimated GBP 4 million in Q2 2009

  • Managed double the call volumes in 2008-2009 without deploying additional staff

  • Delivered consistent levels of service even during promotional offer period which witnessed a surge in business volumes

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