Leading Australian experiential tourism company on a ‘journey’ with RingCentral to deliver unrivalled customer experiences
Travel and Tourism
Travel and Tourism
Our overall strategy is to have a customer experience that’s second-to-none, regardless of what Journey Beyond adventure you are booking. All of our guests are equally important to us.
General Manager, Travel Central and Holidays, Journey Beyond
Connecting multiple businesses with a common communications platform to deliver consistent customer service across the group
Enabling a work-from-anywhere, on any device capability for employees
Integrated unified communications, contact centre and application environment for a 360-degree customer view
Advanced contact centre features and analytics driving exceptional customer experience
About Journey Beyond
Australia’s leading experiential tourism group, Journey Beyond, part of the Hornblower Group, is privileged to operate 13 brands spanning the country, connecting guests to the land, and to each other. Headquartered in Adelaide, Journey Beyond formed in 2016 and now comprises tourism brands including: iconic trains The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern and The Overland; premium small-group outback operator Outback Spirit; eco-luxe lodge Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef; aquatic adventures Cruise Whitsundays, Rottnest Express, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, Darwin Harbour Cruises and Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney; and its tallest members, Melbourne Skydeck and Eureka89.
The organisation’s commitment to its customers is to consistently deliver unmatched services, unparalleled experiences and lifetime memories – from the moment they first engage with Journey Beyond to plan their experience, to when they return home at the end of their travels.
Consolidating technology platforms
With the diversification of its business through acquisition, Journey Beyond inherited a number of different technology systems, including six different phone systems and an outdated contact centre that was only servicing Journey Beyond’s rail journeys. The remaining brands in the Journey Beyond portfolio were using basic phone functionality for customer enquiries and reservations. This made it difficult to ensure a consistent, unrivalled customer experience across all 13 tourism ventures – and any other brands Journey Beyond may add to its portfolio in the future.
While some core systems were implemented as part of the acquisition of each new business, in 2021 Journey Beyond embarked on a three-year standardisation program, encompassing its application infrastructure, telecommunications, network and security. The first projects to be completed were the implementation of a single point of sale (POS) system across all businesses, and the centralisation of both its telephony and contact centre systems, followed by the phased introduction of advanced customer service functionality.
Enhancing the customer experience
Telephony and contact centre standardisation and enhancement are a key priority for Journey Beyond due to the commitment to an enhanced customer experience. The high-end nature of the travel experience, particularly for a Journey Beyond rail adventure or an Outback Spirit tour, needs to be evident from the first point of contact with the customer all the way through the guest experience and beyond. Journey Beyond takes this one step further by emulating the customer experience across all its products. Nigel Brohier, General Manager, Travel Central and Holidays, Journey Beyond says, “Our overall strategy is to have a customer experience that’s second-to-none, regardless of what Journey Beyond adventure you are booking. All of our guests are equally important to us.”
“The long game is to integrate all of our contact centres around Australia and improve the sophistication and functionality of our systems to continue to deliver an exceptional customer experience – and to be more efficient in performing this.”
Journey Beyond’s first step in this regard was to establish a common unified communications (UC) platform across the business and integrate it with a new contact centre (CC) solution. After evaluating a number of different UC and CC solutions, Journey Beyond chose RingCentral MVP and Contact Centre, RingCentral’s integrated UCaaS and CCaaS platforms.
“Now we have a single RingCentral UC platform across the business, which has been fantastic for us to support centrally. It's simple, but it’s a complex enough solution to contain all of the functionality we need. Understanding and configuring the different functionalities and features is the most challenging part, but it works like a charm,” says Madhumita Mazumdar, General Manager Information & Communications Technology, Journey Beyond.
A major advantage is the scalability and remote capabilities of RingCentral’s cloud-based platform, which was essential for Journey Beyond in managing the business during COVID lockdowns. The solution allows Journey Beyond to run operations 24x7 with centralised administration and distributed users, working from anywhere, on any device. This aligns with Journey Beyond’s US-based parent company– the Hornblower Group – which operates with an entirely remote workforce. This has also given Journey Beyond the opportunity to recruit for talent in other locations outside the market around its Adelaide office.
The cloud-based UC and CC platform has eliminated all single points of failure and Journey Beyond now has a more robust disaster recovery posture, plus access to additional functionality, flexibility and scalability, and has seen a significant reduction in support and hosting costs. Cost savings generated from the platform, particularly through toll free number bundles and internalisation of support, have allowed for Journey Beyond to invest in other areas of the business.
Building up a ‘Know Your Customer’ strategy
In addition to deploying RingCentral MVP to all businesses nationally, to date Journey Beyond’s rail division and Rottnest Express have rolled out RingCentral Contact Centre, with onboarding for another two businesses in progress. A key advantage of the tight integration between UC and CC is the customer service operation’s accessibility for the entire Journey Beyond team.
“At a national integrated level, we can have subject matter experts in each of our experiences available to deliver unrivalled customer experience, with economies of scale so if one team is under duress in terms of call volumes, the call can be overflowed and picked up quickly by a consultant with secondary expertise in that brand,” says Brohier.
Journey Beyond is supporting its customer experience drive by integrating RingCentral Contact Centre with Salesforce to develop omni-channel CX capabilities and build towards a 360-degree view of the customer.
“We are building up our ‘Know You Customer’ strategy, which starts with our customer service agents knowing who you are when you call any of our Journey Beyond brands,” says Mazumdar.
The integrated RingCentral Contact Centre solution also makes it easier for agents to find and prioritise a response to specific customer emails within the universal queue.
Journey Beyond has also rolled out RingCentral’s workforce management functionality to better align agent availability with customer demand. The advanced feedback capabilities allow Journey Beyond to measure customer net promoter scores (NPS) right down to the consultant level. That NPS functionality will then be integrated into Salesforce, enhancing the 360-degree view of the customer experience.
The contact centre and its integration with Salesforce will also be crucial in rolling out differentiated services based on the customer’s status within the Journey Beyond Travel Club.
RingCentral’s quality management functionality is providing Journey Beyond with a level of automation to ensure the contact basics are being completed, allowing leaders to focus on scoring the more complex or intangible components of customer engagements – delivering a recording of both the call and what is happening on screen at the same time. Brohier highlights the importance of calibration in quality management: “We've had many sessions where our leaders look at the same calls and score them. We then have a calibration session to see what the outliers are, and work through a standardisation in terms of quality.”
“Quality analytics completes the picture in terms of everything we need to see from a skills gap perspective.”
Some of the other more advanced capabilities Journey Beyond is taking advantage of are the ability for agents to conduct multiple, concurrent chat sessions, and a call back feature that holds the customer’s place in the queue and calls them back.
With the business still midway through its transformational journey, Mazumdar emphasises the importance of the relationship with RingCentral in the ongoing success of its program. “Journey Beyond and RingCentral are partners. Together, we discuss and decide what we are going to implement, and what's going to work well for our business, and ultimately, our customers.”
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