INDUSTRY

Loyalty and Customer Engagement

HEADQUARTERS

United Kingdom

Chats per day

1200

Automations at play

120

About Collinson

Collinson is a global leader in customer benefits and loyalty. Delivering exceptional travel, assistance and insurance products that differentiate value propositions, and loyalty solutions that win deeper, more valuable customer relationships.

Freshworks Empowers Collinson to Self-Serve with Omnichannel Engagement Solution

Customer service in the digital age revolves around multiple communication channels, also known as omnichannel customer service. Whether via email, phone, or social media, 86 percent of consumers expect brands to communicate with them across their preferred channels. Omnichannel customer service helps businesses gain a 360-degree view of customers to proactively understand their needs and deliver more meaningful experiences.

Freshdesk, designed by Freshworks, is a cloud-based omnichannel engagement solution that helps agents rapidly resolve customer inquiries with workforce automation. The Freshdesk dashboard offers visibility across multiple channels such as chat, email, and voice through a single, unified interface. Freshworks uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run Freshdesk and its other software solutions.

Replacing Legacy Telephony Platform with Amazon Connect

In late 2019, Freshworks engaged with Collinson—a global, family-run organization with thousands of employees—which delivers traveler experiences, medical and security assistance, travel medical services, and insurance products to its corporate customers and partners in 13 countries. The organization began a digital transformation journey to improve the efficiency of customer interactions and bring services to market quicker.

Prior to transformation, Collinson communicated with customers via two channels: email and phone, delivered on an on-premises, purpose-built solution. However, these channels were siloed, and operations were highly manual. With the help of Freshworks and AWS, Collinson wanted to automate operations and shift from a CapEx-based cost model to a consumption-driven model. It planned to replace its legacy Avaya telephony platform with the Amazon Connect omnichannel cloud contact center.

“Since implementing the Freshdesk solution with Amazon Connect, we’ve experienced a fundamental shift in our business model, from being predominantly a B2B2C brand to becoming a B2C brand. We’ve never been as close to our end customers as we are today.”

Chris Barrow

Solutions Architect

Collinson

Reacting Fast to Changing Business Requirements

In 2020, the business accelerated project timelines to quickly equip customer service agents to work from home. Collinson acted swiftly to migrate 120 phone lines to Amazon Connect in 2–3 weeks, including training time for call center agents. It had originally been estimated the migration would take months.

The next surprise came in the fall of 2020. Collinson had just begun a pilot with Freshworks to roll out its Freshdesk omnichannel solution including Amazon Connect calls, email, and Freshdesk Messaging on social media. But disruption in the travel industry prompted a new business requirement for Collinson to begin offering COVID-19 testing facilities at partner airports. This was a new line of business with constantly changing information and guidelines, which required customer service support from agents working from home. 

With the support of Freshworks, Collinson leveraged the expertise of its medical assistance division to introduce airport testing and had facilities up and running in three weeks. Speaking about the quick deployment, Sacha Puffett, global customer service director at Collinson, says, "The project manager and technical subject matter expert from Freshworks’ onboarding team were very supportive of our changing needs. Thanks to their guidance, we were able to launch the first iteration of Freshdesk in just three weeks, which was amazing."

Its system now handles 1,200 testing-related chats per day across 13 testing sites in the US, the UK, and the Asia-Pacific region. When new travel guidelines are released, the system can serve spikes of up to 45 percent in customer service traffic. “We’re able to move a lot more swiftly to adapt to new demands and propositions with Freshworks and AWS,” says Puffett.

Gaining a Unified View of the Customer, with Enhanced Automation

As part of its contact center transformation, Collinson introduced bots and automation into its communications. The business now has 120 automations running in Freshdesk, such as workflows to ensure each customer gets the right response in the right language. Agent productivity has improved as a result and responses can be audited for quality control.

The Freshdesk ticketing dashboard also helps Collinson to better track customer interactions across channels. Agents can view metrics on contact resolution, the total time to service, and the subject matter of inquiries. The company can register if a particular subject keeps arising in communications and then proactively distribute more content on the subject through its marketing channels.

“The Freshdesk implementation not only has helped bring out new channels but has also associated communications in a more omnichannel way. We have a unified view of the customer in real-time, so we can see any trends emerging and mitigate those quickly. It’s a win-win situation that’s more efficient for both the customer and us,” Puffett says.

Collinson has also introduced a dynamic feedback channel for customers as part of the Freshworks implementation, allowing customers to give a star rating after each interaction with the company. Previously, customers could only express their opinions during targeted feedback campaigns.

Shortening the Development Cycle from Weeks to Days

The efficiency gains for Collinson have extended beyond the agent population to the company’s technical teams. Without a large team of IT resources, Collinson frequently relied on third-party vendors or developers to assist with system enhancements and new features. With the Freshdesk feature suite and the Freshworks Neo platform’s marketplace, in-house teams can experiment with new apps to solve their challenges and implement solutions independently.

“Freshworks gave us a flexibility we didn’t have before, so we often don’t need to engage an external developer at all. The whole development process now takes days rather than weeks,” says Chris Barrow, solutions architect at Collinson. In one example, the group tested four signature management applications on the marketplace before deciding on one that best fit its business model. “We were able to quickly evaluate each application and fail fast before trying the next one, without additional development time or resources required,” Barrow shares. 

Building Integrations That Improve Customer Satisfaction

Integrations are also simplified with Freshdesk and continue to be a focus for Collinson. Alongside integrations with communication channels such as Twitter, Collinson has customized a Freshdesk app to integrate with multiple Trustpilot accounts to collect and monitor customer opinions. Freshworks features a developer platform supported by AWS Lambda. This allows customers to tailor the behavior of products in use and integrate them into their workflows by writing a bespoke plugin.

With both Freshworks and AWS, Collinson also benefits from a predictable operational cost model. “For every dollar spent, we can clearly see how that benefits us, and our customers, in a much shorter time frame,” Barrow says. “Since implementing the Freshdesk solution with Amazon Connect, we’ve experienced a fundamental shift in our business model, from being predominantly a B2B2C brand to becoming a B2C brand. We’ve never been as close to our end customers as we are today.”